That Night by Chevy Stevens

Book Description:

Published: March 1, 2010

Format: Audio/OverDrive

They said she was a murderer.

They said she killed her sister.

But they lied.

As a teenager, Toni Murphy had a life full of typical adolescent complications: a boyfriend she adored, a younger sister she couldn’t relate to, a strained relationship with her parents, and classmates who seemed hell-bent on making her life miserable. Things weren’t easy, but Toni could never have predicted how horrific they would become until her younger sister was brutally murdered one summer night.

Toni and her boyfriend, Ryan, were convicted of the murder and sent to prison.

Now thirty-four, Toni is out on parole and back in her hometown, struggling to adjust to a new life on the outside. Prison changed her, hardened her, and she’s doing everything in her power to avoid violating her parole and going back. This means having absolutely no contact  with Ryan, avoiding fellow parolees looking to pick fights, and steering clear of trouble in all its forms. But nothing is making that easy—not Ryan, who is convinced he can figure out the truth; not her mother, who doubts Toni’s innocence; and certainly not the group of women who made Toni’s life hell in high school and may have darker secrets than anyone realizes. No matter how hard she tries, ignoring her old life to start a new one is impossible. Before Toni can truly move on, she must risk everything to find out what really happened that night.

But the truth might be the most terrifying thing of all.

Review –

“In the town of Campbell River, Toni has a rough home life; she can’t wait for high school graduation to escape her mother’s angry disapproval.

Ryan’s home is worse, his father an alcoholic abuser.

Together, however, Toni and Ryan make the broken pieces fit. In school, Toni runs afoul of mean girls Shauna, Rachel, Kim and Cathy, who harass her and spread ugly rumors. Toni has an escape planned—a post-graduation apartment with Ryan—but then her younger sister, Nicole, her mother’s favorite, joins Shauna’s clique and starts dabbling in booze and boys and harassing Toni. It seems like kid stuff, until Nicole is bludgeoned to death.

Toni and Ryan immediately become suspects; they’re convicted of murder and sent to prison. Stevens’ masterful plot spins into evil with “teen girls turning on each other, the viciousness and pack mentality that can arise.” She writes from Toni’s point of view, shifting easily between past and present while delving into family tensions before the murder, then prison life, then back to Campbell River after Toni’s parole. Entirely believable, Toni evolves from a misunderstood, resentful and frightened teenager into an intelligent yet closed-off woman tempered by 15 years in prison.

The writing is crisp and the dialogue realistic as Toni speculates about possible suspects and motives, knowing all the while that finding the killer may reveal one of Campbell River’s ugliest secrets. Tension cranks to the breaking point when Cathy, now a drug-addled misfit, is murdered. Ryan and Toni become suspects again, but they realize it’s a sign that the conspiracy that jailed them has fractured.” Kirkus Review 

 

Not my favorite of Chevy Stevens books, but still a good read.

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Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens

Book Description:

Published: March 14, 2017

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Eleven years ago, Lindsey Nash escaped into the night with her young daughter and left an abusive relationship. Her ex-husband, Andrew, was sent to jail and Lindsey started over with a new life.

Now, Lindsey is older and wiser, with her own business and a teenage daughter who needs her more than ever. When Andrew is finally released from prison, Lindsey believes she has cut all ties and left the past behind her. But she gets the sense that someone is watching her, tracking her every move. Her new boyfriend is threatened. Her home is invaded, and her daughter is shadowed. Lindsey is convinced it’s her ex-husband, even though he claims he’s a different person. But has he really changed? Is the one who wants her dead closer to home than she thought?

Review –

Never Let You Go is a book that brings the reader up close and personal to the inner workings of an abusive relationship. I was truly sickened by the ways Andrew manipulates Lindsey. In flashbacks to their relationship, Stevens doesn’t shy away from showing readers the many ways that Andrew threatened Lindsey into submission. The book isn’t too violent – there is a lot of  instances of emotional and verbal abuse depicted also. Sometimes it was difficult to read a few of these scenes, but it also served to make me even more invested in Lindsey’s wellbeing. I wanted her and her daughter to finally be free of Andrew so badly. Of course, Stevens has a number of tricks up her sleeve, and Lindsey and her daughter have a twisty path to travel in pursuit of that freedom. 

This book is structured in three parts: part one gives readers flashbacks on Lindsey and Andrew’s relationship, alternating between different years in their marriage, allowing readers to see the progression of the violence and control that Andrew exercised over Lindsey. Part two brings readers into the present day, as Lindsey and her daughter try to live their lives alongside Andrew’s release from prison. Part three fast-forwards a few months, showing the reader what has become of Lindsey and her daughter. I loved this plot structure—I found that it gave me a 360-degree view of the lasting effects of an abusive relationship, both on its victims and its perpetrators.

