FROM THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF STILL MISSING COMES A PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER ABOUT ONE WOMAN'S SEARCH INTO THE PAST…AND THE DEADLY TRUTH SHE UNCOVERS.
All her life, Sara Gallagher has wondered about her birth parents. As an adopted child with two sisters who were born naturally to her parents, Sara never had an ideal home life. The question of why she was given up for adoption has always haunted her. Finally, she is ready to take steps and to find closure.
But some questions are better left unanswered.
When Sara manages to locate her birth mother, she is met with horror and rejection. It's not long before Sara discovers the devastating truth: Her mother was the only victim to escape a killer who has been hunting women every summer. For decades. And he shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.
What if murder is in your blood?
The only thing worse than Sara finding out about her father is him finding out about her. But now that the door to her past has been opened, is it too late?
"Stevens's unnerving thriller about a woman's search for her birth parents matches the intensity of her impressive debut, Still Missing."--Publishers Weekly
|Publisher:||St. Martin's Press|
|Product dimensions:||4.16(w) x 6.76(h) x 1.09(d)|
About the Author
Chevy Stevens is the author of Still Missing. Before becoming a writer, she worked as a realtor. When she held open houses, she had a lot of time waiting by herself between potential buyers, and Stevens would spend this time scaring herself with all the things that could happen to her. The most terrifying scenario she thought up became the story behind Still Missing. Stevens grew up on a ranch on Vancouver Island, and she still calls the island home. When she's not writing, she's hiking with her husband and her dog in the local mountains.
Read an Excerpt
NEVER KNOWING (Chapter One)
I thought I could handle it, Nadine. After all those years of seeing you, all those times I talked about whether I should look for my birth mother, I finally did it. I took that step. You were a part of it—I wanted to show you what an impact you had on my life, how much I’ve grown, how stable I am now, how balanced. That’s what you always told me, “Balance is the key.” But I forgot the other thing you used to say: “Slowly, Sara.”
I’ve missed this, being here. Remember how uncomfortable I was when I first started seeing you? Especially when I told you why I needed help. But you were down-to-earth and funny—not at all how I imagined a psychiatrist would be. This office was so bright and pretty that, no matter what I was worried about, as soon as I walked in here felt better. Some days, especially in the beginning, I didn’t want to leave.
You told me once that when you didn’t hear from me you knew things were going well, that when I stopped coming altogether you’d know you did your job. And you did. The last couple of years have been the happiest of my life. That’s why I thought it was the right time. I thought I could withstand anything that came my way. I was solid, grounded. Nothing could send me back to the nervous wreck I was when I first met you.
Then she lied to me—my birth mother—when I finally forced her to talk to me. She lied about my real father. It felt like when Ally used to kick my ribs when I was pregnant with her—a sudden blow from the inside that left me breathless. But it was my birth mother’s fear that got me the most. She was afraid of me. I’m sure of it. What I don’t know is why.
* * *
It started about six weeks ago, around the end of December, with an online article. I was up stupidly early this one Sunday—no need for a rooster when you have a six-year-old—and while I inhaled my first coffee I answered e-mails. I get requests to restore furniture from all over the island now. That morning I was trying to research a desk from the 1920s, when I wasn’t laughing at Ally. She was supposed to be watching cartoons downstairs, but I could hear her scolding Moose, our brindle French bulldog, for molesting her stuffed rabbit. Suffice it to say, Moose has a weaning issue. No tail’s safe.
Then somehow or another I got this pop-up advertising Viagra, which I finally got closed, only to accidentally click on this other link and find myself staring at a headline:
Adoption: The Other Side of the Story
I scrolled through letters people had sent in response to a Globe and Mail piece, read stories of birth parents who’ve been trying to find their children for years, birth parents who didn’t want to be found. Adopted children growing up feeling they never belonged. Tragic tales of doors slammed in faces. Joyful stories of mothers and daughters, brothers and sisters reuniting and living happily ever after.
My head started to pound. What if I found my mother? Would we instantly connect? What if she wanted nothing to do with me? What if I found out she was dead? What if I had siblings who never knew about me?
I didn’t realize Evan was up until he kissed the back of my neck and made a grunting noise—a sound we picked up from Moose and now use to signal everything from I’m pissed off to You’re hot!
I closed down the screen and spun my chair around. Evan raised his eyebrows and smiled.
“Talking to your online boyfriend again?”
I smiled back. “Which one?”
Evan clutched at his chest, collapsed into his office chair, and sighed.
“Sure hope he has lots of clothes.”
I laughed. I was forever raiding Evan’s shirts, especially if he had to stay with a group at his wilderness lodge in Tofino—three hours from our house in Nanaimo and right smack on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Those weeks I often wore his shirts around the clock. I’d get caught up working on a new piece of furniture, and by the time he was home the shirt would be covered in stains and I’d be exchanging all sorts of favors for his forgiveness.
“Sorry to break it to you, honey, but you’re the only man for me—no one else would put up with my craziness.” I rested my foot on his lap. With his sable hair spiked in all directions and his usual outfit of cargo pants and polo shirt, he looked like a college student. A lot of people don’t realize Evan actually owns the lodge.
