Book Review: Never Saw Me Coming by Vera Kurian
This is one of those books where it’s not easy to find someone to root for - because pretty much all the characters are psychopaths. Literally. We spend most time in the point of view of Chloe Sevre, a college student who’s on a full ride scholarship, as long as she allows a psychology professor and his staff to study her at the same time, because Chloe is a diagnosed psychopath. Thing is that lots of people are clinically psychopaths… but only a few of them actually commit crimes. Since we’re in Chloe’s point of view, we know from the outset that she fully intends to commit a crime. To commit murder, exacting vengeance for a terrible crime committed against her years before. Chloe knows she’s one of seven in the study… and then two of the others are gruesomely murdered.
Andre is another student in the study - but Andre has a secret. He’s faking it. And now he’s in too deep to back out, because free college tuition? Who can afford to turn that down, especially if you’re a Black kid from NorthEastern DC.
Charles could afford it - he’s the quintessential trust fund brat, but being in the study is just a good way to poke one in the eye to his father. And Charles is learning. He’s been in three years and has a steady girlfriend; he’s learning to fit in with the ‘normals’. Now the murders - and the off-the-rails Chloe - might be about to mess everything up.
I was really, genuinely fascinated by this book. Andre is probably the most sympathetic character because he does actually feel empathy, but we don’t get all that much time in his point of view. Most of it is in Chloe’s, and she’s riveting, with her rage and her poor impulse control and her determination to wreak vengeance.
The problem is that the villain of the story is introduced too late. I won’t give away who it is, but we barely met them before the actual story climax. We didn’t get any insights into their character, and honestly, I feel like it would have been quite easy to do it with a nameless point of view coming in occasionally - it’s not like the chapters were headed with whose PoV we were even in. And because the killer comes in so late, it feels like a bit of a deus ex machina, which is why I’m afraid I have to knock off a star. I really liked the concept, was riveted by Chloe in particular, but the climax felt underdone because we’d been cheated of the villain. Four stars.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.