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Always Watching: A Novel Hardcover – June 18, 2013

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition / First Printing edition (June 18, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312595697
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312595692
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (204 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #321,225 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Stevens hit it big, both critically and commercially, with Still Missing (2010); Never Knowing (2011) sold well, too, but failed to live up to the promise of its predecessor. Her latest is also disappointing, lacking both the emotional punch and gripping action of Still Missing. Following a couple of traumatic experiences, widowed Canadian psychiatrist Nadine Lavoie relocates to Victoria, B.C., hoping not only for a fresh start but also for an opportunity to reconnect with her estranged twentysomething daughter, Lisa, rumored to be living on the streets somewhere in the city. Just about the time she’s beginning to feel comfortable in her new job, Nadine is called in to treat clinically depressed, suicidal Heather Simeon. As Nadine tries to help the suffering woman, she learns that Heather and her husband recently left their home in the River of Spiritual Light Center, a commune run by the notorious Aaron Quinn. Nadine has her own connection to Quinn, having lived on the commune with her mother and older brother when she was a teenager. Deciding her personal connection to Quinn won’t compromise her patient’s recovery, Nadine proceeds with her treatment, but she finds confusing memories of her own year in the commune surfacing. Sounding too often like a lecture on the evils of communal living, the plot drags, and even Nadine’s laudable determination to redress the evils and mistakes of the past can’t push this beyond prosaic. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Following two best-sellers, Stevens has an established track record; the quality is slipping, but the 150,000-copy first printing of her latest suggests that her publisher will keep pushing. --Stephanie Zvirin


"In ALWAYS WATCHING, Chevy Stevens begins with a shivery premise --- a family ensnared by a religious cult led by a madman. Stevens lights that fuse and lets it burn all the way to an explosive ending. A chilling, compelling read." – William Landay, author of DEFENDING JACOB

"ALWAYS WATCHING is a riveting examination of the power of childhood secrets over our past and our present selves.  I couldn't put it down." - Alafair Burke, author of IF YOU WERE HERE

"Chevy Stevens is in top form. ALWAYS WATCHING is a tense and twisty exploration of dark memories, hidden pasts, and a place that seems like heaven but might be hell. This is a deep and exciting novel, as unsettling as it is gripping." --Lisa Unger, author of HEARTBROKEN

“Haunting and harrowing, ALWAYS WATCHING is a stunner, offering not only consuming suspense but also a moving tale of mothers and daughters, the lingering echoes of the past that never stop reverberating.” – Megan Abbott, author of DARE ME 

“A fantastic, heart-pounding thriller that pulls you in from the first page.  I loved it!” – Lisa Jackson, author of YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW

"ALWAYS WATCHING grabbed me from page one. Its story of power, murder, and family secrets is seductive and sinister. Dr. Nadine Lavoie is a tenacious, compassionate heroine." - Meg Gardiner, author of RANSOM RIVER

“Taut and riveting, ALWAYS WATCHING follows the fault line between a person’s past and present — and the terror and turmoil that can pull a life apart when they collide with the force of an earthquake. Chevy Stevens’ suspenseful, twisted story kept me up late into the night, frantically turning pages with white-knuckled fingers.” – Hilary Davidson, author of THE NEXT ONE TO FALL

“Chevy Stevens intelligently and relentlessly pulls the reader deeper into a nightmarish world while compelling you to read just one more page…” – Rosamund Lupton, author of SISTER

“A harrowing tale of manipulation that got under my skin by the end of the first chapter…”  -- Linwood Barclay, author of TRUST YOUR EYES


Customer Reviews

It seemed to drag on a little too much.
I couldn't really connect with the main character, and the plot was not particularly suspenseful and was somewhat predictable, as were the characters.
Kathy S.
Just like her other books, it will keep you on the edge of your seat until the last page.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Bookphile TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
After reading Stevens' first two novels back to back, I was eagerly awaiting this one. All three of her works are more psychological suspense than they are necessarily thrillers, but the previous two books also had a sense of imminent danger that kept me on the edge of my seat. I didn't have the same experience with this book. I thought it was a pretty good book, but it didn't reach out and grab me in the same way the other two did. Some spoilers to follow.

Part of what tempered my enjoyment of this book was my inability to connect with Nadine as I did with the characters in the previous books. I don't know if this is because Nadine comes across as colder than the other two, or if it's because this book lacks a sense of present danger. I think it was probably a combination of both. It's not that Nadine is unlikeable, it's that I thought she was rather bland as a character. I was sympathetic to what she had gone through, but it didn't affect me in the visceral way that the situations of the characters in Stevens's previous two novels did.