He smiled. “Oh, I’m sure there’s a doctor somewhere with a straitjacket who’d think you’re cute.”
I pretended to kick at him, then said, “I was reading an article,” as I started to massage the throbbing pain on the left side of my head.
“Getting a migraine, baby?”
I dropped my hand down to my lap. “Just a little one, it’ll go away.”
He gave me a look.
“Okay, I forgot my pill yesterday.” After years of trying various medications I was now on beta blockers and my migraines were finally under control. The trick was remembering to take them.
He shook his head. “So what was the article about?”
“Ontario’s opening up their adoption records, and…” I groaned as Evan worked a pressure point on my foot. “There were all these letters from people who were adopted or who gave up their children.” Downstairs, Ally’s giggle rang out.
“Thinking about finding your birth mother?”
“Not exactly, it was just interesting.” But I was thinking about finding her. I just wasn’t sure if I was ready. I’ve always known I was adopted, but I didn’t realize that meant I was different until Mom sat me down and told me they were having a baby. I was four at the time. As Mom grew bigger and Dad prouder, I started worrying they were going to give me back. I didn’t know just how different I was until I saw the way my father looked at Lauren when they brought her home, then the way he looked at me when I asked to hold her. They had Melanie two years later. He didn’t let me hold her either.
Evan, willing to drop things long before me, nodded.
“What time do you want to leave for brunch?”
“A quarter past never.” I sighed. “Thank God Lauren and Greg are coming, because Melanie’s bringing Kyle.”
“Brave of her.” As much as my father loves Evan—they’d probably spend the entire brunch planning their next fishing trip—he despises Kyle. I can’t say I blame him. Kyle’s a wannabe rock star, but as far as I’m concerned the only thing he’s playing is my sister. Dad always hated our boyfriends, though. I’m still shocked he likes Evan. All it took was one trip to the lodge and he was talking about him like he was the son he never had. He’s still bragging about the salmon they caught.
“It’s like she thinks if they’re around each other more Dad will see all his good qualities.” I snorted.
“Be nice, Melanie loves him.”
I gave a mock shudder. “Last week she told me I better start working on my tan if I didn’t want to be the same color as my dress. Our wedding’s nine months away!”
“She’s just jealous—you can’t take it personally.”
“It sure feels personal.”
Ally came barreling into the room with Moose in fast pursuit and threw herself into my arms.
“Mommy, Moose ate all my cereal!”
“Did you leave the bowl on the floor again, silly?”
She giggled against my neck and I inhaled her fresh scent as her hair tickled my nose. With her dark coloring and compact body, Ally looks more like Evan than me even though he’s not her biological father, but she has my green eyes—cat’s eyes, Evan calls them. And she got my curls, though at thirty-three mine have relaxed while Ally’s are still tight ringlets.
Evan stood up and clapped his hands.
“Okay, family, time to get dressed.”
* * *
A week later, just after New Year’s, Evan headed back to his lodge for a few days. I’d read a few more adoption stories online, and the night before he left I told him I was considering looking for my birth mother while he was gone.
“Are you sure it’s a good idea right now? You have so much going on with the wedding.”
“But that’s part of it—we’re getting married and for all I know I was dropped here from outer space.”
“You know, that might explain a few things.…”
“Ha, ha, very funny.”
He smiled, then said, “Seriously, Sara, how are you going to feel if you can’t find her? Or if she doesn’t want to see you?”
How was I going to feel? I pushed the thought to the side and shrugged.
“I’ll just have to accept it. Things don’t get to me like they used to. But I really feel like I need to do this—especially if we’re going to have kids.” The entire time I was pregnant with Ally I was afraid of what I might be passing on to her. Thankfully she’s healthy, but whenever Evan and I talk about having a child the fear starts up again.
I said, “I’m more worried about upsetting Mom and Dad.”
“You don’t have to tell them—it’s your life. But I still don’t think it’s the best timing.”
Maybe he was right. It was stressful enough trying to take care of Ally and run my business, let alone plan a wedding.
“I’ll think about putting it off, okay?”
Evan smiled. “Riiight. I know you, baby—once your mind is made up you’re full speed ahead.”
I laughed. “I promise.”
* * *
I did think about waiting, especially when I imagined my mom’s face if she found out. Mom used to say being adopted meant I was special because they chose me. When I was twelve Melanie gave me her version. She said our parents adopted me because Mom couldn’t have babies, but they didn’t need me now. Mom found me in my room packing my clothes. When I told her I was going to find my “real” parents she started crying, then she said, “Your birth parents couldn’t take care of you properly, but they wanted you to have the best home possible. So now we take care of you and we love you very much.” I never forgot the hurt in her eyes, or how thin her body felt as she hugged me.
The next time I seriously thought about looking for my birth parents was when I graduated, then when I found out I was pregnant, and then seven months later when I held Ally for the first time. But I’d put myself in Mom’s shoes and imagine what it would feel like if my child wanted to find her birth mother, how hurt and scared I’d be, and I could never go through with it. I might not have this time either, if Dad hadn’t phoned to ask Evan to go fishing.
“Sorry, Dad, he just left yesterday. Maybe you can take Greg?”
