Never Saw Me Coming by Vera Kurian
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Published: 9th September (Vintage)
It’s her first day at college, but Chloe Sevre isn’t nervous at all. She has a plan. Get rid of Mom, take the best room before her dorm-mate arrives, make 6-8 new friends before 4pm, and find Will. If you’re thinking ‘how sweet’, she must be looking for her boyfriend, you’re dead wrong. Will’s days are numbered (literally, the book includes a countdown), because the main reason Chloe came to John Adams University is to kill him. And she doesn’t plan on giving up till it’s done…
Chloe is a psychopath. Ostensibly, that’s what got her to John Adams, part of a clinical study aimed at understanding and perhaps even re-wiring the thinking of diagnosed psychopaths. And she’s more than happy to take the free ride in exchange for a few stupid experiments and some mood logs. But what’s really important to her is finding Will Bachman, a fellow student and someone who did her serious wrong in the past.
Unfortunately for her, a series of untimely deaths quickly ruin her best laid murder plans and she finds herself on the hit list of a shadowy killer. All of a sudden, she’s in a fight to be the worst of the worst…
‘Who was this person, and who the fuck did they think they were, standing between me and a goal I’d been working toward since I was twelve? How long had they been working on their stupid plan?’
Chloe’s voice is the biggest draw of the novel, her matter of fact narration illustrating how comfortable she is with herself and her choices. It’s part of her psychopathy, of course, but it’s disturbingly appealing. She has zero concerns about about using her looks or skills to get what she wants, by fair means or foul. Despite her clearly stated determination to murder someone (who deserves it anyway btw), she’s not scary, she’s just … efficient.
Offing Will is simply another thing on her tick list, same as maintaining her 4.0 grade average. While murder is currently at the top of her to-do, you can imagine her happily moving on to the next thing once it’s completed- and giving that just as much attention. Between planning murder and avoiding getting murdered herself, she’s maintaining friendships, attending classes, handing in all her coursework, and investigating the other psychopaths in the programme. Honestly, I was more than a little impressed by her work ethic. As a narrator, she’s unreliable as hell, but the author has made her too fascinating to dismiss. She’s snarky and hilarious. And I don’t just mean a few quips here and there, the book is laugh out loud funny in parts. It has the kind of self-aware, laugh along with me commentary that ensures we know it doesn’t take itself too seriously.
‘Is it slutty to be messaging one boy when you are on the way to meet another? Maybe not if you’re planning on killing one of them’.
The ending hints at the possibility of more and believe me when I say, I’M ALL FOR IT. This book was perfectly pitched and pure fun. Highly recommended.
ARC via Netgalley