Judith D Collins
Never Coming Home
Publication Date: 05/24/2021
My Rating: 5 Stars
MAY AUTHOR QA
"A diabolical tour de force."
—P.J. Vernon, author of Bath Haus
"Impossible to stop reading.”
—Samantha Downing, USA Today bestselling author of For Your Own Good
“Don’t miss this propulsive, hypnotic thrill ride.”
—Lisa Unger, New York Times bestselling author of Last Girl Ghosted
First comes love. Then comes murder.
Lucas Forester didn’t hate his wife. Michelle was brilliant, sophisticated and beautiful. Sure, she had extravagant spending habits, that petty attitude, a total disregard for anyone below her status. But she also had a lot to offer. Most notably: wealth that only the one percent could comprehend.
For years, Lucas has been honing a flawless plan to inherit Michelle’s fortune. Unfortunately, it involves taking a hit out on her.
Every track is covered, no trace left behind, and now Lucas plays the grieving husband so well he deserves an award. But when a shocking photo and cryptic note show up on his doorstep, Lucas goes from hunter to prey.
Someone is on to him. And they’re closing in.
Told with dark wit and a sharply feminist sensibility, Never Coming Home is a terrifying tale of duplicity that will have you side-eyeing your spouse as you dash to the breathtaking end.
Buy the Book
Available in e-book, paperback, audiobook, and audio CD
Audiobook narrated by Alex Wyndham | Harlequin Audio
About the Author
Hannah Mary McKinnon was born in the UK, grew up in Switzerland, and moved to Canada in 2010. After a long and successful career in recruitment, she left the corporate world in favor of writing. Her first novel, TIME AFTER TIME (a lighthearted rom-com) was published in June 2016 after which she moved over to the dark side of suspense with the following thriller novels:
THE NEIGHBORS (3/18), HER SECRET SON in (5/19), SISTER DEAR, (5/20) and YOU WILL REMEMBER ME (5/21). Her upcoming novel thriller NEVER COMING HOME (5/24) and available for pre-order now. Hannah is also the creator and co-host with fellow crime Author Hank Phillippi Ryan of the bi-weekly popular show, First Chapter Fun. Join Hank and Hannah every Tuesday and Thursday at 12.30pm LIVE on First Chapter Fun’s Facebook Group or Instagram Live to hear the first chapter of a different book. Visit www.firstchapterfun.com. What new book will YOU discover? She resides in Oakville, Ontario, with her husband and three sons.
Connect with the Author
Website Twitter Facebook Instagram Amazon Goodreads Book Bub First Chapter Fun
Hannah Mary McKinnon Books
Q&A Elevator Ride with bestselling author and co-host of First Chapter Fun Hannah Mary McKinnon
"Behind the Book and the Author" #AuthorElevatorSeries
Exceptional Authors. Standout Books. Elevator Talk.
INTRIGUING QUESTIONS. INQUIRING READERS WANT TO KNOW
We are super excited to have you join us today for a fun elevator ride. This is the third time appearing on our #AuthorElevatorSeries and always a pleasure! Congratulations on your sixth novel and the creation of the "best villain" of the year. We cannot wait to catch up with you, and your latest psychological thriller hit, NEVER COMING HOME.
HMM: Thank you so much, Judith. It's such a pleasure to be back!
Q. Before we get into the novel, tell us more about First Chapter Fun, your popular weekly show, all the amazing videos, books, guests, and more!
HMM: Back in March 2020, when Covid first hit Canada, I was in a Messenger chat with a group of authors, discussing how we could help promote one another and give our books a boost. I half-jokingly offered to read the first chapter of their novels on Facebook and Instagram, and within a few days I had over 40 daily readings lined up and launched First Chapter Fun. I read for 53 days in a row (didn’t think the “must do hair and make-up” thing through very well), introducing viewers to a new novel and author each day.
