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Alex Finlay / Book Review / Reviews with Spoilers

Alex Finlay | Every Last Fear

every last fear alex finlay

The Book: 

Every Last Fear by Alex Finlay, 2021

The Characters: 

Matt Pine
His parents, Evan and Liv, and siblings Tommy and Maggie, who all die at the beginning of the book
His brother Danny, who is in prison
Sarah Keller, the investigating FBI agent

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Plot (from Goodreads):

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.

Click here for book spoilers for Every Last Fear
Book spoilers ahead–if you haven’t yet read Every Last Fear, I suggest you turn back now.

The Twist: 

Tommy wasn’t Evan’s son. Liv had an affair with her high school sweetheart Noah. Evan knew, since he was unable to donate blood to Tommy during a medical emergency. 

Danny did not kill Charlotte. His friend Kyle had been wearing his jacket that night, and Matt had only seen Danny’s name on the jacket, not his face. Kyle and Charlotte had fought, and Charlotte had hit her head. Kyle called his father Noah to help him (the same Noah who Liv had an affair with. Ironically, Noah was with Liv that night). 

Charlotte had been having an affair with Noah as well, and she had gotten pregnant. She told Kyle she was pregnant with his father’s kid–that was what their fight was about. When Noah arrived to help Kyle hide her body, she was barely alive. Noah crushed her skull in the style of The Smasher, trying to blame the notorious serial killer for her death. He didn’t mean for the blame to fall on Tommy. 

When Evan and Maggie got too close to the truth, Noah hired a hitman to clean up after them. He had only meant for Evan to die, but Maggie had gotten a picture of the hitman and it all got out of hand. They entire family was killed to keep Noah’s secret hidden, but a childhood friend of Matt’s helped him figure out the truth. 

The Ending:

Noah goes to jail. Danny is exonerated, and Matt’s amazing friends help him deal with his family’s deaths.

The Review: 

There has been a ton of hype regarding Every Last Fear, and I certainly think the story lived up to it. The writing was intriguing and pulled me in from the first few chapters. 

This plot was pretty unique–definitely not like anything else I have read recently. The pages turned quickly, and I finished this one in just over a day. I’d recommend clearing your schedule before starting Every Last Fear, because you are not going to want to put it down!

I loved the characters, including the secondary characters which often get overlooked in fast paced books. Matt’s group of college friends particularly stood out, given how caring and considerate they were in the wake of his tragedy. Maggie was brilliant, and Evan’s love for and belief in his son despite all odds gave the story a very wholesome ring. I did think Danny’s character was overlooked a little bit–for being such an important part of the Pine family’s story, he only got one chapter from his POV which wasn’t really important to the storyline. 

I was able to guess the ending despite the many red herrings, but I didn’t think it was painfully obvious. As a reader, I am either disappointed when the ending of a thriller is too easy to guess, or I feel clever if I am able to guess an ending that is well thought out and comes together seamlessly. In this case, it was the latter. I found the ending to be very satisfying and made sense within the nature of the crime. 

Overall, Every Last Fear is the definition of what I like to see in a thriller. An intriguing writing style, compelling characters, a fast-paced plot, and a unique premise. This is definitely one to add to your 2021 wishlist!

Every Last Fear will be available on March 22, 2021. Thank you to BookishFirst and Minotaur Press for providing me with an early release copy in exchange for an honest review!

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December 10, 2020 at 2:07 am

March 2021, OMG, the wait is going to KILL ME! I love the premise of this, and I’m so excited it actually lives up to the goodness in the blurb!

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