adult fiction · book blogger · book review · Contemporary fiction · mystery thriller · psychological thriller · thriller

Never Saw Me Coming by Vera Kurian

Meet Chloe Sevre. She’s a freshman honor student, a legging-wearing hot girl next door, who also happens to be a psychopath. Her hobbies include yogalates, frat parties and plotting to kill Will Bachman, a childhood friend who grievously wronged her.

Chloe is one of seven students at her DC-based college who are part of an unusual clinical study for psychopaths—students like herself who lack empathy and can’t comprehend emotions like fear or guilt. The study, led by a renowned psychologist, requires them to wear smart watches that track their moods and movements.

When one of the students in the study is found murdered in the psychology building, a dangerous game of cat and mouse begins, and Chloe goes from hunter to prey. As she races to identify the killer and put her own plan into action, she’ll be forced to decide if she can trust any of her fellow psychopaths—and everybody knows you should never trust a psychopath.

Never Saw Me Coming is a compulsive, voice-driven thriller by an exciting new voice in fiction, that will keep you pinned to the page and rooting for a would-be killer.

My thoughts:

*I was sent an ARC of this novel via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review – thank you so much to Park Row for the chance to read this one prior to publication*

As soon as I read the synopsis for this book I knew I had to read it, not only because I hardly ever find books which utilise the college setting in such a way but because of how interesting the premise was. A psychology study taking place on a campus with seven diagnosed psychopaths, a series of murders and a quest for vengeance? SIGN ME UP. I am pleased to say that this pretty much lived up to my expectations, there were a few issues which I’ll touch upon later in my review but overall this was just so freaking good.

One of the novels biggest strengths is definitely the sense of suspense throughout the novel, with clever twists, reveals and misdirects which will keep you hooked. In a novel of this nature you usually can’t trust the majority of the characters but in this case, you can trust them even less considering that our main cast consists of characters have literal psychopathic tendencies. I really liked how the story developed and how Kurian intertwined Chloe’s revenge plot with the serial killer who is loose on campus and makes us suspect literally every single character.

I don’t think I’ve ever read about / through the perspective of a character quite like Chloe but I enjoyed it so much. Chloe is sharp, intelligent and unapologetically herself in all ways and is on her own personal quest for vengeance. I’m SO here for the ‘women seeking revenge on people who have wronged them’ trope and this is a firm addition to that collection.

I never expected to empathise with a character like Chloe or even Charles, because the way they experience the world and move through their lives as psychopaths is so vastly different than me but somehow it ended up happening anyway. There wasn’t this whole ‘good’ vs ‘evil’ dichotomy in the novel which is sometimes so reductive and bland, instead we get this glimpse into these very complex minds, I mean sure they have regular college kid concerns but there’s another layer here which was super interesting. They do some questionable things absolutely, but how much of it can they really be held accountable for when they operate from a completely different understanding? Like truly different? It’s strange but interesting reading.

The whole psychology aspect is central and after a little research about the author I found that she is an a scientist and has a PHD in social psychology which makes a lot of sense in terms of the more clinical parts of the novel. Dr Wyman is the psychologist who runs the study in the book, alongside his research assistant Elena. I really liked the idea of a study like this and how it’s centered around seeing if people with such disorders can change their thought patterns and behaviours, kind of like a nature vs nurture type deal.

I think this is largely due to how Kurian crafts her character perspectives so well. We have three distinct characters; Andre, Chloe and Charles who are each part of the programme and have to band together to find the killer who is after them. The dynamic between this trio was some of my favourite bits in the book, we have the simmering tension between Chloe and Charles and Andre who is kind of drawn to them but also equally wary of them for obvious reasons. They’re like the worlds most unlikely trio / scooby gang and I’m here for it.

At times it does feel like the book would have benefitted with better pacing because a lot is crammed in to the last twenty percent and earlier in the novel there are times when things could have been way more tightened up. I also think that there were certain threads in the novel which could have had less page time to enable more important or necessary moments to happen instead.

Overall, I liked how the storylines wrapped up which makes it work as a stand alone novel but also leaves the door open for a sequel. I would love to see what happens next for these characters but I’m not sure what the plot would be but I’ll leave that up to Vera Kurian if she decides to grace us with another instalment. Rest assured, I’ll definitely be on the lookout for any such news!

If you want a unique and exciting thriller to read which is genuinely unpredictable and filled with dark humour then definitely give Never Saw Me Coming a read.

Until next time,

Rums x

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