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Friday 15 December 2017

Never Let You Go’ by Chevy Stevens

Published by Sphere,
7 September 2017.
ISBN: 978-0-7515-6918-6 (PB)

Not long ago I saw a post on social media bemoaning the fact that there were too many psychological thrillers featuring abusive and controlling husbands/partners as the main (villainous) protagonist. I have a certain amount of sympathy for that point of view, but, like everything else, the story depends upon how it is written. So, when I set out to read Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens -  with yes, an abusive husband in one of the main roles, I was interested to see how Chevy Stevens handled it. I have read several of her books and was confident she wouldn’t let me down with a run-of-the-mill nasty husband thriller.Reviewer:

The premise was good: Eleven years before Lindsey Nash had fled her home with her young daughter, leaving behind an abusive relationship. Her ex-husband ended up in jail, and Lindsey and Sophie began a new life. Now Lindsey is older and wiser and has left the past behind. Then Andrew is released from prison. Strange things begin to happen. Lindsey’s boyfriend is threatened, her home invaded and her daughter followed. Her ex-husband denies all knowledge of these events, but, thinks Lindsey, it has to be him. Doesn’t it?

The novel is told from two points of view - Lindsey and the now 17-year-old daughter, Sophie. It also jumps backwards and forwards in time, gradually revealing Lindsey’s abusive past. It has an atmospheric and unsettling narrative with many strands: the mother and daughter relationship, marriage, obsession, trust. The characterisation is excellent, and the way Chevy Stevens writes makes you feel as though you are in the thick of the action.

What makes Never Let You Go really stand out, however, is the way Chevy Stevens makes us feel for both the struggling and cynical Lindsey who is trying to keep her daughter safe, and the naive Sophie, who has no real idea what her mother’s marriage had been like. Lindsey knows what her husband is capable of but Sophie needs to understand her father and find some good in him - and it is this conundrum that lies at the heart of the book and elevates it from a domestic thriller to an excellent domestic thriller.

Chevy Stevens did not let me down.
Reviewer: Mary-Jane Riley

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. While holding an open house one afternoon, she had a terrifying idea that became the inspiration for Still Missing. Chevy eventually sold her house and left real estate so she could finish the book. Still Missing went on to become a New York Times bestseller and win the International Thriller Writers Award for Best First Novel.  Chevy’s books have been optioned for movies and are published in more than thirty countries.
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 camping and canoeing with her husband and daughter in the local mountains.

Mary-Jane Riley wrote her first story on her newly acquired blue Petite typewriter, when she was eight. When she grew up she had to earn a living, and became a BBC radio talk show presenter and journalist. She has covered many life-affirming stories, but also some of the darkest events of the past two decades. Then, in true journalistic style, she decided not to let the facts get in the way of a good story and got creative. She wrote for women's magazines and small presses. She formed WriteOutLoud with two writer friends to help charities get their message across using their life stories. Now she is writing psychological suspense, drawing on her experiences in journalism. The Bad Things by Mary-Jane Riley was published by Harper Collins/Killer Reads. Her second book, After She Fell, was published by Killer Reads in April 2016.  To read the review click on the title.

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