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.

Summer Winners…

Out of 32 entrants, the three winners of Chevy Stevens’ next book, Never Knowing, are:

Jessica of Jess Resides Here, who said, “Omg Still Missing was my fav book last year. Talk about a debut I am a fan for life now.”

Margie, who said, “Moonglass by Jessi Kirby and Hourglass by Myra McEntire have caught my eye, partly from reviews and partly from the lovely covers. I haven’t read either of them yet though.”

Uncle Sid of Dward Media, who said, “Still Missing – one of the best reads for me this past year. Looking forward to the new one.”

Out of 10 entrants, the winner of Mr. Darcy Goes Overboard by Belinda Roberts is:

Taffy, who said, “I Loved the series by Pamela Aiden! Well, the 1st & 3rd books were the best.”


Out of 16 entrants, the winner of Vlad: The Last Confession by C.C. Humphreys is:

Mary, who said, “RASPUTIN has always fascinated me. Such a dark figure in history during a dark time in Russia.”

The winner of The Mongoose Deception by Dr. Robert Greer is LuAnn of Reading Frenzy, who said, “It’s hard to pick just one favorite mystery writer, but I’d have to say two of the ones I really enjoy are David Baldacci and Erin Healy.”


Out of 14 entrants, the winner of Her Sister’s Shadow by Katharine Britton is Beth Hoffman, who said, “I’ve always enjoyed stories about sisters. There are so many I’ve read, but The Geometry of Sisters by Luanne Rice is one of my favorites.”

Giveaway: Never Knowing by Chevy Stevens

Today, I’ve got a treat for those of you who were intrigued by my review of Still Missing by Chevy Stevens. Now, Stevens has a new book, Never Knowing. St. Martin’s Press is pleased to offer my U.S. and Canada readers 3 copies for a giveaway.

Check out the synopsis and read the giveaway details below:

From St. Martin’s Press:

From the acclaimed author of Still Missing, Chevy Stevens, comes a psychological thriller about one woman’s search into her past and the deadly truth she uncovers.

All her life, Sara Gallagher has wondered about her birth parents. As an adopted child with two sisters who were born naturally to her parents, Sara did not have an ideal home life. The question of why she was given up for adoption has always haunted her. Finally, she is ready to take steps and to find closure.

But some questions are better left unanswered.

After months of research, Sara locates her birth mother—only to be met with horror and rejection. Then she discovers the devastating truth: Her mother was the only victim ever to escape a killer who has been hunting women every summer for decades. But Sara soon realizes the only thing worse than finding out about her father is him finding out about her.

What if murder is in your blood?

Never Knowing is a complex and compelling portrayal of one woman’s quest to understand herself, her origins, and her family. That is, if she can survive. . . .

About the Author:

Chevy Stevens grew up on a ranch on Vancouver Island and still calls the island home. When she’s not working on her next book, she’s hiking with her husband and her dog in the local mountains.

To enter:

1. Leave a comment about what debut books and authors have caught your attention lately.

2. Spread the word about the giveaway via Twitter, Facebook, etc.

Deadline is July 1, 2011, 11:59PM EST