Another thing that detracted from the novel is that I think it's a little predictable. I could see where it was going long before Nadine got there, and that killed the suspense of the revelation. I know the flashbacks were told in small snippets because they were meant to show how they interrupted Nadine's life, and how her recollections came in small flashes, but I think it would have been better had the novel been told in alternating chapters, one set in the present and the next set in the past. I didn't get enough of a feel for the commune where Nadine lived, which is a shame because it's a premise that might have really filled me with dread, had it been done differently.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Judith E. Jaffe on June 22, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Since I loved Ms. Stevens' debut novel Still Missing, I felt let down by this book. The story itself was good, but I found it somehow laborious to read. It gave me the sense of reading a report, rather than reading a novel.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Julie Merilatt VINE VOICE on May 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I loved the device that Chevy used in her previous books: troubled patients speaking to their psychiatrist about the devastating circumstances that changed their lives. Now the shrink, Dr. Nadine Lavoie, is the subject of Chevy's latest book and it proves that everyone has their demons. A chance encounter with a suicidal patient unleashes Nadine's repressed memories, and she explores the origin of these mental images hoping to find the cause of her own debilitating claustrophobia. As memories come flooding back, she reaches out to people from her past, specifically during a summer of her childhood spent on a commune with a charismatic leader, Aaron. Despite Nadine's best efforts to have him charged for the abuses he subjected her to, Aaron uses his influence to scare her into submission. But Nadine is not easily deterred by threats, especially when her addict daughter Lisa becomes Aaron's newest target. As she struggles to come to terms with the horrific things that occurred on the commune, the danger escalates and the dramatic conclusion forces everyone to come to terms with the atrocities Aaron committed. There was some crazy and disturbing stuff going on here, but the fast-paced story was too intense to put down.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By shelfishness on June 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover
In Always Watching, Dr. Nadine Lavoie works in a psychiatric hospital in Victoria, B.C. where she moved after losing her husband to cancer and her daughter to drugs on the street. Although Nadine is confident and capable, she is caught off guard when a patient, Heather, is brought in after a suicide attempt. Heather, a beautiful young woman who recently left a commune and experienced a miscarriage, captures Nadine's attention.

After deep conversations with Heather, it becomes obvious that the commune which she fled from is the second iteration of a commune that Nadine's mom had brought her to as a child. Nadine never fully recovered from the methods used at the commune, and has had intense claustrophobia since that time, so when Heather begins to explain her concerns and fears about leaving the commune, Nadine's interest is piqued. After a tragic event involving Heather, Nadine becomes determined to unravel her own feelings and secrets from the past, but quickly realizes that she may be in over her head. Nadine realizes that there may be a connection between the commune that Heather just left and hear early childhood trauma, centering around the charismatic and demanding leader, Aaron, and she is forced to push back her fears to save her daughter and herself.

Nadine is a character who is both hard to like and incredibly relatable; she is brilliant and foolish. Although Chevy Stevens wrote Always Watching to be a compelling read, and it may keep you up at night, it is also is easy to get frustrated with Nadine and view her as selfish. The only moment that it could be classified as a "thriller" comes toward the end, but then Stevens seems to take ages to wrap up the wtory. Always Watching is a good story and is original in that it blends some hard-to-tackle themes into a suspenseful story. Plus, having been to Vancouver Island, it was wonderful to see the local flair throughout the story. Ultimately, though, I would wait for the paperback version.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Pink Amy on June 18, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Dr Nadine Lavoie has helped her patients through their share of psychiatric problems. Too bad she isn't as good at handling her own problems. Her drug-addicted daughter Lisa lives on the streets. She barely speaks to her only living relative, her brother Robbie. Except for a few friends, she's very much alone.
Now working at a psych hospital Nadine meets Heather, a suicidal woman who happens to have lived in the same cult Nadine did as a child. What secrets from the cult are buried within Nadine's mind?
ALWAYS WATCHING lacked the tension of Steven's other novels, STILL MISSING and NEVER KNOWING. While I cared about Nadine, her character wasn't fettered out as it could have been. Most of all, there was too much "telling" and not enough "showing" to give the same level of tension in the previous books. There was also too much back story, I think I was 100 pages into the book before anything happened.
I prefer the format of her previous books, as therapy sessions with Nadine. Nadine wasn't a strong enough character, and the story about the cult was too convoluted to draw me in.
I like Chevy Stevens enough to give her 3 stars, but only because of the previous 2 books.
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More About the Author

CHEVY STEVENS grew up on a ranch on Vancouver Island and still lives on the island with her husband and daughter. When she's not working on her next book, she's camping and canoeing with her family in the local mountains. Her debut novel, STILL MISSING, won the International Thriller Writers Award for Best First Novel. Please visit her at

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