Never Knowing by Chevy Stevens

Never Knowing by Chevy Stevens follows the success of her debut Still Missing (my review).  Again, Stevens uses therapy sessions with Nadine to tell a terrifying story that leaves readers anxious and biting their nails.  In her second novel, Sara Gallagher — resident of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, who restores furniture for a living — walks her therapist through the search for her birth mother and how it led to her discovery that her birth father has committed some heinous acts.

Recapitalizing on the “waiting” in Still Missing, where the Annie waited for her captor to return and waited for her moment of escape, Sara Gallagher is waiting for the phone to ring, waiting for the other shoe to drop with her fiance, and waiting for her birth father to come out of hiding.

“When I first told you I found my mother, I said it was like standing on cracking ice.  This is like falling straight through into the freezing water.  You struggle back to the surface, your lungs burning, everything focused on that patch of light above you.  And you finally make it there, but the hole’s frozen over.”  (page 164 of ARC)

The sessions between Sara and her therapist ramp up the tension even further, keeping readers anxiously turning the pages.  Like other thrillers, the situations are surreal, but not to the point that they are unbelievable.  The police officers are running Sara ragged with their demands, veiled disappointments, and outright guilt trips.  Moreover, the entire situation has caused problems with her adoptive family and her fiance.  Readers will want to slap the cops in this one, while at the same time become suspicious of her fiance and the cops throughout the story and shake Sara.

“This last week I went through the motions, but I felt flat, disconnected — angry.  I didn’t know what to do with this new reality, the horror of my conception.  I wanted to bury it in the backyard, far away from anyone’s eyes.  My skin crawled with knowledge, with the evil that I’d looked into, that had created me.  I took long showers.  Nothing helped.  The dirt was on the inside.”  (page 31)

Stevens creates tension and builds sympathy easily.  The main protagonist, Sara, transforms from a woman with abandonment issues to a woman exhibiting the symptoms of a rape victim and to a strong mother bent on saving her own child from danger.  While some of the plot is predictable for avid mystery readers, there are revelations at the end of the novel that will make it worthwhile.  The story is tied up neatly at the end and is satisfying, though bittersweet.  Overall, Never Knowing is a fast-paced, thriller for the summer, and it begs the question would it be better to know or not to know about your birth parents or your own past if you were adopted.

About the Author:

Chevy Stevens grew up on a ranch on Vancouver Island and still calls the island home. For most of her adult life she worked in sales, first as a rep for a giftware company and then as a Realtor. At open houses, waiting between potential buyers, she spent hours scaring herself with thoughts of horrible things that could happen to her. Her most terrifying scenario, which began with being abducted, was the inspiration for STILL MISSING. After six months Chevy sold her house and left real estate so she could finish the book.

Chevy enjoys writing thrillers that allow her to blend her interest in family dynamics with her love of the west coast lifestyle. When she’s not working on her next book, she’s hiking with her husband and dog in the local mountains.  Please also check out her blog, follow her on Twitter, and on Facebook.

This is my 17th book for the 2011 Wish I’d Read That Challenge.  I’ve wanted to read this book since finishing Still Missing and listening to Chevy Stevens talk about her books live on BookTrib.


  1. Dawn - She Is Too Fond of Books says

    I haven’t yet read this, although I’ve pulled a “Teaser Tuesday” from it (must get back to read it properly!).

    I haven’t heard of the “Wish I’d Read That” Challenge … glad you’re making such progress with it.

    • Technically, I finished the Wish I’d Read That Challenge because I only signed up to read three, but I’ve found others to fit the category as I’ve gone along.

      I hope to read your thoughts on Never Knowing soon.

  2. Sounds good — but maybe too tense for me. (I’m a big weenie. Don’t Breathe a Word nearly killed me.) Still — you’ve got me curious!

    • I think you should try these out, but they don’t creep me out as they would others…I think I read too many thrillers…some things are too predictable for me, but with these, the writing is what keeps me engaged…and the therapy sessions is a unique premise

  3. I hope to find some time to read this soon. I listened to the Still Missing and loved it although I think I may have gotten more from the book. She definitely writes a good book!

    • I wonder what these would sound like on audio…that must have been creepy and even more suspenseful with the right narrator.

  4. I have Still Missing, and our book club was thinking about reading it one of these months. I really need to get to it (maybe for RIP this October!).

  5. After Still Missing I am just waiting to get my hands on this one.

  6. I liked this one as well. I look forward to what she writes next, knowing that I will probably have to start it early in the day, in order to finish it and not be creeped out much before bed!

  7. I love books that build tension like that and am willing to put up with some predictability for it.

  8. I’m glad to see you enjoyed it. I wonder how many more books she will write with the therapy sessions?

    • Not sure how many she will write with the therapy sessions, but its interesting. I could see the bad guy a mile away in this one, but that didn’t detract from my enjoyment. The therapist also is more involved this time around, which was a good touch.