Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, July 2011
Where I Got It: ARC from Amazon Vine
My Rating: 4 stars
Sara Gallagher has always felt like she didn’t belong in her family. Although her adoptive but fragile mother loves her, she feels that her adoptive father always withheld his love and approval, especially when her parents are able to conceive two biological children after adopting Sara. (Plus, it doesn’t help that her relationship with one of her sisters is fraught with tension and jealousy.) As with many adopted children, she’s always had questions about her birth parents: Who are they? Why did they give her up? As she prepares to marry her fiancee Evan, she decides the time is right to find out about her birth parents. After all, she has a legitimate reason to find out all she can about her past besides mere curiosity. Sara is the mother to 6-year-old Ally, and she wants to have all the medical background she can for herself and her daughter. When the private investigator she hires comes back with some answers for her, Sara discovers the terrible truth about her conception and her father—opening the door to terror and horror that will force her to fight for her life and everything she holds dear.
Although this is only Chevy Steven’s second novel, she already had a well-defined formula. Like her first book Still Missing, Never Knowing is structured as therapy sessions, with each chapter being a therapy session between Sara and her therapist. As each session unfolds, we find out a bit more of Sara’s story and the truth about her birth parents. And, as in Still Missing, the surprises don’t stop when you expect. Stevens has some tricks up her sleeve for the reader and keeps the adrenaline pumping even after you think the story was done.
I ripped through this book in just a few days. Stevens is an expert at creating nightmare scenarios that keep her characters tight in a vise with little relief. Unlike Still Missing, Never Knowing takes place in “real time,” with the plot developing more with each session. (Still Missing was mostly recounting a story in flashback.) I’d finish up one session and think “I really should go to bed now,” but I’d find myself needing to know what happened next. If I had to choose, I’d say that Still Missing was the better book, but this is worthy successor. My main complaints were that Sara spent a lot of time dithering about what to do (when what she had to do felt kind of obvious to me) and the premise felt more unbelievable than her first book. However, if you’re looking for a fast-paced thriller with lots of psychological suspense, Never Knowing would be an excellent choice. I personally think it is the perfect book for summer reading—just strap in and head off on a wild roller coaster ride.
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The book is being released on July 5th but can be pre-ordered now.