Still Missing by Chevy Stevens
St. Martin's Press, July 2010
Hardcover, 352 pages
St. Martin's Press, July 2010
Hardcover, 352 pages
very highly recommended
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.
Still Missing, Chevy Stevens debut novel, is an intense psychological thriller set on Vancouver Island. The novel focuses on Annie, a realtor who is abducted from an open house and held captive for a year by a sadistic, controlling "freak". The book is written in the first person and the chapters are each a session number that Annie has with her therapist. In the novel she is trying to tell what happened to her and come to terms with her life now, after the abduction.
The fact that Annie survives is no secret, or she wouldn't be discussing her ordeal with a therapist. Her brutal treatment at the hands of her abductor is only half of the book. The rest of it deals with Annie trying to understand her experience and searching for answers as to why this happened to her. Annie's emotions and experiences were raw, and they are expressed and described with brutal honesty. You will understand the depth of the psychological damage Annie is struggling to overcome.
Once the sessions reach the present day, there were several completely unexpected plot twists. I will admit that at times Annie's language and the violence against her seemed excessive, but once I was really entrenched in Still Missing (pretty quickly) I could see where it served to explain Annie's current need for control - and to appear tough.
This is a very fast-paced novel and really was a nail-biting page-turner. There were a few things that I felt were unrealistic and maybe stretched credibility a bit too far (no spoilers), but in the end I was anxiously turning the pages to see what happened next, which is perhaps the best recommendation. If you like tense thrillers and can handle some gruesome scenes, you will likely appreciate Still Missing.
Very Highly Recommended
You know, Doc, you're not the first shrink I've seen since I got back. opening
And while we're getting s**t straight here, let's lay down some ground rules before we start this joyride. If we're going to do this, it's going to be done my way. That means no questions from you. Not even one sneaky little, "How did you feel when..." I'll tell the story from the beginning, and when I'm interested in hearing what you have to say, I'll let you know.
Oh, and in case you were wondering? No, I wasn't always such a bitch. pg. 2-3
Everything seemed to be happening in slow motion. I could feel the gun grinding into my spine as he used it to push me forward. pg. 9
Before we wrap this session up, Doc, I think it's only fair I fill you in on something - if I'm going to climb aboard the no-bulls**t train, I should ride it to the end of the line. When I said I was screwed up, I actually meant royally f***ed. The I-sleep-in-my-closet-every-night kind of f***ed. pg. 14
There was no way I could protect myself, and no way out. I needed to prepare for the worst, but I didn't even know what the worst might be. pg. 21
If I unleash everything that's inside me, will I go floating down the river with it? Well, for now I think I'm going to go home and have a hot shower. And after that, I'll probably have another one. pg. 37
"The cleaning fluid will be locked up at all times and you'll never be allowed to handle hot water or any utensils I feel are unsafe. After you're done with your cleaning duties, I expect you to finish your personal grooming. Your fingernails, which are a mess, must be perfect, and I'll file them for you. Your feet should be soft and your toenails painted. Women should have long hair, so I'll rub conditioner in yours to help it grow faster. You won't be wearing any makeup.
"Our day will start at seven A.M., lunch is at twelve sharp, and afternoons will be spent studying any books I require you to learn. I'll inspect your chores at five, dinner will be at seven, and after dinner you'll clean up again and then read to me. After reading hour, I'll bathe you, then it's lights out at ten o'clock." pg. 41-42