In May 2020, I teamed up with my partner-in-fictional-crime, powerhouse crime author Hank Phillippi Ryan. We created a new Facebook Group www.facebook.com/groups/firstchapterfun and www.instagram.com/firstchapterfun. We read twice a week, every Tuesday and Thursday (the days with a “T) on both platforms simultaneously at 12.30 pm ET, and often have giveaways. All the previously aired episodes are saved and can be viewed at leisure. It’s a wonderful community where we share the love of books and introduce new and/or new-to-you authors twice a week. Our goal is to keep your “to be read” pile completely out-of-control and, or so we’ve been told, we’re succeeding. Hank and I have also become great friends and talk all the time, something for which I’ll be eternally grateful.
Now, let’s dive into NEVER COMING HOME. The novel would make for a killer TV series or movie.
HMM: Thank you so much! I'd love for that to happen.
Q. Describe NEVER COMING HOME in three words or less.
HMM: Twisted, surprising, funny.
Q. INSPIRATION: The spark that ignited the novel? Where were you when the idea came to you?
HMM: Instead of a news article or a radio segment, which is typically where the inspiration for my books comes from, for Never Coming Home the character appeared first. I wanted to write about someone who was evil, despicable, but also relatable on some levels, and definitely funny—and whose enemies were even worse. Cue Lucas and Bobby Boyle. The story evolved from there, so it was very much character driven, and writing from the antagonist’s point of view was an entirely new experience. I had so much fun, and thoroughly enjoyed crafting another novel entirely from a man’s perspective.
While I probably shouldn’t admit to this, despite his many flaws, I enjoyed spending time with Lucas because I found him hilarious. I wrote the book during the second half of 2020, so this was very much a pandemic project. My mum passed away that summer, so I needed a place to escape to when everything felt so bleak. I think that’s why this book is my funniest. I needed something to make me laugh.
Q. RESEARCH: Any fascinating research for the novel, or anything you learned along the way?
HMM: Oh, yes, and I bet I’m flagged by more than one government agency with my search history. For Never Coming Home one strange element was figuring out what Drano does to a corpse (spoiler alert: it’s not pretty), the generalities of hiring a hitman on the dark web, as well as technical aspects of spyware on cell phones. Like I said: flagged!
Q. POV: We love Lucas! (witty, evil, and funny) How was writing from his POV and getting into his mind?
HMM: Oh, I’m so pleased because I love Lucas, too. He was hilarious and it was so refreshing to be fully immersed in the mind of a killer, to see everything from his perspective and try to have him justify everything he did. His character formed in an instant, and the plot came together fast, too. I wrote this novel more quickly than any of my others and it was such a joy to work on from start to finish. I kept telling my husband, “It’s going well, too well, it’s all going to collapse.” But it didn’t. Because of this I fully expect my next ten novels to repeatedly kick me in the crotch.
Q. How was writing during the pandemic?
HMM: It was difficult at first until I limited my news consumption to thirty minutes a day because I couldn’t cope with more. Because of Covid, traveling to Switzerland to see my mum before she passed, and be with my dad and sister was impossible, and so I was forced to say goodbye from thousands of miles away. A gut-wrenching, guilt-inducing experience if there ever was one.
During all this, the book community and working on Never Coming Home kept me sane. It gave me a place to hide, somewhere to try to escape from my grief and a space where I could take out my frustrations and despair on my characters when I couldn’t get away otherwise. In many ways this is my darkest book to date, but it’s also my funniest. Lucas is a despicable character, yet he made me laugh, which was exactly what I needed when everything else felt so hopeless.
Q. PLOT: What a complex and multi-layered plot! How in the world do you keep all the parts organized when writing?
HMM: I’m an avid plotter, extremely well organized and take lots of notes as I go along. Plus I think about my book all the time when I’m in the editing stages and will often be cooking, in the shower or even sleeping when something pops into my head that I need to change.
Q. DID YOU KNOW? Name 1-5 things that readers may not know about the book.
One of my favorite tertiary characters in the novel is Heinz. I think he should have a story of his own.
Lucas works in IT recruitment, an industry I spent 15 years in.
