It can really mess up the American dream if you smash your girlfriend’s head with a big rock. Danny Pine is currently residing at the Fishkill Correctional Facility for precisely this reason. However, his family steadfastly believes in his innocence and has been fighting for his exoneration for years. Meanwhile, Danny’s estranged brother, Matt, receives terrible news: all their relatives on a Mexican vacation died in an accident. As time passes, the circumstances become increasingly suspicious. Matt decides to uncover the truth… Despite the dramatic setup in “Every Last Fear” Alex Finlay surprisingly crafts a family-friendly thriller.
The writing style of “All Your Fears” is quite unremarkable, lacking any distinctive features. Countless books with similarly subdued quality are published daily. However, Alex Finlay successfully overcomes this by structuring the novel effectively. Alongside Matt’s private investigation, you get the reminiscences of other Pine family members, leading up to the tragic conclusion.
FBI agent Sarah Keller, investigating the case, also gets dedicated chapters. So “All Your Fears” meanders through various paths, providing UNEXPECTED twists at each turn. Introducing new turns, possible suspects, and clever tricks, these sophisticated maneuvers significantly enhance the enjoyment of the thriller.
The unpredictability of Alex Finlay’s book manages to conceal the fact that the main characters of “Every Last Fear” the Pine family members, are not very well-developed. Matt, the most thoroughly introduced among them, is a true-blue average American citizen, and that’s about it.
However, it’s effortless to identify with all of them. The family-friendly label at the beginning of this review was not accidental. Finley’s thriller paints the picture of of an ordinary and supportive family, even in times of trouble – while flashing glimpses of sketchy portraits of everyday America along the way.
Family relationships receive significant emphasis – somewhat unnecessarily – in the case of Agent Keller too, who turns out to be the best-developed character in the book. (And by the end of “Every Last Fear”she slowly becomes an honorary family member.)
The impact of the book largely relies on knowing what will happen, creating a growing unease as you watch the pages of the book decrease. This oppressive feeling is particularly noticeable when reading Maggie’s chapters. Maggie, Matt Pine’s sister, is the perfect opposite of contemporary TikTok-expert teenagers: dedicated, smart, and kind, the ideal little sister in every respect.
When the inevitable conclusion arrives, Alex Finlay orchestrates it so elegantly and gently that one of the unexpected lessons of “All Your Fears” becomes immediately apparent: Finlay is undoubtedly among the most family-friendly American authors! Such scenes can only be written by genuinely KIND-HEARTED thriller authors!
Another key lesson of the book is this: don’t pursue a career as a hitman if you have a distinctive feature. Especially on your face.
Speaking of my dear Aunt Manci: her voice is hoarse from smoking, and by old age, an ugly mole had settled on her parchment-like face. Just for this reason, I wouldn’t advise her to become a hired gun!
As for Aunt Manci: the old lady – as a true crime enthusiast – figured out who was behind the events about halfway through the book. So, you too can figure it out, and from that point on, the remaining part of the book won’t be as much of an experience.
The conclusion of “All Your Fears” is the weakest component of the book. In a thriller, shocking twists, heightened excitement, some action, etc., are usually beneficial at this point. Well, all of this is missing from this book; the ending is notably formulaic and lifeless.
Alex Finlay’s book “All Your Fears” is a thriller that can be read confidently by those who don’t like to be overly thrilled.
Every Last Fear by Alex Finlay
368 pages, Hardcover
Published 2021 by Minotaur Books