“The author of Still Missing targets her readership with a novel that hits all the notes they come to expect from her—and ratchets up the stakes even more. Lindsey Nash has left an abusive relationship and her ex-husband was sent to jail. She has started over with a new life, her own business, and a teenage daughter who needs her more than ever. When her husband is finally released, Lindsey believes she has cut all ties. There is no way he can ever find her and her daughter again. But she gets the sense that someone is watching her, tracking her every move. Her new boyfriend is threatened. Her home is invaded. Even her daughter is shadowed. Lindsey is convinced it’s her ex-husband, even though he claims he is a different person and doesn’t want to do her any harm. But can he really change? Is the one who wants her dead even closer to home than she thought?
My Thoughts: Any Chevy Stevens novel is a great read. The suspense is heart-pounding; the atmosphere is rich and nuanced. Yet with multiple books under her belt, some will be better than others. Never Let You Go is one of her weaker ones.
Some of the problem stems from the synopsis and the fact that it reveals too much information. The questions posited in the synopsis are not red herrings, and I do not believe anyone will take them as such. So right away, your focus is on the other characters in Lindsey’s life. Among them are plenty of shady characters who catch the eye and cause more than one suspicious moment. However, no matter how hard she tries, the ex-husband is not one of them.
In spite of the major clues in the synopsis, I was still surprised by the ending. I had unraveled enough of the clues not to be wholly shocked but still had a few doubts right before the story’s climax. The ending is satisfying even while it is clean and neat. Lindsey proves her resilience, and happy endings abound. It is exactly what you have come to expect from Ms. Stevens.
As for the ex-husband, I actually find him fairly sympathetic. Yes, he has anger and jealousy issues, and his treatment of Lindsey is absolutely deplorable. Yes, there is no excuse for abuse of any kind. Yet, unlike the husbands in other domestic abuse novels though, he is not malicious or sadistic. He only gets mean when he drinks, and he is unfortunately an alcoholic. He genuinely loves his daughter and does everything possible to prevent her from seeing his darker side. He is not a sociopath looking for a way to control his wife. He is just a sick man with some unresolved childhood issues that cause him to act in a way that is completely unacceptable.
I am not condoning violence in any relationship; I am writing this and coming at it having finished the novel and seeing how the story ends in regards to the ex-husband. His is a tragic story, if only because alcoholism is such an insidious disease because social drinking is such a huge part of our society. We all know someone who becomes a mean drunk but is a loving, caring person when sober. That is the ex-husband. Sadly, the consequences of his illness have a lasting impact on the lives of more than just those of his family and his own.
Whether it is because of the serious clues dropped in the synopsis or the fairly sympathetic husband, Never Let You Go is one of Ms. Stevens’ weaker novels. There is a distinct lack of a villain in this one that diminishes the overall suspense and danger to the main character. When the danger does come to fruition, Lindsey proves that she is no damsel in distress though, which is satisfying on so many levels. While I may have been disappointed in Never Let You Go, Chevy Stevens is still an author worth reading, as her stories always provide insight into the mind of a victim that is worth learning. Plus, a bad Chevy Stevens novel is better than a majority of the other novels published in a given year.