“Greg talks too much.” I felt bad for Lauren’s husband. Where Dad despised Kyle, he had no use for Greg. I’d seen him walk away when Greg was in midsentence.
“Are you guys going to be home for a while? I was just going to get Ally from school and come by for a visit.”
“Not today. Your mom’s trying to rest.”
“Is her Crohn’s flaring up again?”
“She’s just tired.”
“Okay, no problem. If you need help with anything, let me know.”
* * *
Throughout our lives Mom’s health had been up and down. For weeks she’d be doing fine, painting our rooms, sewing curtains, baking up a storm. Even Dad was almost happy during those times. I remember him lifting me onto his shoulders once, the view as heady as the rare attention. But Mom would always end up doing too much and within days she was sick again. She’d fade before our eyes as her body refused to hang on to any nutrients, even baby food sending her rushing for the bathroom.
When she was going through a bad spell Dad would come home and ask what I’d been doing all day, like he was trying to find something, or someone, to be pissed at. When I was nine he found me in front of the TV while Mom was sleeping. He dragged me to the kitchen by my wrist and pointed to the stack of dishes, calling me a lazy, ungrateful child. The next day it was the pile of laundry that set him off, and the next, Melanie’s toys in the driveway. His big workingman’s body would loom over me and his voice would vibrate with anger, but he never yelled, never did anything Mom could see or hear. He’d take me out to the garage and list my shortcomings while I stared at his feet, terrified he was going to say he didn’t want me anymore. Then he’d barely speak to me for a week.
I started doing the household chores before Mom could get to them, staying home when my sisters were out with friends, cooking dinners that never got my father’s approval but at least didn’t earn his silence. I would do anything to avoid silence, anything to keep Mom from getting sick again. If she was healthy, I was safe.
* * *
When I phoned Lauren that night she told me she and the boys had just gotten home from dinner with our parents. Dad had invited them.
“So it was just my kid who wasn’t allowed over.”
“I’m sure it wasn’t like that. Ally just has so much energy, and—”
“What does that mean?”
“It doesn’t mean anything, she’s adorable. But Dad probably thought three kids were too much.” I knew Lauren was just trying to make me feel better before I went on a rant against Dad, which she hates, but it drives me nuts that she can never see how differently Dad treats me, or at least never acknowledges it. After we hung up I almost called Mom to check on her, but then I thought about Dad telling me to stay home, like a stray dog who’s only allowed to sleep on the porch because she might mess in the house. I put the phone back on the charger.
* * *
The next day I filled out the form at Vital Statistics, paid my $50, and started waiting. I’d like to say patiently, but I practically tackled the mailman after the first week. A month later my Original Birth Registration, or OBR, as the woman at Vital Statistics called it, arrived in the mail. I stared at the envelope and realized my hand was shaking. Evan was at his lodge again and I wished he could be there when I opened it, but that was another week. Ally was at school and the house was quiet. I took a deep breath and ripped open the envelope.
My real mother’s name was Julia Laroche and I was born in Victoria, BC. My father was listed as unknown. I read the OBR and the adoption certificate over and over, looking for answers, but I just kept hearing one question: Why did you give me away?
* * *
The next morning I woke early and went online while Ally was still sleeping. The first thing I checked was the Adoption Reunion Registry, but when I realized it could take another month to get an answer, I decided to look on my own first. After searching Web sites for twenty minutes, I found three Julia Laroches in Quebec and four down in the States who seemed around the right age. Only two lived on the island, but when I saw they were both in Victoria my stomach flipped. Could she still be there after all this time? I quickly clicked on the first link, and let my breath out when I realized she was too young, judging by her article on a new mom’s forum. The second link took me to a Web site for a real estate agent in Victoria. She had auburn hair like me and looked about the right age. I studied her face with a mixture of excitement and fear. Had I found my birth mother?
After I drove Ally to school, I sat at my desk and circled the phone number I’d jotted on a piece of paper. I’ll call in one minute. After another cup of coffee. After I read the paper. After I paint every toenail a different color. Finally I forced myself to pick up the phone.
It might not even be her.
I should just hang up. This was a bad way to—
“Julia Laroche speaking.”
I opened my mouth, but nothing came out.
“Hello?” she said.
“Hi, I’m calling … I’m calling because…” Because I stupidly thought if I said something brilliant, you’d instantly regret giving me up, but now I can’t even remember my own name.
Her voice was impatient. “Are you looking to buy or sell a home?”
“No, I’m—” I took a deep breath and said it in a rush. “I might be your daughter.”
“Is this some kind of joke? Who are you?”
“My name is Sara Gallagher. I was born in Victoria and given up for adoption. You have auburn hair and you’re about the right age, so I thought—”
“Honey, there’s no way you’re my daughter. I can’t have children.”
My face burned. “God, I’m sorry. I just thought … well, I hoped.”
The voice softened. “It’s okay. Good luck with your search.” I was about to hang up when she said, “There’s a Julia Laroche who works at the university. I get calls for her sometimes.”
“Thanks, I appreciate that.”
