It was Into the Darkest Corner which introduced me to Elizabeth Haynes. Chosen as part of Channel 4’s TV Book Club, I was intrigued and bought a copy. Since then, I’ve kept an eye on Elizabeth’s releases, and Never Alone caught my eye.
Never Alone is a book with intrigue at its core. There’s lies, secrets and interesting relationships between all characters involved, but with no actual crime taking place at the beginning. It’s a novel filled with suspense, raising questions at the start and only at the end are these answered – with an intense finale complete with a plot twist that caught me completely off-guard. Whilst I prefer books which open with a crime scene, and the rest of the novel becomes a whodunit, there were parts of this intense, twisting thriller I really enjoyed.
All characters in Never Alone are different, brilliantly described by Elizabeth, believable and work well together. Sarah as the main protagonist is an awkward, grieving woman with two dogs – also complete with their own characteristics. It’s a personality which is easy for the reader to imagine.
An aspect of the novel which took me by surprise was the fact it is somewhat erotic in parts, complete with detailed sexual imagery. At these points, it detracts from being a crime novel and moves towards erotica – a genre I don’t read at all.
That being said, the way that Never Alone is written – with the story alternating between the viewpoints of Sarah and a character named Aiden per chapter – was a clever way to tell the story. At first, Aiden’s second person narrative did confuse me, but I soon got used to it. It’s a bold move for Elizabeth Haynes to adopt this narrative style and it worked well.
On the whole, Never Alone is not your ordinary crime novel. With questions and intrigue that grips you from the start and a climatic finish, it’s a more suspenseful novel as opposed to a fast-paced thriller. Although I may prefer the latter, Elizabeth Haynes latest release is another novel which is wonderfully eery – very much like Into The Darkest Corner. If you love slow, developing stories about secrets and mysterious pasts, then this book may be right up your street.