Tuesday, February 23, 2021

ARC Review: Every Last Fear by Alex Finlay

Every Last Fear

Alex Finlay
Publication: Minotaur Books; 1st edition (March 2, 2021)

Description: In one of the year’s most anticipated debut psychological thrillers, a family made infamous by a true crime documentary is found dead, leaving their surviving son to uncover the truth about their final days.

“They found the bodies on a Tuesday.” So begins this twisty and breathtaking novel that traces the fate of the Pine family, a thriller that will both leave you on the edge of your seat and move you to tears.

After a late night of partying, NYU student Matt Pine returns to his dorm room to devastating news: nearly his entire family―his mom, his dad, his little brother and sister―have been found dead from an apparent gas leak while vacationing in Mexico. The local police claim it was an accident, but the FBI and State Department seem far less certain―and they won’t tell Matt why.

The tragedy makes headlines everywhere because this isn’t the first time the Pine family has been thrust into the media spotlight. Matt’s older brother, Danny―currently serving a life sentence for the murder of his teenage girlfriend Charlotte―was the subject of a viral true crime documentary suggesting that Danny was wrongfully convicted. Though the country has rallied behind Danny, Matt holds a secret about his brother that he’s never told anyone: the night Charlotte was killed Matt saw something that makes him believe his brother is guilty of the crime.

When Matt returns to his small hometown to bury his parents and siblings, he’s faced with a hostile community that was villainized by the documentary, a frenzied media, and memories he’d hoped to leave behind forever. Now, as the deaths in Mexico appear increasingly suspicious and connected to Danny’s case, Matt must unearth the truth behind the crime that sent his brother to prison―putting his own life in peril―and forcing him to confront his every last fear.

Told through multiple points-of-view and alternating between past and present, Alex Finlay's Every Last Fear is not only a page-turning thriller, it’s also a poignant story about a family managing heartbreak and tragedy, and living through a fame they never wanted.

My Thoughts: This massively engaging thriller tells the story of a family torn apart when their teenage son is accused of murdering his girlfriend, railroaded into a false confession, and imprisoned for life. 

The story begins with death when the bodies of Evan Pine, his wife Liv, his teenage daughter Maggie, and six-year-old son Tommy are found in a rental house in Tulum, Mexico. Special Agent Sarah Keller is tasked with notifying Matt Pine who is a senior at NYC studying filmmaking that his whole family - excepting his imprisoned brother Danny - is dead. 

Matt had been estranged from his father for some months because he couldn't deal with his father's obsession with trying to follow every clue and tap every source to prove that Danny wasn't the murderer. Danny's case had become Evan's preoccupation to the point that he had even lost his job.

Sarah Keller gets involved because her specialty is financial crimes and Evan was recently fired from a firm that is suspected of having ties to the Sinaloa Cartel. Sarah wanted to interview him about her case. 

The story is also told in flashbacks from multiple points of view. While Matt and Sarah's sections are told in the present, we also see Evan, Liv, and Maggie's points of view in the time leading up to their deaths. Also interspersed through the story are excerpts from the documentary that publicized Danny's case and, while it brought attention and offers of help for Danny, it made it impossible for the family to continue living in their Nebraska small town because of harassment from other locals. 

The tension builds and builds as the clues to what really happened the night Danny was supposed to 
have murdered his girlfriend Charlotte and what someone will do to cover up the crime are gradually revealed to the reader. 

I loved getting to know the characters and learning all the backstory. I couldn't put the book down.

Favorite Quote:
You have two choices when you're confronted with your every last fear.

Give up or fight like hell.

And I'm going to fight until my last breath for Danny, for Liv, for Matt, for Maggie, for Tommy–for Charlotte–to uncover the truth.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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