My face was still hot as I dropped the phone onto my desk and headed out to my shop. I got most of my paintbrushes cleaned, then sat and stared at the wall, thinking about what the real estate woman had said. A few minutes later I was back at my computer. After a quick search the other Julia’s name came up under a list of professors at the University of Victoria. She taught art history—was that where I got my love of all things old? I shook my head. Why was I letting myself get excited? It was just a name. I took a deep breath and called the university, surprised when they put me straight through to Julia Laroche’s extension.
She answered, and this time I had my speech ready. “Hi, my name is Sara Gallagher and I’m trying to find my birth mother. Did you give a child up for adoption thirty-three years ago?”
A sharp intake of breath. Then silence.
“Don’t call here again.” She hung up.
* * *
I cried. For hours. Which kicked off a migraine so bad Lauren had to take Ally and Moose for me. Thankfully, Lauren’s two boys are around Ally’s age and Ally loves going over there. I hated being away from my daughter for even one night, but all I could do was lie in a dark room with a cold compress on my head and wait for it to pass. Evan phoned and I told him what had happened, speaking slowly because of the pain. By the next afternoon I’d stopped seeing auras around everything, so Ally and Moose came home. Evan phoned again that night.
“Feeling better, baby?”
“The migraine’s gone—it’s my own stupid fault for forgetting to take my pill again. Now I’m behind on that desk and I wanted to call some photographers this week and—”
“Sara, you don’t have to do everything right away. Leave the photographers for when I get back.”
“It’s fine, I’ll take care of it.” I admired Evan’s laid-back personality in many ways, but in the two years we’ve been together I’ve learned “we can do it later” usually translates into me rushing around like a crazy woman to get something done at the last minute.
I said, “I’ve been thinking about what happened with my birth mother.…”
“I was wondering about writing her a letter. Her address is unlisted, but I can just leave it at the university.”
Evan was silent for a moment. “Sara … I’m not sure that’s a good idea.”
“So she doesn’t want to get to know me, fine, but I think the least she could do is give me my medical history. What about Ally? Doesn’t she have a right to know? There could be health issues, like … like high blood pressure, or diabetes, or cancer—”
“Baby.” Evan’s voice was calm but firm. “Take it easy. Why are you letting her get to you like this?”
“I’m not like you, okay? I can’t just brush things off.”
“Listen, cranky-pants, I’m on your side here.”
I was silent, my eyes closed, trying to breathe, reminding myself it wasn’t Evan I was angry at.
“Sara, do what you have to do. You know I’ll support you no matter what. But I think you should just leave it alone.”
* * *
As I made the hour-and-a-half trip down-island the next day I felt calm and centered, confident I was doing the right thing. There’s something about the Island Highway that always soothes me: the quaint towns and valleys, the farmland, the glimpses of ocean and coastal mountain ranges. When I got closer to Victoria and drove through the old-growth forest at Goldstream Park, I thought about the time Dad had taken us there to watch the salmon spawning in the river. Lauren was terrified of all the seagulls feasting on the dead salmon. I hated the scent of death in the air, how it clung to your clothes and nostrils. Hated how Dad explained everything to my sisters but ignored my questions—ignored me.
Evan and I talked about opening a second whale-watching business in Victoria one day—Ally loves the museum and the street performers in the inner harbor, I love all the old buildings. But for now Nanaimo suits us. Even though it’s the second largest city on the island, it still has that small-town feel. You can be walking on the seawall in the harbor, shopping in the old city quarter, or hiking up a mountain with an amazing view of the Gulf Islands all on the same day. Whenever we want to get away, we just take the ferry to the mainland or drive down to Victoria to do some shopping. But if things didn’t go well in Victoria this trip, it was going to be a long drive home.
* * *
My plan was to drop off the letter requesting information at Julia’s office. But when the woman at the front desk told me Professor Laroche was teaching a class in the next building, I had to see what she looked like. She wouldn’t even know I was there. Then I’d leave the letter at the front desk.
I slowly opened the door to the auditorium-style classroom and crept in with my face turned away from the podium. I found a seat in the back, scrunched down—feeling like a stalker—and took a look at my mother.
“As you can see, architecture of the Islamic world varied…”
In my daydreams she was always an older version of me, but where my hair is auburn, falling in unruly waves down my back, her black hair was cut in a sleek bob. I couldn’t see her eye color, but her face was round, with delicate bone structure. My cheekbones are high and my features Nordic. The lines of her black wrap dress revealed a slight boyish frame and small wrists. My build is athletic. She was probably a couple of inches over five feet and I’m almost five-nine. The way she pointed out images on the projector’s screen was elegant and unhurried. I talk with my hands so much I’m always knocking something over. If her reaction on the phone wasn’t still haunting me, I’d think I had the wrong woman.
As I half listened to her lecture, I fantasized about what my childhood might’ve been like with her as my mother. We’d have discussed art at dinner, which we’d eat off beautiful plates and sometimes light the candles in silver candlesticks. On summer holidays we’d have explored museums in foreign countries and had deep intellectual talks over cappuccinos in Italian cafés. On weekends we’d have browsed bookstores together—
A wave of guilt swamped me. I have a mother. I thought of the sweet woman who raised me, the woman who made cabbage-leaf compresses for my headaches even when she wasn’t feeling well herself, the woman who didn’t know I’d found my birth mother.
