Always Watching - Chevy Stevens I really wish I could give half stars. If I could do that, I would have given this book 3.5 stars.

Note: There are teeny tiny spoilers in this review. Nothing that really matters though.

I received Always Watching from St. Martin's Press through Goodreads First Reads and I was pretty excited to get it. You see, I have a dirty secret...I love suspense novels. In fact I have read through all the Jonathan Kellerman trash that has been put out and I loved every minute of it! I think part of it is that the books always really fast paced. Another thing is that I am fascinated by crimes, especially murders. What? I'm twisted...

Anyways, in Chevy Stevens newest novel, Dr. Nadine Lavoie is forced to confront her past after a patient is brought into the psychiatric hospital where Nadine works after having attempted to commit suicide. After hearing the girls story, she learns of some parallels to her own life and a history she thought she had left far behind.

Always Watching is a great suspense novel. Can you really go wrong with a book that has murder, betrayal, secret pasts and cults? No. No you cannot. Chevy Stevens wrote an engaging story with well rounded characters. Nadine is a good lead and I felt she never struggled to carry the story. The story started out strong and didn't lag much at all (until the end, but we'll get to that).

One thing I could have done without was the romance between Nadine and Kevin. I think the only real purpose he served was to act as a sounding board for Nadine so that she didn't appear to be TOO self aware. Besides that, Chevy could have removed him completely and the story would not have been effected in the least. I also found the sex scene between Nadine and Kevin pointless. If you're going to skim over 90% of it, just leave it out.

And just a warning, there are some fairly graphic and brutal sex scenes between Nadine and Aaron (he molested her when she was younger and living in the commune). Maybe I'm just sensitive to the topic but they made me cringe. If that is something you want to steer clear of maybe don't pick this book up. Don't get me wrong, Stevens didn't glorify anything the relationship was meant to be horrible and uncomfortable, and it was.

I did appreciate that Always Watching didn't degrade into a complete and utter free-for-all at the end like a lot of suspense novels do (*cough* I'm looking at YOU Kellerman). No one ended up wearing a mask made out of other peoples skin or anything (KELLERMAN!). I don't want to ruin anything for anyone but... It annoyed me that Nadine, Robbie, Kevin AND Lisa survived while Aaron, Joseph and Daniel all got what was coming to them. It was too perfect! If Kevin HAD to be in the story Chevy could have at least brutally murdered him! I mean REALLY!

Last of all, the ending was drawn out a bit much. While I appreciate the effort put in to tying up lose ends in a way that made sense the book did seem to drag on too long. It's kind of difficult to keep interest in a story when the bodies stop piling up and there are no more explosions and guns and stuff.

All in all I really enjoyed Always Watching. It definitely isn't going to be everyone's cup of tea but it's a fun, quick read. The writing was very good and the characters were interesting and likeable. There were some issues but I was able to get past them immerse myself in the story.