“Always Watching” by Chevy Stevens
“Heart-pounding,” (Lisa Jackson) “Harrowing,” (Linwood Barclay) and “Chilling” (William Landay) are just a few of the words others have used to describe Stevens’ newest book “Always Watching.” They are all true. Add one other: “Spellbinding” (Starr Gardinier Reina). That’s what I thought. This was one tough book to put down.
Psychiatrist Nadine Lavoie meets a patient who brings to surface Nadine’s own terrifying past, one her psyche protected her from. But now that she’s remembering, she has to face her past.
Her mother, tired of the abuse by the hands of her father, brings Nadine and Robbie, her brother to live in a commune when they were thirteen and sixteen, respectively. Aaron, the ‘leader,’ preached about living life purely and demanded his ‘residents’ follow his every rule. When they didn’t…well, they were punished. Finally, Nadine’s father comes and takes them out, away from the horror of the commune.
Nadine, in her adult years, suffers from claustrophobia and hasn’t been able to find the root of the fear. But as she digs deeper into what the commune is up to now, she finds out more than she can handle.
A violent rage bubbles just below the surface when Aaron and his brother Joseph are threatened by Nadine’s quest to bring to light the ugly side of Aaron and his ‘lifestyle.’ Torment can describe what Nadine goes through as she recalls what happened to her as a little girl and anguish when she discovers her own missing daughter is now calling the commune home.
As I said, “spellbinding” is a great descriptor of Stevens’ story. There aren't many other words to do this book justice. Highly recommended.
Reviewed by Starr Gardinier Reina, author of “The Other Side: Melinda’s Story”