What do you get when you mix the genres academic thriller and dark academia with a main character who’s a psychopath and proud of it? A standout debut psychological thriller called Never Saw Me Coming.
“Will Bachman drinks too much and hangs out with people who don’t look after him.Vera Kurian
Will Bachman has made some mistakes.
Will Bachman has sixty days to live.”
Chloe Sevre is hunting Will Bachman, determined to end his life for what he did to her when she was twelve. For this very purpose, she has changed her name, run field tests on date-rape drugs, and followed him to his place of study. How does Chloe get a full-ride to Washington D.C.’s Adams University? As part of a clinical psyche study on psychopathy. Yup, that’s right, Chloe is a psychopath, and she’s not the only psychopath at Adams.
So, Chloe is hunting Will. But there’s also a killer hunting the psychopaths at Adams. To say that the plot moves at a brisk pace would be an understatement. The plot is electric.
Politician son Charles (aka Terrible Charles; an old nickname) is another Adams university student and study participant. There’s some sexual tension between Chloe and Charles, but Charles has a girlfriend and plans to behave. Really, Charles is the poster child of the study — a psychopathy subject who has notably changed and learned to control his impulses.
Chloe… well, Chloe’s impulse control is virtually nonexistent. This is not ideal when her plan to kill Will Bachman hinges on a carefully curated timeline. After all, she’s not planning to go to prison. And you really shouldn’t poke a hornet’s nest, if that hornet’s nest is a killer who’s out to get you.
Never Saw Me Coming offers readers a puzzle box of a plot, with multiple points of view that keep readers guessing right until the spectacular (and unexpected) finale. The level of detail and authenticity (Vera Kurian has a doctorate in social psychology) is incredible. This is an unbeatable psychological thriller that (like Shiver and Falling) feels super authentic because the author’s knowledge of the subject matter makes it so. Chloe is a deftly executed, unlikable character and an unreliable narrator (psychopaths lie, so Chloe lies). Will she survive the limitations of her trope (as heroed by Gone Girl), which dictates that unlikable female characters (unlike men *barfs*) may not survive the finale? Well, you must read to find out.
A standout debut.
Book: Never Saw Me Coming
Published: Harvill Seeker
Publication Date: September 7th, 2021
Penguin Random House kindly sent me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion, rating, or the content of my review.