I was introduced to Chevy Stevens a few years ago with her debut novel, Still Missing. I devoured that first book in one sitting, staying up way past my bedtime on a school, er, um… I mean work night. I liked the way the story unfolded; each chapter was a session in the therapist’s office for Annie. She was abducted and held for over a year by her captor, suffering unspeakable horrors on a daily basis. You meet Annie after her return. But even though she is now free, many parts of Annie are “still missing”, making it difficult for her to reintegrate into her family and society. You might think that knowing the end of the story before it even begins would make the book boring, but you would be so wrong. Having the story doled out in sections made it more compelling and I often got chills while Annie was recounting her past and talking about its impact on her present. The ending included a curve ball I never saw coming.
Ms. Stevens’ next two thrillers, Never Knowing and Always Watching, were also full of suspense, masterful use of flashbacks and clever plotting. I liked the connecting thread between the two novels. Sara Gallagher is visiting a psychologist, Nadine, to talk about her experiences when trying to reconnect with her birth mother in Never Knowing. Nadine then becomes the main character in Always Watching and you get to understand, through her history, why she became a psychologist. I found myself lost in the world Ms. Stevens created and time flew by as I was absorbed in her stories. I was often surprised by how many pages I had read when I thought that hardly any time had passed.
I recently had the pleasure of getting my hands on an Advanced Readers’ Copy (ARC) of Chevy Stevens’ latest book, That Night, which is due to be released on June 17th. ARCs are uncorrected proofs put out by the book publishers, prior to the book’s official release date. They are often sent out to reviewers so that reviews of the book can be created in advance to convince people (and librarians!) to purchase the book. There are many ways librarians receive ARCs from publishers. We typically get them in person when visiting publisher booths at conventions, or online from sites such as Edelweiss and NetGalley (Disclaimer: I received my advance copy of That Night due to an application with Chatterbox by HouseParty.com).
My ARC of That Night arrived in the mail about two weeks ago. Hopping up and down as I tore open the package, I hugged my new book and showed it off to my family members: “Look what I got!” Unfortunately, due to other reading commitments (darn Book Club!), That Night had to wait. But once I was able to curl up with my new acquaintance, I was not disappointed. Again, you meet the protagonist at what you think is the end of the story. Toni Murphy and her boyfriend, Ryan, were convicted 16 years ago of killing Toni’s younger sister, but they didn’t do it. Now that they have served their time and been released, will they be able to move on? Will they finally be able to prove their innocence? Back were Ms. Stevens’ signature flashbacks, compelling characters, suspense-building storyline and unforeseen twist at the denouement. You may think you know how the story will end, but rest assured there will be a surprise. I finished this book in record time and am now regretting that I’ll need to wait for a long time before meeting up again with Chevy Stevens. But I am looking forward to that day.
Thanks once again, Chevy!