I decided to add Bobby Boyle’s non-swearing quirk because he had such a filthy mouth.
Lucas and I share the same birthplace (I swear that’s where the similarities end!).
My dear friend and fellow crime author Hank Phillippi Ryan has a cameo!
Q. UPCOMING: Can you share what you are currently working or what is next in ten words or less or fewer?
HMM: An anger management therapy exercise gone wrong (coming 2023).
Q. Is there anything else you would like to add that we have not covered today?
HMM: I’m always happy to join your virtual book clubs! All you need to do is ask.
Now, more fun!
"Behind-the-Author" with Hannah
FAVORITE THING ABOUT WHERE YOU RESIDE?
The fact it gave me the opportunity to become an author.
Raclette, sparkling water
YOUR FAVORITE LIFE LESSON QUOTE?
Making mistakes is better than faking perfection.
IF YOU WERE STUCK IN AN ELEVATOR ALONE WITH ONE CELEBRITY, AUTHOR, OR CHARACTER— WHO WOULD IT BE? (Male or Female)
Josh from Her Secret Son so I can apologize for the hell I put him through and make sure he’s okay.
FAVORITE HOLIDAY OR SEASON?
Christmas Eve is my absolute favorite.
YOUR SECRET TALENT?
Singing. No, I’m joking! I read The Gruffalo really well.
FAVORITE READING FORMAT?
All of ‘em!
FAVORITE TV SERIES? (Or Movie/Video) binge-watch, series, etc.?
The Goldbergs makes me laugh.
IF YOU WERE GRANTED 3 MONTHS OF UNINTERRUPTED WRITING TIME—WHERE WOULD IT BE?
A Quiet Scenic Mountain Cabin surrounded by nature
WHEN YOU RECEIVE A SPARK OF INSPIRATION FOR A BOOK:
1. Do you immediately get out of bed or stop what you are doing and start typing? Totally immersed
2. Make a few quick notes on a pad or device?
3. Save it for later when you are at your desk or office during your regular working hours?
YOUR FAVORITE PLACE TO WRITE?
In my garden.
WHAT BOOK IS CURRENTLY ON YOUR NIGHTSTAND OR READING LIST OR BOOK YOU WOULD RECOMMEND?
Things We Do in the Dark by Jennifer Hillier
DESCRIBE ONE THING ON YOUR DESK, CURRENTLY?
A pitcher of water.
DO YOU LISTEN TO MUSIC WHILE WRITING?
No way, it distracts me.
YOUR FAVORITE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM? (Or would you prefer none of them)?
I enjoy Instagram and Facebook the most.
A FAVORITE CHARACTER FROM ONE OF YOUR BOOKS?
Lucas from Never Coming Home
YOU WOULDN'T BE CAUGHT DEAD, WHERE?
In a swimsuit in public.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
NAME A TRAIT YOU INHERITED FROM YOUR DAD OR MOM?
WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT? (Excluding computer, tablet, phone)
WHAT DO YOU LOVE TO COOK OR A FAVORITE RECIPE?
YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT BEING A MOM?
Watching our sons become fantastic young men.
THE BEST PART OF YOUR DAY?
Watching a movie with my husband and sons in the evening
A FAVORITE INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORE?
A Different Drummer in Burlington, Ontario
THE LAST BOOK YOU RAVED ABOUT?
The House Guest by Hank Phillippi Ryan
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE REMEMBERED FOR?
Thank you, Hannah for spending time with us today!
HMM: Thank you, Judith. It's been a pleasure. Same again next year? 🙂
OF COURSE! Cannot wait.
Readers: Check the previous interviews with Hannah, my glowing 5-star review (Top books of 2022) and advance praise (below). Be sure and pick up a copy of NEVER COMING HOME and post your review on your favorite social media platform and retail sites. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
Fiendishly clever and deeply chilling, Never Coming Home is psychological suspense of the first order. With dark wit, searing prose, and a plot that twists like a strangling vine, McKinnon will lure you in and hold you breathless until the final page. Don’t miss this propulsive, hypnotic thrill ride.”
