Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Alex Finlay: Every Last Fear

In Alex Finlay debut novel readers are introduced to family that has given everything to prove the innocence of their oldest son:

The Pine family has suffered a great loss of their eldest son to the judicial system, as they all believe that Danny is innocent of the murder he was convicted for. The Pine Family, especially the Dad, Ethan Pine, has dedicated everything to proving that his son is innocent and Maggie Pine, sister, who knows how to use the internet and Social Media to get armchair detectives going. With the airing of a doc-series send the trail back into the public's eye they are sure that they are going to finally get the answers they seek. But the Pine family has more to give and their middle son Matt, the one that wanted nothing more to do with Danny's case, is about to give everything he loves for it and return to a place he never thought he would visit again.

I was really impressed with this book especially since it was was Finlay's debut (at least I think it is a debut as Alex Finlay is a pseudonym). Finlay shows a seasoned ability to weave an intricate story that will have readers on the edge of their seat from the very first pages. This was a great book, with lots of twists and turns throughout as you try to figure out two different crimes, one current and one from the past and whether or not they are linked together. I will say that for all the red herrings thrown in the book that will have you questioning many aspects of the murder and murders, I was able to figure it out quite early what kept me reading was Finlay's ability to tell a story, and of course to make sure I had it right.

I feel like this story is very Now / in this moment, with the use of a Making a Murderer style docu-series that was released in order to highlight the injustices that the Pine Family has faced and even having some of the scenes from within the movie play out in the book. I think that this modern take would really appeal to audiences even though it is something that is becoming used more often in books. However, I feel like Finlay does it in a fresh way by having the docu-series crew in the book as well, wanting to make a followup to their hit show, this changes some of the dynamics. Finlay also shows the power of social media in the book and how it can sway things, for example the FBI being put under more pressure because the President's daughter is #TeamDanny.

I felt like Matt was really well developed as a character and you feel his pain about what his family has gone through, what he is going through and his reluctance to be apart of it all until he is forced to. However, I do think that the secondary characters that could have been interesting were not well expanded on. Finlay tries a bit more Sarah, but I still feel like she isn't that fleshed out as a character. Sarah seems like such an interesting character to me, a Economic Crimes investigator who gets thrown into this new role for dubious reasons, but she just comes across as a typical FBI agent and I feel like there is more to here. Additionally, I wish there would have been more in Mexico, that story did not feel like it had fully played out and there was more there than what was let on, or maybe that was just me as I liked Carlita Escobar as a character. I just want to throw this out there but a Sarah Keller and Carlita Escobar book sounds like an amazing idea to me. I will say that I did have a problem with Matt's group as it was basically had every stereotype you could think of for a group of people of and call them the the Misfit Toys, just didn't sit well with me.

This was a great debut novel and Finlay has set the bar high for himself for the next book. I hope that the great story telling ability shown here continues on. I look forward to seeing what he comes up with next.

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