Every Last Fear: A Novel

Every Last Fear: A Novel

by Alex Finlay

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In one of the year’s most anticipated debut psychological thrillers, a family made infamous by a true crime documentary is found dead, leaving their surviving son to uncover the truth about their final days.

“They found the bodies on a Tuesday.” So begins this twisty and breathtaking novel that traces the fate of the Pine family, a thriller that will both leave you on the edge of your seat and move you to tears.

After a late night of partying, NYU student Matt Pine returns to his dorm room to devastating news: nearly his entire family—his mom, his dad, his little brother and sister—have been found dead from an apparent gas leak while vacationing in Mexico. The local police claim it was an accident, but the FBI and State Department seem far less certain—and they won’t tell Matt why.

The tragedy makes headlines everywhere because this isn’t the first time the Pine family has been thrust into the media spotlight. Matt’s older brother, Danny—currently serving a life sentence for the murder of his teenage girlfriend Charlotte—was the subject of a viral true crime documentary suggesting that Danny was wrongfully convicted. Though the country has rallied behind Danny, Matt holds a secret about his brother that he’s never told anyone: the night Charlotte was killed Matt saw something that makes him believe his brother is guilty of the crime.

When Matt returns to his small hometown to bury his parents and siblings, he’s faced with a hostile community that was villainized by the documentary, a frenzied media, and memories he’d hoped to leave behind forever. Now, as the deaths in Mexico appear increasingly suspicious and connected to Danny’s case, Matt must unearth the truth behind the crime that sent his brother to prison—putting his own life in peril—and forcing him to confront his every last fear.

Told through multiple points-of-view and alternating between past and present, Alex Finlay's Every Last Fear is not only a page-turning thriller, it’s also a poignant story about a family managing heartbreak and tragedy, and living through a fame they never wanted.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly


In the pseudonymous Finlay’s solid debut, NYU student Matt Pine learns that his parents, Evan and Olivia, and younger siblings, 17-year-old Maggie and six-year-old Tommy, died while vacationing in Tulum, Mexico. The Pines’ oldest son, Danny, is seven years into a life sentence for murdering his pregnant high school girlfriend—a controversial conviction that was the subject of a TV documentary—so Matt must travel solo to claim the bodies. Local authorities believe the family succumbed to a gas leak, but FBI agent Sarah Keller has doubts. Not only was the recently fired Evan’s former employer laundering money for a Mexican cartel, but evidence suggests the Pines were chasing a lead that could exonerate Danny. When a series of near misses suggest Matt is also in danger, Sarah redoubles her efforts to uncover the truth. Though elements of the plot strain credulity and the denouement feels formulaic, Finlay imparts nuance via a prismatic narrative that jumps back and forth in time, examining both tragedies from multiple angles. Those who favor character-driven crime novels will find much to admire. Agent: Lisa Erbach Vance, Aaron Priest Literary. (Mar.)

From the Publisher

One of Goodreads' "Most Anticipated Books of 2021"
One of Goodreads' "Most Anticipated Mysteries and Thrillers of 2021"
One of PopSugar's "Best New Books Coming Out in 2021"
One of BuzzFeed's "Mystery Novels We’re Highly Anticipating in 2021"
One of Mystery and Suspense Magazine's "The Best and Most Anticipated Thrillers of the Year"
One of Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine's "Books to Look Forward to in 2021"
One of Murder & Mayhem's "New Mystery and Thriller Books We Can't Wait to Read"
One of Bibliofile's "Best Mystery Books for 2021"

"True-crime buffs will devour Every Last Fear." —PopSugar

"This highly anticipated thriller has layers of mystery and intrigue." —BuzzFeed

"Page-turning entertainment... perfect for anyone who loves thrillers that have all kinds of secrets & conspiracies within their pages." —Crime by the Book

"[T]he 'buzz' book of early 2021. It has a Harlan Coben-esque plot with an intriguing premise." —Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine

"Finlay imparts nuance via a prismatic narrative that jumps back and forth in time, examining both tragedies from multiple angles. Those who favor character-driven crime novels will find much to admire." —Publishers Weekly

"Finlay’s debut is a fast-moving, often-emotional portrayal of a family in turmoil... fans of a good chase scene won’t be disappointed, either." —Booklist

"Prepare yourself for twist after exciting twist. A standout novel plotted with surgical precision.”
—Karin Slaughter, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author

"Explosive! A knife-edged thriller that explores the true meaning of family, including love, loyalty, and lies."
—Lisa Gardner, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author

“Brilliant. Finlay weaves a story as mesmerizing as it is heartbreaking. Hooks you from the very first page and keeps you guessing until the final explosive twist. Taut, smart, and compelling. A do not miss!”
—Liv Constantine, internationally bestselling author of The Last Mrs. Parrish

