Monday, March 24, 2014

Joint Review: Always Watching by Chevy Stevens

Author: Chevy Stevens
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Date of publication: June 2013

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. 

Always Watching was a pretty intriguing book.  I did think it was a little long, but overall I enjoyed it.  I liked Nadine's character.  She isn't perfect and has seen her share of heartache.  She is a widow and her daughter is an addict who lives on the streets.  But she is a good psychiatrist.  When she gets a new patient who tried to commit suicide, she realizes that the woman was a part of a cult that seems familiar to Nadine. 

Through flashbacks, we learn about Nadine's time living on a commune with her mother and brother.  I thought those parts were creepy and disturbing. As Nadine begins to remember parts of that time that she blocked out, things get more and more disturbing.  There were a few twists that I liked and didn't figure out.  I also liked the ending.  The only part that I thought could have been left out was the whole romance with Paul.  It was kind of anti-climactic.  This is the first book by this author that I have read and I'm intrigued enough to go back and read more of her earlier books.

I've read Chevy Stevens' other books and I liked them better than this book.  The previous books had a much darker, gritter ambiance that this one seemed to be lacking.  Also with this book, I kept having the feeling that I had already read it or had seen a movie like it.  I could never pinpoint what book or movie it was, so it was just a feeling. 

While I liked the general storyline, I didn't care for Nadine herself.  There was a point where her brother says that she pushes too hard and I think that's what I didn't like about her.  I felt like she was smothering her daughter everytime she found her.  I didn't like the way that she would interact with some of the characters.  I thought sometimes the way she dealt with thing was less than tactful and the outcomes would have been more in her favor if she would have just backed off.

I won't hold this book against Chevy Stevens.  I can't like everything by the authors I like.  I'll be looking forward to her next book.  Looks like That Night will be coming out later this year.

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