After the class ended I walked down to the stairs toward the side door. As I passed near Julia she smiled, but with a questioning look, like she was trying to place me. When a student stopped to ask her something, I bolted for the door. At the last second, I glanced over my shoulder. Her eyes were brown.
I went straight back to my car. I was still sitting there, my heart going nuts inside my chest, when I saw her leave the building. She walked toward the faculty parking lot. I inched my car in that direction and watched her get into a white classic Jaguar. When she pulled out, I followed.
Stop. Think about what you’re doing. Pull over.
Like that was going to happen.
As we drove down Dallas Road, one of the more upscale areas in Victoria along the waterfront, I kept back. After about ten minutes Julia turned into the circular driveway of a large Tudor house on the ocean. I pulled over and got out a map. She parked in front of the marble steps, followed a path around the corner of the house, then disappeared through a side door.
She didn’t knock. She lived there.
So what did I do now? Drive off and forget about the whole thing? Drop the letter in her mailbox at the end of the driveway and risk someone else finding it? Give it to her in person?
But once I reached the big mahogany front door I stood there like an idiot, frozen, torn between tucking the letter into the door and just sprinting back down the driveway. I didn’t knock, I didn’t ring the doorbell, but the door opened. I was face-to-face with my mother. And she didn’t look happy to see me.
My face was burning.
“Hi … I … I saw your class.”
Her eyes narrowed. She looked at the envelope clutched in my hand.
“I wrote you a letter.” My voice sounded breathless. “I wanted to ask you some things—we talked the other day.…”
She stared at me.
“I’m your daughter.”
Her eyes widened. “You have to leave.” She moved to shut the door. I put my foot on the jamb.
“Wait. I don’t want to upset you—I just have some questions, it’s for my daughter.” I dug into my wallet and pulled out a photo. “Her name’s Ally—she’s only six.”
Julia wouldn’t look at the photo. When she spoke her voice was high, strained.
“It’s not a good time. I can’t—I just can’t.”
“Five minutes. That’s all I need, then I’ll leave you alone.”
She looked over her shoulder at a phone on a hall table.
“Please. I promise I won’t come back.”
She led me into a side room with a mahogany desk and floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. Moved a cat off an antique brown leather high-backed chair.
I sat down and tried to smile. “Himalayans are beautiful.” She didn’t smile back. She perched on the edge of her seat. Hands gripping each other in her lap, knuckles white.
I said, “This chair is gorgeous—I refinish furniture for a living, but this is pristine. I love antiques. Anything vintage, really, cars, clothes…” My hand brushed the fitted black velvet jacket I’d paired with jeans.
She stared at the floor. Her hands started to shake.
I took a deep breath and went for it.
“I just want to know why you gave me away. I’m not angry, I have a good life. I just … I just want to know. I need to know.”
“I was young.” Now her voice was reedy, flat. “It was an accident. I didn’t want children.”
“Why did you have me, then?”
“I was Catholic.” Was?
“What about your family, are they—”
“My parents died in an accident—after you were born.” The last part came out in a rush. I waited for her to say more. The cat brushed against her legs, she didn’t touch it. I noticed a pulse beating fast at the base of her throat.
“I’m very sorry. Was the accident on the island?”
“We—they—lived in Williams Lake.” Her face flushed.
“Your name, Laroche. What does that mean? It’s French, right? Do you know from what part of—”
“I’ve never looked it up.”
“It was at a party and I don’t remember anything. I don’t know where he is now.”
I stared at this elegant woman. Not one thing about her fit with a drunken one-night stand. She was lying. I was sure of it. I willed her to meet my eyes. She stared at the cat. I had an insane urge to pick it up and throw it at her.
“Was he tall? Do I look like him, or—”
She stood up. “I told you I don’t remember. I think you’d better go.”
“But—” A door slammed at the back of the house.
Julia’s hand flew up to cover her mouth. An older woman with curly blond hair and a pink scarf draped around her thin shoulders came around the corner.
“Julia! I’m glad you’re home, we should—” She stopped when she saw me and her face broke into a smile. “Oh, hello, I didn’t realize Julia had a student over.”
I stood up and held out a hand. “I’m Sara. Professor Laroche was kind enough to go over my paper with me, but I should be off.”
She took my hand. “Katharine. I’m Julia’s…” Her voice trailed off as she searched Julia’s face.
I jumped into the awkward silence. “It was nice to meet you.” I turned to Julia. “Thanks again for your help.” She managed a smile and a nod.
At my car I glanced over my shoulder. They were still standing in the open doorway. Katharine smiled and waved, but Julia just stared at me.
* * *
So you understand why I had to talk to you. I feel like I’m standing on ice and it’s cracking all around me, but I don’t know which way to move. Do I try to find out why my birth mother lied or heed Evan’s advice to just leave it alone? I know you’re going to tell me I’m the only one who can make that decision, but I need your help.
I keep thinking about Moose. When he was a puppy we left him in the laundry room one cold Saturday when we went out, because he wasn’t housebroken—little guy piddled so much Ally tried to put her doll’s diapers on him. We had this beautiful bright-colored rope rug we’d brought back from a trip to Saltspring Island, and he must’ve started nibbling one corner, then just kept pulling and pulling. By the time we got home the rug was destroyed. My life is like that beautiful colored rug—it took years to sew it together. Now I’m afraid if I keep pulling on this one corner it’s all going to unravel.
