Foxy Bibliophile – September 8, 2017

I picked up a title off the shelf at Walmart earlier this summer, intrigued by the cover and the title. Author Chevy Stevens was heretofore unknown to me, but she’s found a 1-FWz30au0G2Sp7vw2ezdzUQplace on my bookshelf for sure.

Now the author of seven novels, Canadian writer Stevens is on my list of writers to follow.

After her debut title took the International Thriller Writers Award for Best First Novel, I know I’m not alone.

Stevens weaves stories that will keep you up worrying about things that go bump in the night…

Book titles are linked to Amazon. No spoilers are ahead:

THOSE GIRLS by Chevy Stevens, St. Martin’s Griffin, NY. 2015. 374 pages.

Three teenage sisters trying to get by after their mother passes away. Add an alcoholic, often absent-father who only turns up to beat his daughters down. Stir in the threat of51B5FzNaZaL._UY250_.jpg foster-care, then step back and wait for the explosion.

Terrified, the sisters go on the run. But they go from the frying pan into the fire when they trust the wrong guys in a two-bit town after their truck breaks down.

Stevens skillfully weaves their story from the past into the present when, as adults, they still band together and nurse the scars of the evil that damaged them that one summer long ago.

And now the youngest sister, the narrator of the tale, has a teen daughter of her own, and the powder keg is only now getting set to blow their past never-ending nightmare into their lives once more.

Only this time evil is playing for keeps.

If you are the kind of person who will object to reading about strong but young female protagonists who smoke, drink, cuss, steal, and blaze an occasional joint, then don’t go near this book.

If you recoil at the thought of one of the sisters being a bit of a slut, then this title isn’t for you.

If you are a squeamish reader who cannot read about the brutal victimization of those girls, then find yourself a nice, safe historical. Something light, like Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert or  The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins or Lolita  by Vladimir Nobokov. Sorry, my bad. 

Stevens handles the graphic scenes with a deft hand–giving the reader just enough to understand what is going on behind the “bedroom door.” The details and descriptions are not smutty or gratuitous.

The principle characters are well developed and the antagonists are not cookie-cutter bad guys, although you will love to hate them. They put the turds in bastards.

I highly recommend THOSE GIRLS to anyone, male or female, looking for a suspenseful, satisfying read.

Up next, also by Chevy Stevens is her latest book:

NEVER LET YOU GO by Chevy Stevens, St. Martin’s Press, New York, 2017. 416 pages. 

This is a tight thriller about a young marriage plagued by a man’s abuse of his young, docile, pretty wife, who is also the mother of their young daughter, Sophie.

I’ve read a lot of books about these types of marriages–some good, some so-so, and some pretty bad. 517dwKKfK9L._UY250_

This is one of the good ones.

The narrative jumps back and forth between the marriage as it hit the rocks eleven years ago with a resounding smash-and-grab, and the present day. Husband Andrew is sent to jail and Lindsey escapes into the night with her daughter to rebuild a life.

Cue to present day, and Sophie is a purple-haired, artsy high school senior, mom Lindsey runs a small cleaning business, and Andrew is released from jail.

All of the ingredients are mixed and shaken with explosive consequences for all.

Again, Chevy Stevens crafts characters the reader cares about and her pacing is spot-on. This is a suspenseful read with plenty of twists and turns. The prose is straightforward. This woman can tell a mean story.

If you are looking for a new contender in the domestic-suspense arena, check out NEVER LET YOU GO. The title and ending are not what you think…

Thanks for stopping by!


Susan J. Anderson

Foxy Writer Chick

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