Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Never Knowing by Chevy Stevens Review

Never KnowingNever Knowing by Chevy Stevens
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Goodreads:  All her life, Sara Gallagher has wondered about her birth parents. As an adopted child with two sisters who were born naturally to her parents, Sara’s home life was not ideal. The question of why she was given up for adoption has always haunted her. Finally, she is ready to take steps and find closure. 

But some questions are better left unanswered. 

After months of research, Sara locates her birth mother—only to be met with horror and rejection. Then she discovers the devastating truth: her mother was the only victim ever to escape a killer who has been hunting women every summer for decades. But Sara soon realizes the only thing worse than finding out about her father is him finding out about her. 

What if murder is in your blood? 

Never Knowing is a complex and compelling portrayal of one woman’s quest to understand herself, her origins, and her family. That is, if she can survive…

My take: I liked this book and found the protagonist very, very human. The presentation of information is given through sessions with Sara's therapist. How the story is revealed through each session every few days is a very interesting and effective way to tell the story.

Sara is high strung, high stress, and fears she may have her father's temper. Her father being a serial killer who just finds out he has a daughter through his one victim he was not able to kill after raping her and the child subsequently put up for adoption. Through conversations between the serial killer and Sara, she ascertains similarities and tries to simultaneously gain his trust without getting sucked into believing he is a person with feelings and depth. She is working with the police, Sandy and Billy, to trap him into revealing more about himself so he can be caught.

Solid premise. Good writing. And yet.

I didn't like the protagonist. I didn't hate her, I just had a hard time identifying with her. Except for running a notch under manic on a regular day, I mean. I really liked that line. She was simply so easily manipulated by guilt or the need to be loved that she lacked backbone. Although I understood her biological mother's attitude, she seemed harsh and I found no redeeming qualities about her. I never liked Sara's adoptive father. Didn't really take to her sisters until the end when I liked Melanie, her precocious 6 year old was pretty bratty, Evan, her fiance and the man who saved her from a life of peril is even manipulative and the police, Billy and Sandy are transparently manipulative and ambivalent to Sara's safety.

When it came down to it, it was the serial killer's personality that was the best developed and I didn't particularly like him, either. Everybody laid the guilt at Sara's feet and she picked it up with glee and let it drive her to do whatever anybody wanted her to do which really bugged me.

Again, I didn't hate the book. In fact, I liked it just fine. I didn't, for even a moment, think I wanted to stop reading it. But now that I'm finished I find the book on the forgettable side.

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