But I’m not sure I can stop.
NEVER KNOWING Copyright 2011 by Ren Unischewski.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
JUST A QUESTION? ISN'T A REVIEW WHEN U WRITE WHAT U THINK ABOUT THE BOOK & SAY WEATHER OR NOT U ENJOYED THE BOOK OR NOT ? WHY DO PEOPLE WRITE & TELL U WHAT THE BOOK IS ABOUT INSTEAD OF YES I LIKED IT OR NO I DID NOT ENJOY IT????? ANY WAY MY REVIEW READS (LOL) STARTED AT 7:00PM AND BY 3:00 I WAS DONE SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO GOOD I COULD NOT STOP READING IT/ WAS VERY WELL WRITTEN & WAS JUST A PAGE TURNER ONE AFTER THE OTHER/ I'M JUST SORRY THAT SHE HAS ONLY WRITTEN 2 BOOKS/ NOW I DO NOT HAVE ONE TO READ TONIGHT/ JUST HOPE U ENJOY THIS BOOK AS MUCH AS I DID/ THANKS FOR LISTING
I won't say what this is about so as not to ruin it for those who have not read it. Just read it...you will not be disappointed. I stayed up until 4 this morning because I could not put it down! How will I find another book as interesting as this? So well written...the author made it feel like I was there....experiencing what Sara did......wow is all I can say and you will be glad you read this!!!!! Bravo.....now I'm going to see what other books this author has out.
I couldn't put this book down. I started reading at 10:30pm, thinking I'd get a few chapters in and then go to sleep, but I read until 3:00 am! Sara was adopted, and never quite fit in with her new family. Her adoptive mother is sick and her father is a distant, cold man. One sister is passive, the other a b*tch. With her upcoming wedding to Evan, she becomes increasingly curious about her birth parents. That curiousity puts her and everyone she knows in mortal danger. Sara has tunnel vision and can't stop her quest, even when she discovers that she was the product of a brutal rape. Her birth mother is in hiding, and her birth father is a serial killer who was never caught. Her search brings him out of hiding, and he wants to make up for lost time. This novel was creepy. How do you stop a terrifying situation when your choices are to protect your family or protect innocent women from becoming a killer's next victim? The twist at the end was predictible and felt rushed, but the overall story was still excellent.
What would you do if you woke up one morning and found out that your father was a serial killer? That is the question that Sara Gallagher has to wrestle with in the second book by author Chevy Stevens. Sara is the oldest of three girls in her family, and the only one that is adopted. As such, she has always felt that she never quite fit in and wondered what her birth parents were like. What takes place in this story is definitely a case of "be careful what you wish for" as once Sara discovers her birth parents there is no turning back. How could she ever have imagined that they would be who they were? Or that her father would be a celebrated serial killer? As Sara makes contact with her birth father and grapples with the many issues that raises, we are taken on a thrill ride. Ms. Stevens definitely has another hit on her hands with Never Knowing. Like Still Missing, this book is told from the main character's viewpoint, as if she were talking to her psychiatrist. It is a unique way to tell the story, and one that Stevens certainly has the knack for. Also as in Still Missing, the main character in this story is scarred, which makes for an interesting protagonist. Unlike the first book, though, Sara is not abrasive, and the book never drags from beginning to end. Best of all, once again, Stevens finishes with an ending that I didn't see coming. I highly recommend this one.
This is one of those books that once you start reading it you find it very hard to put down. I loved it!! The story is very gripping and the characters are well-rounded. Everything is spelled out in such a way it is hard to let go. Great reading. Chevy Stevens is terrific!
Please keep writing - you are a VERY GOOD author
Chevy Stevens quickly became my new favorite author. This book makes you so involved, you see things in a totally different light. I highly recommend this book, you won't be disappointed.
Chevy Stevens is an amazing author and story teller.
Another interesting offer from Ms Stevens. Definite page turner.. nature over nuture and all the effects of both ideas on those living with the theories. Creepy, without being judgemental.. Looking forward to her newest.
Never Knowing by Chevy Stevens July 2011 ISBN 978-0-312-59568-5 Reviewed by Shannon Pease (shayrp) Thirty-three year old Sara Gallagher can finally see the pieces of her life falling into place. She has her own business, a six year old daughter, and she is about to marry the man of her dreams. When she decides it's time to find her birth mother those pieces start to tumble around her. Finding the woman who gave her away turns to disappointment but finding the man, who never knew he had a daughter and who by the way is a famous serial killer, turns life frightening. As she struggles to keep her father from getting to her and her family; she also struggles with her own emotions of feeling neglected by her adoptive father. The story is told through sessions with her therapist, Nadine, so the emotional side of the book seems very raw. All of which are realistic but not overwhelming. Like real life, the book is an emotional rollercoaster ride. Ms. Stevens could have made fear the dominating emotion and that would have worked, but the little laughs thrown in, the unmistakable love story, and the tears made it all the more real for me. The characters were easy to get to know and to read. They could easily be the family next door. Everything flowed well and the timing was impeccable. I did not want to put this book down for a second. As soon as I opened it I was enveloped. I even put my phone on silent this morning so I could finish it. I found a lot of similarities in the emotions of the book and myself. Plus, I have a dog who likes to hump stuffed animals. This one is also one that I am going to be recommending to anyone who will listen; maybe even beg people to buy it when it hits shelves just so I can talk to someone about it. I will not forget this story.
