Title: Still Missing
Author: Chevy Stevens
Synopsis (Courtesy of Powell’s Books): “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 as the captive of 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.”
Thoughts: Some novels take their time in setting up the plot and in building the suspense. Still Missing is not one of those novels. Rather, from the very first paragraph, the reader knows that s/he is in for one emotional roller coaster of a novel, and what a ride it is. Tautly written, Ms. Stevens is able to create the right balance of tension and emotion into a story that leaves the reader on the very edge of one’s seat through the very end.
Annie’s voice is perfect. Her tough exterior, as demonstrated through her monologue to her psychiatrist, is not as thick as it initially appears, yet it is what causes the reader to sit up and take notice of this unique protagonist. The initial lack of emotion is the first clue to the horrors behind Annie’s story. However, once cracks appear in that tough veneer, Still Missing takes on a life of its own. As Annie struggles with her emotions and trying to find some semblance of normalcy in a life that has been so awfully destroyed, the reader struggles right along with her. A connection forms between Annie and the reader to the point where it becomes all to easy to place oneself in Annie’s shoes, to experience what she experienced, to feel her terror and her pain. It makes for one uncomfortable but unforgettable reading experience.
For those who have read Emma Donoghue’s Room and wondered what the story would have been like if told from Ma’s point of view, Still Missing could loosely be that novel. This is not to say that they are the same story. Each novel is fabulous on its own and deserve its own attention, but there are certain similarities between the two novels that cause the reader to immediately compare the two.
Still Missing is one of those novels that gives a female reader pause if reading it while sitting alone in a house. It causes chills, thrills, tears, laughter, and more. Uncomfortably stark in her story telling, Annie is a character that takes hold of the reader and does not let go until long after one finishes the novel. Still Missing is an amazing debut novel and a welcome addition to the thriller/suspense genre.
Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for my review copy.