Summary: The second novel by Chevy Stevens, author of bestseller STILL MISSING.
At thirty-three Sara Gallagher is finally happy. Her antique furniture restoration business is taking off and she’s engaged to a wonderful man. But there’s one big question that still haunts her — who are her birth parents? Sara is finally ready to find out.
Sara’s birth mother rejects her—again. Then she discovers her biological father is an infamous killer who’s been hunting women every summer for almost forty years. Sara tries to come to terms with her horrifying parentage — and her fears that she’s inherited more than his looks — with her therapist, Nadine, who we first met in “Still Missing.” But soon Sara realizes the only thing worse than finding out your father is a killer is him finding out about you.
Some questions are better left unanswered.
“Never knowing” is a complex and compelling portrayal of one woman’s quest to understand where she comes from. That is, if she can survive…
Source: I purchased a paperback at Barnes and Noble
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Never Knowing was an incredible book that had me on the edge of my seat. It was written from Sara’s point of view during her visits with her psychologist. She began searching for her birth parents, found out some very disturbing information about her birth father, and became wrapped up in an investigation to track him down.
Never Knowing was not your typical crime/thriller novel. It explored many aspects of Sara’s life and her emotions. Her childhood and the way she felt in her adopted family prompted her to finally decide to search for her birth parents. There were family tensions because her mother was able to have biological children after adopting Sara and was evident there was some unfair treatment and strain going on. Sara was planning a wedding, had a child of her own, and was coping with all of those elements.
What made Never Knowing a captivating book was that the author decided to explore the emotions Sara was feeling during the insane and life altering manhunt for her father once the story got out and police became involved. It wasn’t as easy as luring a killer in and having the police catch him. Sara had to deal with how it affected her life, her kid, her fiancé, her family, and her work. She had to deal with the complex emotions of having a serial killer for a father and questioned her own mind after having had to visit a psychologist for a violent outburst in her past. Sara was stretched far beyond her normal breaking point and it was compelling to read.
The book was long, but I think it had to be and it had to have lulls and have a roller coaster type of pace because it demonstrated the stress and the agony of Sara’s situation. There were times I just wanted a conclusion or for Sara to just decide to help the police, but I knew that it was a legitimately tough decision to make and that’s why Sara was back and forth about it.
One issue I had with Never Knowing was that it was written exactly the same way as Still Missing. The unique structure of Still Missing reeled me in. I had never before read a series of monologues in a psychologist’s office from the main character describing the events that happened her to leading up to her visits and I was hooked. But opening up Never Knowing and seeing that it was in the same exact format disappointed me because I was hoping for the author to use a similar type of situation but format it differently in a newer book. Most importantly, Sara’s circumstances were less of a fit to the that type of format, whereas the main character in Still Missing could accurately tell her story in that way and have it make more sense instead of just being a set up for the author to write. Figuring out the format of Steven’s other books will be a major deciding factor as to whether or not I’ll continue to read her books, despite absolutely loving the plot. I praised her unique story structure in the first book, but seeing it appear again was just kind of lame.
I also wished for a less neat and tidy ending with Sara’s family. I guess the way that Sara’s adoptive family treated her bothered me a lot, as well as how her fiancé fit right in with them and wasn’t supportive of her in many situations. I liked that once everything was out in the open, they set aside their issues with one another, but I honestly thought that they were more damaging to Sara than the serial killer father many times and I hated that Sara never really got to talk to them about it and just had to keep her mouth shut to appease her controlling dad. Despite John’s temper, he seemed to legitimately care about creating a connection with her and I wish more of that was explored and that the author would have been a little more brave in writing about a less than ideal connection between them.
I do recommend the book and I think in some ways it was better than Still Missing because the relationship between Sara and her real father was very complex and the finale was not very predictable at all. I can honestly say that I didn’t see it ending the way that it did. It is definitely worth reading.