—Lisa Unger, New York Times bestselling author of Last Girl Ghosted
“Hannah Mary McKinnon is back with another sit up and read until the small hours of the morning thriller. Never Coming Home is an eerie, first-person portrayal of a deliciously charming psychopath who finally meets his match. Told with pitch-perfect pacing and unrelenting tension, McKinnon explores the darkest corners of the human heart in this highly entertaining, bone-chilling must read.”
—Heather Gudenkauf, New York Times bestselling author of The Weight of Silence and The Overnight Guest
"A diabolical tour de force, Never Coming Home redefines domestic noir and lures readers into a scheming viper den sure to push any moral compass to the brink. Exquisite tension, fearlessly drawn characters, and sharp-as-knives prose make for an unforgettable thriller that will both terrify and implicate you. Guilty people might have plenty to fear, but nobody stress-tests the human heart quite like Hannah Mary McKinnon."
—P.J. Vernon, author of Bath Haus
“Hannah Mary McKinnon is the queen of dark thrillers! Never Coming Home captivates, horrifies…and it will make you laugh. Impossible to stop reading until you get to the final page.”
—Samantha Downing, USA Today bestselling author of For Your Own Good
“Deliciously dark and deviously funny, Never Coming Home by Hannah Mary McKinnon is one hell of a ride. Lucas Forester might just be the most enjoyable, deceptive character I’ve ever met. Absolutely brilliant. McKinnon’s best book yet.”
—Jennifer Hillier, award-winning author of Jar of Hearts and Little Secrets
“I'm a huge fan of Hannah Mary McKinnon's books so I was beyond delighted to receive an early copy of Never Coming Home . This was such a clever, witty, dark, and unsettling book and hugely addictive. My emotions were all over the place and I don't know what this says about me, but I was rooting for Lucas at times even when I knew I shouldn't! A brilliantly tense, unsettling, and entertaining read, with clever characterisation and real depth. Readers are in for such a huge treat!”
—Karen Hamilton, internationally bestselling author of The Ex-Husband
“McKinnon clearly had a blast devising this tale of revenge and comeuppance, and the reader benefits from this creepy glee. Fans of The Talented Mr. Ripley will devour this well-written, engrossing story.”
— J.T. Ellison, New York Times bestselling author of Her Dark Lies
“There's no crime writer more wickedly diabolical than the brilliantly clever Hannah Mary McKinnon. Never Coming Home—risky and dark and absolutely unique—made me hide under the covers and then laugh out loud. But it's more than a page-turning thriller—McKinnon's sophisticated storytelling combined with a masterclass in voice means this one is not to be missed. (And warning: you will never look at your spouse the same way.) Hannah Mary McKinnon has done it again: she's the modern queen of twisty suspense!”
—Hank Phillippi Ryan USA Today bestselling author of Her Perfect Life
“McKinnon cranks things up a notch in her latest, darkly comedic suspense, Never Coming Home. A missing wife, a determined detective, and the dazzlingly devious husband who stands to inherit a fortune. Wry and clever, with a main character you'll love to hate and an ending that will leave you cackling, this is one live wire of a story. Absolutely unmissable!”
—Kimberly Belle, internationally bestselling author of My Darling Husband
"A deliciously twisted page-turner that brings you on a mind grappling journey with an ending you won't see coming."
—Steena Holmes, New York Times & USA TODAY bestselling author
“Tense, twisty, and totally unputdownable, Hannah Mary McKinnon’s brilliant page-turner enthralls from its unnerving start right through to its mind-blowing climax.”
—Heather Chavez, author of Blood Will Tell
“A fun, slick read, Never Coming Home is one of Hannah Mary McKinnon’s best!”
