Title: Still Missing
Author: Chevy Stevens
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: July 6th, 2010
Length: 411 pages | 9 hours 7 minutes
Source: Purchased from Amazon
On the day she was abducted, Annie O’Sullivan, a 32-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 as the captive of a psychopath in a remote mountain cabin, which unfolds through sessions with her psychiatrist, is a second narrative recounting events following her escape — her struggle to piece her shattered life back together and the ongoing police investigation into the identity of her captor. Still Missing is that rare debut find – a shocking, visceral, brutal and beautifully crafted debut novel.
I can’t believe this was Chevy Stevens’ first novel. It’s incredibly suspenseful, which is amazing given it’s told in flashback/memory (so you know the MC survives her ordeal) as Annie recounts her experience to her therapist. This author has such a talent for creating and holding tension throughout the narrative, without having to resort to cheap tricks or rely on cliches.
I read this book in three days- that’s the kind of pace it has. I generally read before bed, and choosing a thriller like this and then trying to sleep…not my best idea ever. Needless to say, I really felt for Annie. Growing up, I remember the flurries of fear as one and another girl was abducted from her home in SoCal and other nearby areas. Many were never found, that I can recall. Most that had any sort of ending resulted in corpses. I believe Elizabeth Smart was the only one during that era who survived. So the fear of being abducted, held captive, mentally tortured (and physically tortured) by a psychopath….yep, definitely alive and well in my mind.
But this story is also more than just the abduction and how traumatized Annie is. It’s about the connections we make with others, it’s about family dynamics, it’s about blame and forgiveness. And none of these are handled in a way that felt disrespectful to survivors of trauma, or less than genuine. Stevens clearly did her research with survivors, law, kidnapping, and more.
I highly recommend Still Missing if you like thrillers, suspense, crime, and a realistic handling of post-trauma mental illness. Thanks go to Jennie for recommending Chevy Stevens in general, and this book in particular.