Monday, January 23, 2012

Julie's Reviews: Still Missing

Summary: 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.

Review: I read Chevy Stevens' novels out of order, reading Never Knowing first, so I was familiar with the therapy session layout. As in Never Knowing, it works well for Still Missing. The difference is in Still Missing, Annie is recounting her story to her therapist. Her story is not an easy one to read and to relive through Annie. You feel Annie's terror as she relives her year long nightmare. What struck me about the story was that we never know Annie before the kidnapping, we learn about who she was through her eyes. Who she is now and how is she different than she used to be? Can she ever return to who she was? Any one with a limited knowledge of psychology pretty much knows that she will never be the same. She can only move forward, never backwards.  

Annie is a strong and brave woman. What she lived through and continues to live through takes a strength that not many people would be able to muster. Annie does this pretty much on her own, either by design or because she doesn't have a strong support system. Sure there's the ex-boyfriend and the high school best friend, but how can you possibly explain what you lived through for a year? How do you explain the terror, the pain, the physical and mental abuse to people who have never experienced it?

There is so much more to this book that I really can't talk about because it's the essence of the story. I wouldn't want to ruin it for you because it's that good.   

Ms. Stevens is an excellent storyteller. She reels you in immediately and keeps you engaged throughout the novel. There are enough twists and turns here to make you a bit queasy. The twists are never done in a manner where you think that's exactly what they are and they are necessary to keep the story moving along. 

Still Missing reminds me of another novel I read a couple of years ago, Standing Still by Kelly Simmons. They are similar yet very different novels.

If you have not discovered Chevy Stevens, then I definitely recommend either Still Missing or Never Knowing. Both novels will have you on the edge of your seat.

Final Take: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the book. 



Stephanie @ Read In a Single Sitting February 1, 2012 at 10:19 PM  

I found this one really hard to get through, actually. But I have a dislike for anything about rape and misogyny, which I think in part is why I didn't like this one. I also found the "twist" at the end a bit contrived.

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