—Georgina Cross, bestselling author of The Stepdaughter, Nanny Needed, and The Missing Woman
"Devious, incredibly clever, and darkly funny, Never Coming Home is an addictive, page-turning thriller. Lucas Forester is magnetic, sympathetic, and so compelling that you literally want him to get away with murder. Hannah Mary McKinnon writes with expert twists, flawless pacing, and remarkable character development in a knock-out novel with superior sleight-of-hand. It will make you both laugh and gasp out loud."
—Samantha M. Bailey, USA TODAY and #1 national bestselling author of Woman on the Edge
"Hannah Mary McKinnon's Never Coming Home is her darkest, most deliciously funny, and most suspenseful novel yet. It features a protagonist who is simultaneously fascinating and horrifying, and the pages will fly by as you read on to see what fate has in store for him. This book leaves a stinging mark on its characters--and its readers. You won't soon forget it."
—David Bell, USA TODAY bestselling author of Kill All Your Darlings
“Schemes and bribery abound in this uproariously entertaining and darkly fun thriller. Lucas Forester has the audacity to hire a hit on his wealthy wife, setting off a string of riotous mayhem and deception. Never have I laughed so hard reading a thriller. And never have I wanted the bad guy to win so badly. Satire and humor are not easy to craft, but Hannah Mary McKinnon does so brilliantly in Never Coming Home that you fly through the pages because you can’t wait to read what stupendously outrageous thing Lucas will do next."
—Kerry Lonsdale, Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author of Last Summer and No More Words
“Never Coming Home is a delightful foray into the mind of a witty, charming psychopath. With relentless pacing, dark humour, and startling twists, readers will be torn between wanting to continue the journey or discover its shocking conclusion.”
—Robyn Harding, Internationally bestselling author of The Perfect Family
“A clever, riveting psychological thriller. Hannah Mary McKinnon delivers a witty, dark and totally absorbing edge-of-your-seat novel, that is sure to leave you breathless, shocked and shouting from the side-lines.”
—Adele Parks, #1 Sunday Times bestselling author of Both of You
"A bold and original thriller, with a narrator you’ll love to hate. I tore through it.”
—Clare Mackintosh, internationally bestselling author of Hostage
Diabolical. Darkly wicked. Witty and Clever!
Hannah Mary McKinnon delivers a brilliant mind-bending page-turner thriller told from the POV of the antagonist, Lucas Forester. From his perfectly devised master plan to gain the fortune he desperately needs to the spiral downfall when someone outsmarts him.
NEVER COMING HOME is highly entertaining and addictive. Lucas gets my vote for the villain of the year; however, you almost feel sorry for him. Well, sometimes.
Lucas grew up in England, had a poor childhood, and took care of his dad. He has met a rich woman and they have moved to the US. They are married. Of course, she has no idea who he really is. But he fools her and the family (or so he thinks).
He has already taken care of her dad when he came too close to learning his real identity. Now, he needs more money to take care of his own dad in a home in the UK, so it is time to hire an assassin to kill off his wife.
He is smart with carefully laid plans. He has confirmation the job has been accomplished and she is never coming home. Now, he plays the grieving husband with the missing wife.
In the meantime, he is even taking care of her drug addict little brother and playing nice to his mother-in-law who has cancer. He is set to make millions. He must be patient.
However, there is a kink in his plans. Someone knows what he did. Who? Strange things began happening. How will this unfold?
A laugh-out-loud cat and mouse game of deceit. Is his wife still alive, the little brother playing with him, or is the hitman blackmailing him for more money?
What a fun roller coaster ride! Gosh, Lucas has two sides. One soft side is taking care of his elderly dad and taking in his rescue dog, Roger. He is wickedly funny, and you cannot help sympathizing with him. However, he has a dark evil side.
The author does a bang-up job of getting inside his head. Her best yet and deliciously addictive. For psychological thriller lovers and fans of Kaira Rouda! A wonderful character study, with a fun cast of characters! If you enjoy true crime, get this one on your list. Lucas is better than "The Thing About Pam"!
Darkly funny, scandalous, and utterly satisfying.
@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
Pub Date: May 24, 2022