Imagine being an adopted child who grew up knowing he or she was adopted and feeling like some part of you was missing, not knowing anything about your birth parents. Imagine having a child of your own and having holes in your medical history that you can’t fill in because you don’t know who your parents are. So you go in search of your birth mother only to get the cold shoulder from her. You hire a PI to do a little digging and find out that your birth mother has a huge secret. The secret being that she is the only survivor of a serial murderer. She is the only survivor and you are his daughter! Imagine this news getting out and hitting the internet and him, your birth father, seeing it and contacting you. What would you do? How would you handle it? That is exactly the situation that Sara Gallagher is in. Sometimes what you do know can hurt you.
Having read Still Missing by Chevy Stevens and loving it I was not surprised that Never Knowing was so good. Actually I think it was even better than Still Missing. Each chapter starts with Sara talking to her psychiatrist about a particular thing going on in her life, then the story is unfolded in the chapter and ends again with her talking to her doctor. I absolutely was hooked from page one. It is certainly a story that makes you think about what you would do or not do. How you would feel. I never thought about how certain families who adopt, then have their own biological children, may treat the adopted child differently. Reading this book I realized how hard it must be on that child. How they always feel like the outsider. Imagine being told by your sister that you were adopted because mom and dad could not have kids, but “now they have me so they don’t need you anymore”? Chevy Stevens explores those feelings and the damage they can cause.
The idea of not only finding your birth mother but finding out she was the victim of a serial killer and that man raped her and is your father blew me away. And then him finding and contacting you. Whoa! It was interesting watching the interaction between Sara and her father. Her finding out how like him she is and hating that part of her. Her beloved daughter is the grandchild of a murderer. I tried to put myself in her shoes when he told her talking to her helped him not to hurt people but then he became so demanding of her. Those times she was not available he did horrible things and Sara felt responsible. As much as she wanted to distance herself from him, she always wanted to help the police catch him so the killing would stop.
Never Knowing is extremely well written. The action is non-stop and the story flows without a bump. You grow very close to the characters and really care about them. The only characters that I really didn’t feel that bond with was Sara’s six year old daughter Ally. To me, Ally was a spoiled child who liked to get her way. I never contributed her temper and tantrums to the genes of a murderer, I saw her as an undisciplined child and there were times that I really didn’t like her very much.
My favorite character? John. Yes, he is a murderer, yes he is a bad person but there was just something about him that tore at my heart. Ms. Stevens did a great job of getting us into his head, seeing that he didn’t kill for the thrill of it but killed because it stopped the noised in his head. In no way do I excuse his behavior but for me a gentler side of him was shown when he was talking to Sara, asking about Ally, etc.
The ending was totally unexpected. I thought I had things figured out but I was wrong. Never Knowing is one hell of a thriller that I was unable to put down. I was up all night and fell asleep twenty pages from the end. I picked it back up first thing and finished it. It is still rolling around in my head and I think it will for a long time. For me, that is the sign of a top notch book.
I certainly hope Ms. Stevens is at work on her next novel! If you are a fan of thrillers with a psychological twist that make you think outside the box, then
Chevy Stevens’ Never Knowing is not to be missed!