Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Always Watching by Chevy Stevens

3 Stars

Dr. Nadine Lavoie is a doctor in a psychiatric unit. She has always found comfort in her work – being able to help those who have run astray. Especially since she was not able to help her own daughter, whose drug addiction led her to a life on the streets. When Heather, a suicidal patient is admitted to the hospital, Nadine realizes they share a similar story. Now, raather than healing others, Nadine has to look into her own past to uncover an awful truth she has repressed for decades.

Before I even really begin, let me offer a piece of advice. Read EVERYTHING by Chevy Stevens before you read her novel, "Still Missing". There is just no comparison to the sheer terror Stevens is able to provoke in that novel. I can’t help but judge an author’s works against each other (especially when said author does not deviate from the psych-thriller genre) and fear Stevens might have hit her high note with "Still Missing". Now THAT is a book that continues to give me the heebie-jeebies whenever I think about it. Sadly, "Always Watching" was not able to do the same.

This book has some problems. My main issue was my dislike for the heroine. It thought she was kind of an idiot. Her approach to solving the mystery of her past is to tell EVERYTHING about EVERYONE she’s ever interacted with (excluding her own personal history, of course). Obviously the bad guy is going to figure out what a moronic blabbermouth she is. It also didn’t help that the police tell her to go ahead and investigate the case herself since they don’t have enough evidence to do anything. Really? Then we have the fact that she underwent hypnosis therapy YEARS ago with no results, but all of a sudden she starts remembering horrible things from her past and WHOOOOSH the memories just start flooding in.

Now that I’ve just lambasted this poor novel, let me backtrack a bit and say it was not nearly as horrible as the last paragraph makes it sound. There’s a pretty good chance that I’m the jerk in this scenario and everyone else will find Nadine to be a perfectly suitable lead. One thing I know for certain - Chevy Stevens knows how to write a readable book. I saw a couple of the twists and turns coming (note: I’m not allowed to watch any type of "CSI" program with my family because I always know who is the bad guy), but was also surprised by some. The plotline flowed and the action at the end got my ticker pumping a little faster.

My final two cents: With another book already scheduled to be published (making the total 5 books in 4 years by a pretty much unheard of author), it’s time for a break. Slow down, Chevy. We are faithful readers. We will be here (im)patiently waiting for your next book, crossing our fingers that you take us back to those dark corners of your mind again.

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