Never Speak by John Manchester Review

I was sent Never Speak by the author to read and review on my blog and while stories about cults aren't usually my prefered go-to types of stories, I really enjoyed this one. The plot was suspenseful and action packed. It grabbed my interest and I kept wanting to know what would happen next.

Through this story, the reader can learn about the psychological damages a cult can have on someone, whether it be the members of the cult or the leader himself. The story is told between the present and Ray's book narrations. I thought the author did a phenomenal job in keeping a good fluidity of the story.

The twists and turns in the story kept me engaged from beginning to end and I am looking forward to read more from this series.

My rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Ray Watts is an out-of-work artist living above his struggling gallery on the funky-chic side of Hudson, New York, and he’s just hit rock bottom. His muse has abandoned him, his girlfriend’s dumped him—and unless he pays his half of the mortgage on their house, he’s about to be homeless too.

But when Ray’s ex-wife dies in a fiery car crash, he’s suddenly reminded of the last time he hit rock bottom—of a time long ago when he and his wife were members of a cult. A cult ruled by a single, sinister commandment: NEVER SPEAK ABOUT WHAT WE DO.

Ray managed to escape the clutches of the cult’s fearsome leader, but his wife never did. And now she’s dead.

So Ray takes up with a new muse: he’ll publish a tell-all book about the old cult leader, who used to be a famous rock-and-roller, use the advance money to pay off his half of the mortgage, and all his problems will be solved.

Unless that brick through his window was more than a random act of vandalism. Unless that burnt effigy was more than a practical joke. Unless the phrase NEVER SPEAK held more power than Ray realized—and that by writing his little exposé, he’s slowly bringing his troubling past back to life…one word at a time.
Happy reading,

This was a very original and creative story! I thoroughly enjoyed this story, particularly how the story was told. The story about the Cult and the Cult Leader, Karl, is told through Ray’s novel. It was interesting to read Ray’s point of view about the events that happened in the cult. Especially, why he originally joined the cult, why he stayed and how he got out. During the story, you could definitely tell that Ray struggled between the love of his former cult-leader but also the hate he had for him. I was really intrigued to know what happened and where was Karl now?

Cult stories are always fascinating to me! It actually kind of scares me to read and hear stories about people who lived or are currently living a similar (ish) situation and what psychosocial and physical damages they are enduring. It’s all very crazy to me.

In terms of characters, I really loved Bodine’s character, Ray’s friend, he seemed extremely interesting and mysterious! Also, I want to know more about Jo, Ray’s friend from the coffee shop near Ray’s house. I would be interested in reading more about their dynamic.

It was at times very disturbing and dark, but I liked it! It started out being slow, but it picked up near the end, which was a very satisfying ending in my book.

Thank you to John Manchester for providing me with an electronic ARC of this book. As usual, my reviews are my honest and unbiased opinions.

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