January 23, 2011
Still Missing by Chevy Stevens
2010 St. Martin’s Press
Rating: 4.5/5 (Terrific!)
FTC Disclosure: Received ARC from publisher via Shelf Awareness
On the day she was abducted, Annie O’Sullivan, a thirty-two-year-old realtor, had three goals: sell a house, forget about a recent argument with her mother, and be on time for dinner with her ever-patient boyfriend. The open house is slow, but when her last visitor pulls up in a van as she’s about to leave, Annie thinks it just might be her lucky day after all. Interwoven with the story of the year Annie spent captive in a remote mountain cabin — which unfolds through sessions with her psychiatrist — is a second narrative recounting the nightmare that follows her escape: her struggle to piece her shattered life back together, the ongoing police investigation into the identity of her captor, and the disturbing sense that things are far from over. The truth doesn’t always set you free. Still Missing is a shocking, visceral, brutal, and beautifully crafted debut novel about surviving the unsurvivable — and living to bear witness.
Wow. This was quite a train-wreck-of-a-thriller! Had I not been so wiped out at the end of the day (it was by far the craziest, busiest and most exhausting holiday season in my retail history!), I probably could have managed to devour this compelling debut novel in a mere two or three days, tops. Instead, it took me closer to two weeks. That said, it’s one of the most riveting psychological thrillers I’ve read in quite some time. As the suspense increased, I found myself holding my breath, anticipating the worst possible outcome. And, due to the horrific nature of one particular scene, I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue. This is definitely not for everyone, as the villain is truly one twisted individual. But, yes, I continued. And overall, I thought this was an excellent debut thriller.
My only major complaint is Stevens’ use of a narrative device in which the reader learns of Annie’s abduction (and subsequent drama) through her discussions with a therapist. This wouldn’t have annoyed me so much had the sessions not been presented only via Annie's interior monologue; not once did the author allow the therapist to speak or show any dialogue between her and Annie.
In spite of my quibble, I highly recommend this terrific book to anyone who doesn’t shy away from the (occasionally gruesome) works of Cody McFadyen, Linda Castillo, or John Sandford.
Read what other bloggers have to say:
This is Chevy Stevens debut novel and what a doozy it is! The only reason it did not receive a 5/5 from me was due to one scene. The scene was an important one, and I thought it came just too easily. Other than that - it was authentic, compelling and visceral to only name a few adjectives. (Joy, from Thoughts of Joy)
This was a very good debut by Chevy Stevens. It’s a thrilling and terrifying suspenseful story. Despite the fact that I knew Annie survived her ordeal, the suspense of her captivity was still there. Another reason the story remained suspenseful was that in addition to telling her therapist about the events of the past year, Annie is also telling the story of her continued terror and post traumatic stress. Still not knowing the identity of her abductor and why she was held captive, Annie is home but still a captive to her fears and uncertainties. (SuziQoregon, from Whimpulsive)
Be sure to click on the links to read their full reviews of Chevy Stevens' novel.
And, lastly, there’s a wonderful review here, as well as an author interview here. Enjoy!