What if your dad is a serial killer?
couldn't put this book down!!
First of all, I won a free advanced readers copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. Chevy Stevens writes well, similar to many other popular authors who write many books (think of James Patterson, for example). She draws you in to this story, and this book is told during the main character's (Sara) therapy sessions so you really get to hear her honest thoughts and feelings. The basic plot is that Sarah was adopted as a baby and she wants to find her birth parents. What she discovers is horrific, and sets the plot in motion since this is all discovered in the first few pages. This is a thriller, but it's more psychological than action-packed. Sara's own emotional issues and responses are probably the most fascinating draw of the book as she finds herself trapped without any real escape. There are shocking twists along the way, and while the book really isn't a mystery it is an exciting ride to go on. It's hard to put down, and really doesn't take long to read if you sit down over a couple days and really immerse yourself in the story and characters. For myself, I found it fascinating to see the family relationships play out, especially the biological similarties Sara starts to notice after a while between herself, her birth father, and her daughter. People who come from interesting family backgrounds (particularly those with difficult parents) would probably enjoy this, as would those who enjoy the thriller genre
i won this from Goodreads First reads. i did not want to put this book down. i almost finished it in one night. and would have too if it wasn't midnight and of having to get up early for work in the morning. The book is set up in sessions with the protagonist (Sara's) therapist. which i loved it put a new twist on novels. this book was intense, nail biting and left me speechless. Sara is adopted and decides to try and locate her birth parents. She has luck with finding her mother, but she doesn't want to talk. In fact she wants nothing to do with her. Sara soon finds out that her birth father is a serial killer the "Campsite Killer" and Sara's mother being the only survivor.What is Sara to do now? She has a killers blood running through her veins. Sara already has so much going on, a wedding to plan a daughter to raise and now to help catch a killer. Will Sara pull through and be able to survive it all?i can't spoil anymore it's too good of a book to spoil. It left me breathless and speechless. and i know it will haunt me for days
In Never Knowing, Sara's quest to find her birth parents turns her life into a nightmare. As with Ms. Stevens' first book, Still Missing, I was unable to put Never Knowing down. I wouldn't be surprised if Never Knowing becomes on of the summer's biggest bestsellers.
Story OverviewSara Gallagher has always felt like she didn¿t belong in her family. Although her adoptive but fragile mother loves her, she feels that her adoptive father always withheld his love and approval, especially when her parents are able to conceive two biological children after adopting Sara. (Plus, it doesn¿t help that her relationship with one of her sisters is fraught with tension and jealousy.) As with many adopted children, she¿s always had questions about her birth parents: Who are they? Why did they give her up? As she prepares to marry her fiancee Evan, she decides the time is right to find out about her birth parents. After all, she has a legitimate reason to find out all she can about her past besides mere curiosity. Sara is the mother to 6-year-old Ally, and she wants to have all the medical background she can for herself and her daughter. When the private investigator she hires comes back with some answers for her, Sara discovers the terrible truth about her conception and her father¿opening the door to terror and horror that will force her to fight for her life and everything she holds dear.My ThoughtsAlthough this is only Chevy Steven¿s second novel, she already had a well-defined formula. Like her first book Still Missing, Never Knowing is structured as therapy sessions, with each chapter being a therapy session between Sara and her therapist. As each session unfolds, we find out a bit more of Sara¿s story and the truth about her birth parents. And, as in Still Missing, the surprises don¿t stop when you expect. Stevens has some tricks up her sleeve for the reader and keeps the adrenaline pumping even after you think the story was done.I ripped through this book in just a few days. Stevens is an expert at creating nightmare scenarios that keep her characters tight in a vise with little relief. Unlike Still Missing, Never Knowing takes place in ¿real time,¿ with the plot developing more with each session. (Still Missing was mostly recounting a story in flashback.) I¿d finish up one session and think ¿I really should go to bed now,¿ but I¿d find myself needing to know what happened next. If I had to choose, I¿d say that Still Missing was the better book, but this is worthy successor. My main complaints were that Sara spent a lot of time dithering about what to do (when what she had to do felt kind of obvious to me) and the premise felt more unbelievable than her first book. However, if you¿re looking for a fast-paced thriller with lots of psychological suspense, Never Knowing would be an excellent choice. I personally think it is the perfect book for summer reading¿just strap in and head off on a wild roller coaster ride.The book is being released on July 5th but can be pre-ordered now.
Sara Gallagher has always known she was the adopted daughter. With two sisters who were her parents natural children she often felt more like an unwanted guest than a loved daughter and has always wondered about her ¿real¿ parents and why she was given up in the first place.When she finally does decided to look for her birth parents it only take a few months for her to get a name and contact information for her birth mother.However, some rocks should not be turned over. The fist meeting with her mother does not go anything like planned, not only does her mother reject her but she seems to be afraid of Sara. Finding out why will rock the very foundation of Sara¿s life and who she thinks she is and what she thinks she carries inside of her.I found my self half way through Never Knowing before I realized it. This is one of those books that you don¿t put down. The characters slowly entwine you into the story and grab your hand to take you on the journey with them.
