Summary: She helps people put their demons to rest.
But she has a few of her own…
In the lockdown ward of a psychiatric hospital, Dr. Nadine Lavoie is in her element. She has the tools to help people, and she has the desire—healing broken families is what she lives for. But Nadine doesn’t want to look too closely at her own past because there are whole chunks of her life that are black holes. It takes all her willpower to tamp down her recurrent claustrophobia, and her daughter, Lisa, is a runaway who has been on the streets for seven years.
When a distraught woman, Heather Simeon, is brought into the Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit after a suicide attempt, Nadine gently coaxes her story out of her—and learns of some troubling parallels with her own life. Digging deeper, Nadine is forced to confront her traumatic childhood, and the damage that began when she and her brother were brought by their mother to a remote commune on Vancouver Island. What happened to Nadine? Why was their family destroyed? And why does the name Aaron Quinn, the group’s leader, bring complex feelings of terror to Nadine even today?
And then, the unthinkable happens, and Nadine realizes that danger is closer to home than she ever imagined. She has no choice but to face what terrifies her the most…and fight back.
Sometimes you can leave the past, but you can never escape.
Told with the trademark powerful storytelling that has had critics praising her work as “Gripping” (Kirkus), “Jaw-dropping” (Publishers Weekly) and “Crackling with suspense” (People magazine), ALWAYS WATCHING shows why Chevy Stevens is one of the most mesmerizing new talents of our day.
Source: I purchased a paperback
Always Watching was a much anticipated novel for me. I liked Still Missing and enjoyed Never Knowing, but I was tired of the same situation in both of those books. The stories were told from the main character’s POV as they were talking to Nadine, their therapist. It was a brilliant strategy, but I was really upset to see that it was repeated in her second book. Always Watching, however, wasn’t set up the same way and it was ABOUT Nadine, which intrigued me.
I was hooked from the first page. I felt like I knew a little bit about Nadine, but I had no idea her life was so complicated. Her patient had ties to a “healing center” that ended up being more like a cult. The crazy part was that Nadine had spent some time there as a child and left with a slew of issues she had never really recovered from. I like how Nadine had suppressed her memories and how her current case connected to her troubled past and complicated family problems. I even enjoyed the way her past seemed to connect with her daughter’s present.
As far as contemporary suspense novels go, I enjoy Chevy Stevens and I always enjoy reading her books. I like that her characters seem relatable, while also having severe problems or circumstances. I like that some of her ideas seem original or over the top so that I’m not expecting things to happen and they aren’t predictable. There’s none of the legal or romantic issues like so many suspense novels, so they seem really character based, which I enjoy.
My criticism, however, is that the endings aren’t done very well. Everything builds and builds and then the reader finds out the truth or gets to the bottom of whatever is happening and then, instead of wrapping up, the story continues. As it continues after that point, it starts to get to be too much. I’d rather have the book end right after the major resolution instead of puttering on with tiny issues that aren’t necessary. It makes the book feel anticlimactic as a whole, even though it was doing a good job for the most part.
I definitely recommend Always Watching because I enjoyed it and I like getting to see what Nadine was like after having two characters talk to her about such crazy stuff in the first two books. Always Watching can be read without having read the other two, as it’s not part of a series, but she was a minor character in the author’s other two books.