Friday, March 10, 2017

Always Watching by Chevy Stevens

Title: Always Watching
Author+Chevy Stevens
Pages: 338
Type: Hardcover

Synopsis from Goodreads:
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. 

Plot: I've seen a ton of people say that this has been their least favorite Stevens book she's written so far. I've only read Never Let You Go, and this one in my opinion is better than that. I do have to admit that I read it slower than I normally read books, simply because it took quite a bit for me to get into it, but when the suspense finally started happening I had no issues rushing through it.

Nadine. I've seen reviews by people saying that they couldn't put themselves into Nadine's character and feel what she was feeling. I had no problems with this! I also suffer from claustrophobia, and there's a scene (I can't divulge what exactly happens) that I read and I felt immediate anxiety stemming from it! I really did like Nadine, but at times she annoyed me with some of the things she let slide from her brother. She admitted her shortcomings and was willing to realize the mistakes she's made in her life after reflecting on them.
Robbie, her brother, was just hateful in general! I wanted to strangle him on more than one occasion. Although he does have a good reason for his attitude, I still hate how he took his anger out on Nadine.
Aaron Quinn (the cult leader) was the ultimate bad guy. I can't spoil everything, but his techniques to keep the cult behaved blew me away. I can't imagine anyone in real life being as manipulative as this character was, but I know people like Aaron Quinn are out there.
The rest of the supporting characters were at times very frustrating to say the least, but I like that they could evoke feelings out of me. That's what I look for most in a character.