I of course was excited to get an ARC so I could read Never Knowing before othera...I love ARC's. This is, as Still Missing was, filled with twists and turns. The occupants fo Chevy's books are rarely perfect and I love that. I refuse to go into the plot of this book, as it would give too much away. I am going through a rough time in my own life and this book made me constantly think that I have no problems... You will pick it up and have a hard time putting it down. Great read. Keep 'um coming.
Being adopted myself, this book hit home for me. This is a book about a woman, Sara, who is adopted and has a dysfunctional relationship with her father. She dreams of finding her birth parents to see if they will be able to fill the void in her life. She finds her birth mother through a private detective and learns that she has changed her name due to the fact that she is the lone survivor of "the Campsite Killer" and got pregnant with Sara because of the attack. She gave Sara up for adoption and never wanted anything to do with her. Eventually, the Campsite Killer, John, learns that he has a daughter and he starts to call and send "gifts" to Sara. The Royal Canadian Police get involved and convince Sara to be the bait so that they can catch John. This was a good book; fast paced and realistic. I like the way she depicted relationships in this book, good and bad. Sara had very difficult decisions to make concerning her biological father - connecting with him as father/daughter, while helping the police try to capture him. This book had lots of twists and turns and always kept me guessing.
I usually don't read these types of books, but I must say I was thoroughly impressed. I recieved an ARC to review this novel a few weeks ago.So, I'll skip on giving you the rundown on the synopsis and plot because you can get that from other reviews/the description. So I'll get to my review.-It was very different, being told in "sessions" instead of chapters like other novels and took a while getting used to. (From what I understand, her other novel Still Missing is like this as well) And I thought the author did a phenomenal job.-Vivid descriptions, excellent conveying of emotions, and character development. Made you feel as though the characters were sitting in front of you, or if you were a "fly on the wall" throughout the whole story.-The storyline is just wow. So unique and so creative. not like, "Oh wow, really?" But "WOW!!, sitting on the edge of your seat, biting your nails and being in utter anticipation for what will come next wow".-I'll admit it took a while to get into, but I was glad I finally sat down and finished it today!I liked this novel very much, and can't wait for what Chevy Stevens has next! :D
Chevy Stevens, the author "Still Missing", once again delivers a huge dose of adrenaline via the written word. Sara has always known that she's adopted--her father's treatment of her reminded her each and every day. She'd thought, on and off, about researching her biological parents, but didn't act on it until a few months before her wedding. She hired a private investigator who soon turned up her mother's name. When Sara called the woman, she tersely denied ever having a daughter. But that was a lie, one protecting 30+ years of pain, shame and terror. Because it turns out that Sara is a child of rape--in fact the woman who gave birth to her was the only person to survive an attack by a famous serial killer, one who is still on the loose.Somehow, the media gets a hold of the information, and soon there is a circus of attention around Sara--a circus that her biological father notices. He begins to contact her, wanting a relationship...in fact, demanding one. Very much against her adoptive family's wishes, Sara begins to work with the Canadian version of the FBI to catch her infamous father. But at what cost?This is a thrill ride of a book, once again delving deep into psychology (once again, Steven's tells the story through a series of therapy sessions between Sara and her doctor), not the least of which deals with Sara trying to figure out if she has inherited the ability to be a killer. This book has plenty of action and plot twists and turns, right down to the last pages. It's an amazing read that will be difficult to forget.
¿Never Knowing¿ by Chevy Stevens is a gripping psychological thriller about 33 year old adopted Sara¿s search for her biological parents. Upon tracking down her birthmother, Sara is met with rejection that prompts her to hire a private investigator. Sara is horrified by what is revealed. Is it true that Sara is the offspring of the only surviving victim of a serial killer known as the Campsite Killer? Is it possible that the Campsite Killer is her birthfather? So what could be more haunting than finding out that Sara¿s father is a killer who has never been caught? Finding out that he now knows about her. Chevy Stevens takes readers on a thrilling roller-coaster ride full of twists and turns. ¿Never Knowing¿ is a very well written novel that keeps the reader flipping pages until the shocking conclusion. Maybe some things are better left never knowing. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who likes suspense.
¿Never Knowing¿ by Chevy Stevens is a book that captures the imagination of the reader and provides an outlet for Ms. Stevens to showcase her marvelous story telling abilities. I have never read a book where the author is able to hold the reader in suspense throughout the entire book without giving away the ending. Chevy Stevens is a true artist who wrote a book that anyone who reads will be unable to put down, trust me. I am now a dedicated follower of Chevy Stevens and I look forward to a lifetime of wonderful stories that echo real life and personal character background with a story that shows the true craftsmanship and dedication to entertain both the mind and soul.One of the very best novels that I have read in recent memory!
Chevy Stevens is wonderful author. this was a first reading her work. This book is awesome. I was hooked from beginning to end. A real page turner.AGAIN AN AWESOME READ. I read it in a day and a half.got this book from goodreads.
I just finished this book and I LOVED it!!