"Every Last Fear is a hugely ambitious novel that satisfies on so many different levels. It's a riveting mystery, a propulsive thriller, and a moving portrait of a family torn apart, and brought together, by tragedy."
—Lou Berney, bestselling author of November Road

"Alex Finlay’s jaw-dropping Every Last Fear, about a family found dead years after their true-crime Netflix documentary makes them infamous, is a powerful, standout thriller. Finlay is a masterful storyteller, seamlessly shifting perspectives and timelines to add layers of emotional depth and suspense to this fast-paced, expertly plotted, utterly engrossing novel. Hands down the best thriller I’ve read this year."
—Jennifer Hillier, author of Little Secrets and the award-winning Jar of Hearts

"I loved Every Last Fear. What elevates this thriller are the characters: real, flawed, heroic, driven. What would you do if someone you loved was convicted of a crime you were certain they didn't commit? You won't be able to put down this fast-moving, thoroughly compelling story until the very last page. A winner."
—Allison Brennan, New York Times bestselling author

"Alex Finlay's Every Last Fear reads like a bullet and had me hooked from the first few brutal pages."
—Brian Panowich, author of Hard Cash Valley and the award-winning Bull Mountain

Library Journal


In debut author Andrews's Who Is Maud Dixon?, Florence Darrow, assistant to pseudonymous author Maud Dixon (actually Helen Wilcox), awakens in a hospital after a terrible accident with no memory of the event and Helen missing in action—so why not take over her life (75,000-copy first printing)? In the pseudonymous Finlay's buzzy Every Last Fear, NYU student Matt Pine learns that his entire family has perished while vacationing in Mexico, and the FBI and State Department are questioning the accidental gas leak story put forth by the local police. Flynn, who as a YA author writes as L.E. Flynn, goes adult with The Girls Are All So Nice Here, as Ambrosia Wellington recalls the not-so-nice thing she did one night with former best friend Sully and receives ever more threatening missives about an event she thought was history (150,000-copy first printing). In The House Uptown, Ginsburg's follow-up to Sunset City, 14-year-old Ava winds up in New Orleans after her mother's death, living with a bohemian artist grandmother who finds Ava's presence a reminder of dark things past (50,000-copy first printing). In the latest from Lovering (Tell Me Lies), things prove to be To Good To Be True as starry-eyed Skye Starling blissfully accepts a marriage proposal from her sophisticated older boyfriend, actually a devious skunk whose dark secrets the story backtracks 30 years to reveal (150,000-copy first printing). How does upright Parisian cop Alice end up on a park bench in Central Park, New York, chained to a Dublin musician she doesn't know and in possession of a gun significantly missing a bullet? Read top French author Musso's Central Park to find out. Following Oliva's The Last One, Forget Me Not features a lonely woman still trying to make sense of her past—she was born to replace a dead sibling, escaped the 20-acre compound in Washington State where she had been pretty much abandoned, and at age 12 suddenly faced an incomprehensible world. Already grabbed by 17 territories worldwide, Sten's Scandi-set The Lost Village features documentary filmmaker Alice Lindstedt's efforts to chronicle the mining town whose inhabitants—save for a dead woman and an abandoned newborn—all vanished on a single day in 1959. But bad things keep happening on set (100,000-copy first printing).

Kirkus Reviews

Debut novelist Finlay throws every last plague at a Job-like Nebraska family, and most of them stick.

The troubles began seven years ago, when Danny Pine was accused of killing Charlotte Rose, the high school girlfriend who’d just discovered her pregnancy. Prosecutors swiftly convicted Danny on the basis of a confession the local cops bullied out of him, and although A Violent Nature, a Netflix documentary series, suggested that the real killer was Bobby Ray Hayes, the Smasher convicted of beating several other girls to death, it didn’t change the minds of the Pines’ neighbors in Adair, turning the family into celebrity pariahs. Taking his family from Nebraska to Chicago, Danny's father, Evan Pine, has worked ever since at another branch of the accounting firm Marconi LLP. Just a few weeks after he’s laid off, however, comes the most crushing blow of all: On a trip to Mexico, Evan, his wife, Olivia, and their two youngest children, Maggie and Tommy, are all found dead, apparently from a gas leak in their cabin. FBI agent Sarah Keller, who’s had her eye on Marconi for quite a while, wants to know why Evan was found outside the cabin; whether that red splotch near him is his own blood or someone else’s; why the Pines decided to celebrate Evan’s joblessness by taking a family vacation; and how all these developments are connected to the murder of Charlotte Rose. In search of answers, she leans on Danny, who refuses to talk, and on Danny’s brother Matt, an NYU film student surrounded by people he can’t trust who feels his family’s history converging on him like a pack of hungry wolves.

The author deftly juggles past and present and a wide range of viewpoints until the sadly predictable big reveal.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250268839
Publisher: St. Martin's Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/02/2021
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 83,474

Customer Reviews