Every Last Fear by Alex Finlay
- Buy the book here
- Page Count: 368
- Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
- Content Warnings (contains spoilers): Attempted sexual assault, physical assault, death of a parent, racism, mentions of pedophilia, mentions of suicide, death of a child
Note: There are moments of insensitivity regarding the language used to describe ethnicity and culture in this book. Please be considerate of this before engaging in the text.
College student Matt Pine is informed that nearly his entire family died from a gas leak while vacationing in Mexico. While the death was ruled accidental by Mexican officials, not everybody in the FBI is so sure of this. And to make make matters worse, the bodies of Matt’s family will not be released unless Matt himself makes a trip to Mexico to retrieve his late family.
Before the incident, life has already been difficult for the Pine family. Matt’s older brother Danny Pine was convicted of killing his girlfriend and now is serving a lifetime prison sentence. A recent crime documentary suggests that Danny’s conviction was wrongful, and now the Pine family is at the center of a media frenzy. Could there be any connections between Danny’s case and the deaths of the Pine family?
This story switches between many perspectives, including Matt, FBI Agent Keller, and members of Matt’s deceased family. With the short chapter style and constantly changing narrator, sometimes the book felt a little crowded with plots. Every Last Fear bounces back and fourth to before and after the death of the Pine family, and I almost wish it had chosen one or the other. Some of the POVs, particularly that of sister Maggie Pine, were very engaging. Others, namely the voices of the Pine parents, felt like fillers and diversions from the story.
Finlay moves Every Last Fear at a rapid pace. There are many locations, events, and characters to get through to unwind what really happened on those two fateful nights – the murder of Danny’s girlfriend and the death of the Pine family. This book focuses far more heavily on plot than character depth. We don’t learn much about each Pine family member beyond one singular defining trait or secret. They each want something to happen and something to stay hidden. These small secrets twist the relationships between all of the characters.
I did have a speculation of how this one was going to end, and as the worlds worst not-detective, that probably means it would be pretty obvious to full time thriller readers. Still, the story does wrap up by answering all the whodunnit questions, which leads to a satisfying end for readers. Every Last Fear calls readers to consider the implications of society’s current fixation on the genre of “true crime” media. After all, there are families and people behind these stories, and monetizing and exploring real human trauma can have far reaching implications.