'Never Let You Go' by Chevy Stevens
This author is usually a sure thing for me, but for some reason, 'Never Let You Go' was a failure to launch. Something about it felt ... distracted, for want of a better way of putting it.
It's the story of Lindsey, a woman who having escaped domestic violence with her daughter Sophie, and rebuilt a life suddenly sees it thrown into uncertainty once again when her abusive ex, Andrew, is released from prison.
Sophie, a senior in high school, is curious about her father. She's heard he was a horrible, violent man, but doesn't remember any of that, since she and her mother escaped him when she was just seven-years-old. Now, she wants to meet him and does, without her mother's knowledge. Right around the same time, strange and disturbing things begin to happen to Lindsey and Sophie. Lindsey is convinced Andrew hasn't changed, and that he is terrorizing and punishing her for having left him all those years ago, and for having managed to start a new life, and even a new relationship. But is it Andrew? Really? Or is there someone else?
Even the premise seemed a little simplistic for this author who generally has more layered mysteries and conflicts. Her secondary characters are also usually very well drawn, with their own backstories that make them plausible suspects. Here, there was some of that, but it felt much less substantial than in her previous novels. I can't help but think that this may have been a COVID novel—one written during the pandemic when creative focus was really tough to come by. Not a "bad" book by any means, but definitely not the one I would recommend, if you want to get started on this author's list.