Always Watching

Stevens, Chevy

Book - 2013
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
Always Watching
Psychiatrist Nadine Lavoie has a true desire to help people put their demons at rest. But she has demons of her own, some she can barely think about and some she can't even remember. In the lockdown ward of a psychiatric hospital, she is in her element. She has the tools to help people, and she has the desire--healing broken families is what she lives for. But Nadine doesn't want to look too closely at her own past, because there are whole chunks of her life that are black holes. It takes all her willpower to tamp down her recurrent claustrophobia, and her daughter, Lisa, is a runaway who has been on the streets for seven years. When a distraught woman, Heather Simeon, is brought into the Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit after a suicide attempt, Nadine gently coaxes her story out of her--and learns of some troubling parallels with her own life. Digging deeper, Nadine is forced to confront her traumatic childhood, and the damage that began when she and her brother were brought by their mother to a remote commune on Vancouver Island. What happened to Nadine? Why was their family destroyed? And why does the name Aaron Quinn, the group's leader, bring complex feelings of terror to Nadine even today? And then, the unthinkable happens, and Nadine realizes that danger is closer to home than she ever imagined. She has no choice but to face what terrifies her the most ... and fight back. Sometimes you can leave the past, but you can never escape.

Publisher: New York :, St. Martin's Press,, 2013.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 0312595697
Characteristics: 340 pages ;,25 cm


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Jul 16, 2014
  • InvernessS rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

First time I've read this author & parts were engaging, but overall, not.

Jun 19, 2014
  • CryMSanchez rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I loved this book. It was interesting from being to end. Love how she writes, giving enough detail to form a picture, without overkill. This book made me want to read more of her work. *Spoiler* There was some talk about child molestation. I wasn't prepared for. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes suspense.

Jun 18, 2014
  • SuzeParker rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

The book cover promised that Always Watching would be "chilling," "harrowing," "twisty" and a "heart-pounding thriller." It wasn't.

Protagonist Nadine is a psychiatrist, but rarely converses productively with other characters in the book, as a psychiatrist would be trained to do. It also seems highly unlikely that the therapy Nadine underwent years before in an attempt to deal with her debilitating claustrophobia never got to the root of that issue, yet a suicidal patient's connection to a commune (read: cult) where Nadine spent time as a youth suddenly begins resurfacing memories buried for decades.

Couple that with the fact that, in her recent books, Chevy Stevens hasn't recaptured the tension and creepiness she achieved in "Still Missing." Her writing seems dumbed-down and less well-thought-out than it was in her debut novel.

All that said, the "Always Watching" story line is interesting, and if you can look past the book's obvious problems, it's a decent read. I just didn't find the book to be particularly "compelling" (another of the words reviewers used to describe it).

Jun 15, 2014
  • MillieBT rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

this novel reads like a rollercoaster slow in the beginning but takes off and you just go for the and ....downs....will be reading more of this author

May 12, 2014
  • Cdnbookworm rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This novel is the third by Stevens, loosely linked to her earlier two. Here, the main character is Nadine Lavoie, the psychiatrist that worked with the characters in the first two novels. Nadine has had a difficult life, and has recently moved to Victoria for a couple of reasons. One is that her daughter Lisa is living on the streets in Victoria, and Nadine hopes to find her and mend their relationship. The other is that she needs to be part of a team rather than work in private practice and she has joined with a local hospital.
When a young suicidal woman is brought in and assigned to Nadine, old memories are awakened. The woman, Heather, has recently lost her baby, and blames herself. Heather and her husband Daniel had been part of a secluded community, The River of Life Spiritual Centre, but Heather had insisted on them leaving so that she could feel in control of her own family. Now she feels, along with pressure from others, that this is what caused her loss.
The old memories that Nadine has also have to do with the community, or an earlier iteration of it. When Nadine was thirteen, her mother took her and her older brother to the commune run by Aaron Quinn. At first things seemed to go well, but then the commune and Aaron became more controlling. Nadine has fears that she has never understood the origin of, but has a sense they came from her time at the commune.
As Nadine begins to dig deeper into what happened in her own past, she also awakens the concerns of those in the present and may have put herself and others in danger. Lisa, struggling with her own issues of abuse, finally reveals her secrets to Nadine, but is it too late to make things right between them and heal?
There is lots going on here, and issues of control, abuse, and trust are key to this story.

Aug 21, 2013
  • Klimo1 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I enjoy reading books by Canadian authors and I look forward to reading the first two books that Chevy Stevens has written.

Other than her use of "manic depression" instead of the more current and correct bi-polar, I felt that the author did a fine job with this novel.

Dr. Lavoie was a very believable character, and the theme of "childhood sexual abuse being wiped from her memory due to past trauma" was very relevant! Dr. Lavoie was also a very strong character.

Jul 09, 2013
  • ehbooklover rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A frightening and disturbing edge-of-your-seat thriller that I couldn’t stop reading despite the rapidly waning light during a very long power failure.


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