January 23, 2011

Still Missing

Still Missing by Chevy Stevens
2010 St. Martin’s Press
Finished 12/24/10
Rating: 4.5/5 (Terrific!)
FTC Disclosure: Received ARC from publisher via Shelf Awareness

Product Description

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!


  1. I've read other reviews of this book along with seeing it in the stores. It does sound like a great thriller, one I might like. I am glad you enjoyed it, Lesley. Thanks for your great review.

  2. This sounds like a book that would keep me up late at night, and I mean that in a good way!

  3. Literary Feline - I have yet to see a negative review for this debut. Hope you get a chance to read it. Thanks for stopping by! It's been far too long since I've visited your blog. Gonna fix that right now!

    Kathy - Most definitely!!

  4. This was a weird read for me because I felt like such a voyeur while reading this! I wanted to know but not know at the same time what her fate would be. So creepy!

    I'm curious what her next book will be like.

  5. Iliana - It was quite voyeuristic, wasn't it? And, yes, very creepy! I read a little bit about her new book on her website. Looks like it could be good, too.

  6. Definitely one that I've had my eye on for a while; I will need to download to my Nook Color!

  7. I absolutely loved this one too!! It was amazing..and the ending..Wow!! I can't wait for her next book!

  8. I'm so happy to see you loved this one as much as I did! I can't wait to see what else she comes up with.

    Thanks for the link. :) Unfortunately I don't remember what scene I was referring to.

  9. It sounds interesting but I have a problem with gruesome and/or brutal violence. I'll see if I can find it at the library to look at - sometimes I have to see the first few pages to know if I want to read it or not. Thanks for reviewing it though, I didn't know about it before!

  10. Coffee and a Book Chick - Sounds like a good idea. Don't you just love your NOOK?!

    Staci - I need to head over and read your review! I'm anxious for her next book, too.

    Joy - You're welcome. I'll email you about the scene...

    Susan - I think you might want to pass on this one, if you have trouble reading about violence. It has one very disturbing scene.

  11. Sounds like a very suspenseful read! Certainly lots of good recommendations!

  12. Jenclair - And I'll bet it gets more publicity/attention once it's out in paperback. It sure was good.

  13. Oh, this sounds like a skipster for me. I've got an ARC but I'd put it off because I was worried about it. I'm prone to horrific nightmares when I read anything violent. And, actually, the book I reviewed today had that problem with everything being internal. I prefer to lots of interaction/dialogue. Too much narrative puts me to sleep.

  14. Nancy - If you're prone to nightmares, I definitely skip this one! I found myself thinking about the characters far too much and I'm surprised I didn't have a nightmare or two.

  15. I am prone to nightmares. When I read Alaska Bear Tales I dreamed a mama bear knocked me over and ripped me right open, down the middle. I woke up shaking. Not fun. I asked SuziQ her thoughts, just because she's pretty good at guessing whether or not a book will be "too much" for me. I have a feeling she'll tell me to skip it, too.

  16. This has been on my wish list for a while. Moving it up to the top!

  17. Pam - I loaned my ARC out to a friend, but if you like, I can send it to you when she returns it. Let me know.

  18. Thanks for including my thoughts here. I totally agree with your sense of liking it despite a few quibbles. I'll be watching for future work from Stevens. And yes - Bookfool definitely needs to skip this one!

  19. SuziQ - You're welcome! I'm really looking forward to her next book.


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