Kirkus Reviews QR Code
NEVER KNOWING by Chevy Stevens


by Chevy Stevens

Pub Date: July 5th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-312-59568-5
Publisher: St. Martin's

A Canadian furniture refinisher gets much, much more than she bargained for, none of it good, when on the eve of her wedding she decides to search for her birth mother.

Sara Gallagher has never exactly been comfortable in her adopted family. Her mother-by-choice is loving and kind, but her relationships with her adoptive father and her two non-adopted sisters are rockier. So it’s no wonder that she’d want to celebrate her nuptials to Evan, the rugged outdoorsman who’s fathered her own daughter, 6-year-old Ally, by tracking down the mother who gave her up as a baby. All too soon, Sara learns that the art-history professor who calls herself Julia Laroche is actually her mother. So why does Julia demand that Sara stay far away from her? For that matter, why did she change her name from Karen Christianson? Sara soon discovers that her mother is the only woman to survive an assault by the Campsite Killer—an assault that occurred exactly nine months before Sara’s birth. “I was born in fear,” she realizes in horror. But her troubled history is the least of her problems. News of Karen’s connection, and Sara’s own, to the Campsite Killer swiftly leaks onto a gossip blog, spreads like wildfire and brings Sara’s father (“You can call me John for now”) into her life in ugly and uncontrollable ways. The man who’s murdered some 30 young people had no idea he had a daughter, and he’s so eager to cultivate a relationship with her—without of course allowing the omnipresent Staff Sgt. Sandy McBride and Corp. Billy Reynolds to capture him—that he makes a series of ever more impossible demands, threatening to kill again if Sara doesn’t meet each and every one. Worse still, the mounting pressure leaves her feeling more and more like her father the serial killer.

As finely calculated in its escalating suspense as Stevens’ grueling debut (Still Missing, 2010). Only the last twist disappoints.