I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book in any way.
Publisher: Harvill Secker
Published: October 2021
Meet Chloe Sevre. She’s a freshman honor student, a leggings-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 smartwatches 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.
I tend to enjoy stories in an academic setting, and Never Saw Me Coming was no exception! The premise behind this is really intriguing, with seven students attending college in Washington DC being part of a clinical study for psychopaths and finding themselves tangled in a series of murders, not knowing who to trust.
I liked the story being told from multiple POVs: Chloe, Charles and Andre couldn’t be more different from each other and following the three of them was delightful. Chloe in particular, while not being always likeable, was extremely compelling as a character, and I could almost sympathise with her for wanting to kill her former childhood friend Will Bachman when her reasons for this became clear (although they were fairly easy to guess early on).
The characters were easily the best part of this as the plot was a bit thin for me. Two main plotlines are followed: Chloe’s planned murder of Will Bachman and the investigation into the murder of a student in the psychopathy programme. While both were rich with potential, having both of them run at the same time ended up thinning them out somewhat. The endings for both felt very anticlimactic when they rolled around, and at times the narrative dragged a bit, feeling as though there was a fair bit of unnecessary padding in between.
That being said, I still found this to be a very compelling book. The characters were well-rounded and interesting, and I appreciated the attempt at providing a less stereotypical view of psychopaths (even though I can’t judge how accurate this was). The plot could have used some tightening, and I could have easily done without the romance side-plot, but the whodunnit was still interesting enough with plenty of red herrings throughout.
I loved the actual writing in this, and especially all the dark humour, which worked really well. I thought this read more as an upper YA/NA in tone if not themes rather than an adult book, but I enjoy reading those as well, so I didn’t mind too much.
Overall, a perfectly enjoyable book recommended especially to anyone loving an unreliable narrator.