Eleven hours, 48 minutes can feel like a really long time so it’s no wonder I got quite tired listening. Nevertheless, Never Saw Me Coming won several awards in 2021 so maybe it was the reading which was a bit over-the-top suspense, like a female Scott Brick. Just listening becomes exhausting.
Never Saw Me Coming
by Vera Kurian (2021)
Reader: Brittany Pressley 11h 48m
Rating: A- / crime-suspense
A fictional university in Washington DC has a special program for students with psychopathic personalities*. The head of the program, Leonard Wyman, is an expert in the field conducting more research on their behavior using smart watches, interviews, and mood quizzes. There were 7 students in the program to start with that year, then two got murdered.
Chloe, the main character, is an excellent student at this somewhat second-rate university because the object of her revenge plotting is there. Andres, a black student, is there because he was unable to get admitted anywhere else. Charles, a very wealthy student, is there for his father’s sake. Emma, a kind of pathetic music student and Megan, Emma’s twin are there for the financial aid package with Megan, a non-psychopath, being a little control group of her own. The program has been going on for several years.
After the first killing Chloe starts some devious investigating on her own then Charles and Andres find out and join her. The whole idea is shaky because these students don’t trust each other in the least – and with good reason – they’re superb game-players.
It’s easy to get the characters mixed up because there are more than I mentioned. Chloe has her prey, Charles has a girlfriend and there are fraternity friends and research assistants. It’s quite solid as a twisty-plotted who-done-it with plenty of action.
The suspense is there all through the book, but when the high tension starts in, too, the narrator ratchets up the drama and it becomes quite draining. I gave it an A- rating because the narrator was just too much
*Psychopathy is characterized by diagnostic features such as superficial charm, high intelligence, poor judgment and failure to learn from experience, pathological egocentricity and incapacity for love, lack of remorse or shame, impulsivity, grandiose sense of self-worth, pathological lying, manipulative behavior, poor self-control, promiscuous sexual behavior, juvenile delinquency, and criminal versatility, among others.1,2 As a consequence of these criteria, the image of the psychopath is that of a cold, heartless, inhuman being. But do all psychopaths show a complete lack of normal emotional capacities and empathy?