I absolutely loved the plot twists that this story does have, but I kept going back and forth on the “who”— I certainly never saw the “why” coming. I was completely shocked when the final ball drops, and readers realize what’s really going on in Lindsey’s life. Even if you do predict all of the big reveal, I don’t believe it would take away from your enjoyment of the book. This book really isn’t about plot twists, it’s an intimate glimpse into the darkest secrets of its characters, and no amount of plot twist-guessing will take that away from the reader.

It’s a chilling read and one that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Loved it!

Still Missing by Chevy Stevens

Book Description:

Published: July 6, 2010

On the day she was abducted, Annie O’Sullivan, a 32-year-old realtor, had three goals—sell a house, forget about a recent argument with her mother, and be on time for dinner with her ever-patient boyfriend. The open house is slow, but when her last visitor pulls up in a van as she’s about to leave, Annie thinks it just might be her lucky day after all.

Still Missing interweaves the year Annie spent as the captive of a psychopath in a remote mountain cabin, which unfold through sessions with her psychiatrist, with a second narrative following the events after her escape—her struggle to piece her shattered life back together and the ongoing police investigation into the identity of her captor.

Still Missing is a shocking, visceral, brutal and beautifully crafted novel.

Review –

Five-star-feedback-on-oDesk

Once I started listening to this book I found it almost impossible to stop because after reading the blurb I knew what was coming and felt edgy waiting for it to happen.

It starts out so innocently, a young realtor doing her job showing a house on a slow day, packing up her things when a van pulls up and a man with a very friendly smile asks if he can see the house. Annie, tired and ready to get home, almost says “no”, but gives in and that one decision would change her life FOREVER.

She’s kidnapped and taken to a remote cabin, hours away from her home town. There she is raped repeatedly and put on strict schedules, when and what she can eat, when she can pee, when she can bathe,what to wear etc. There is no way out of the cabin and every cabinet and door is locked. She gets pregnant, gives birth (basically all on her own) to a daughter, who the “freak”(that’s what Annie calls her kidnapper) names after his mother. In her mind and heart, Annie gives her another name, which we find out at the end.

It goes without saying that the “freak” is seriously unstable and we find out he was sexually abused as a child and that he has killed before and gotten away with it. He’s not happy that the baby is a girl and gets very upset when she cries and won’t quiet down. In his mind she is showing him disrespect. The baby catches and severe cold and he refuses to admit she’s sick and the baby dies while in his care. He takes her away and Annie never finds out what he did with her. The baby had lived one month.

There is a turning point and a surprise twist  in the story and I won’t say what they are  (you’ll have to read the book) but they are doozies and change the direction of the whole story.

Although the story does not end with a HEA, in my mind I added one last  chapter and gave Annie at least the HOPE of a future with happiness made possible for her. She deserved it.

Fantastic book!!!

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Those Girls by Chevy Stevens

Book Description:

Published: July 7, 2015

Life has never been easy for the three Campbell sisters. Jess, Courtney, and Dani live on a remote ranch in Western Canada where they work hard and try to stay out of the way of their father’s fists. One night, a fight gets out of hand and the sisters are forced to go on the run, only to get caught in an even worse nightmare when their truck breaks down in a small town. Events spiral out of control and a chance encounter with the wrong people leaves them in a horrific and desperate situation. They are left with no choice but to change their names and create new lives.

Eighteen years later, they are still trying to forget what happened that summer when one of the sisters goes missing and they are pulled back into their past.

This time there’s nowhere left to run.

As much of a thriller as it is a deep exploration of the bonds among sisters, THOSE GIRLS is an unforgettable portrait of desperation, loyalty, and evil.

Review –

Five-star-feedback-on-oDesk

This is the first book I’ve read/listened to by author, Chevy Stevens and I found it a dark journey into abuse, first at home, and then at the hands of the three boys in the small town of Cash Creek and all of this is brought about things get out of hand and the youngest of three sisters kills her abusive alcoholic father.  The girls clean up the mess and bury the body and leave, never to come back. On the way their truck breaks down in the dirty tiny town and two boys who work at a garage offer to fix it for them. The girls need to earn money to pay for the repairs so the boys tell them about a  ranch owned by their father where they could get jobs. The girls work hard and see that the boys are in no hurry to fix the truck so they become wary, but they are kidnapped, beaten, raped and held for five days in an old warehouse until they can escape.

Eighteen years later, the Campbells live under different names in Vancouver, but the past still haunts them. When Crystal, the middle sister, experiences a troubling flashback, she decides to return to Cash Creek to kill the Luxton brothers and is followed by her neice, Skylar, the baby conceived by the rape of the youngest sister. I won’t give away anything but what follows is a NAIL BITER! 
I had to stop listening for a few hours(I had the audio version) because it was dark and suspenseful and I couldn’t stand it.  My heart was almost beating out of my chest.
I highly recommend that you add this book to your TO BE READ list.
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