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Patrick AndersonThe strength of the novel lies not in its characters or insights but in a shrewdly calculated, suspenseful plot that uncorks one surprise after another.
—The Washington Post
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 ...
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.
Winner of the 2011 Thriller Award for Best First Novel
“An astonishingly well-crafted debut novel…will have you spellbound from the fi rst page until long after you close the book.”—Karin Slaughter, New York Times bestselling author of Unseen
“Still Missing runs deeper than the chills it delivers, the surprises it holds, and the resilience of its main character. Ms. Stevens makes Annie a strong, smart woman who won’t stop fighting to regain her sanity and equilibrium.She can’t come back until she knows why she was taken away.” —Janet Maslin, The New York Times
“Crackling with suspense, this debut thriller stars Annie O’Sullivan, a young realtor who recounts her year-long ordeal as a captive of a rapist she calls simply ‘The Freak.’ Her imprisonment, escape, and fraught reentry into ordinary life will have you glued to the page.” —People magazine
“This debut novel has the power to shock and awe with its explosively frightening premise about a woman who is kidnapped by a stranger and held against her will for more than a year…This is one scary novel with a new twist on the classic kidnap and conspiracy story. Still Missing by Vancouver Island native and resident Chevy Stevens is sure to rock lovers of the thriller genre.” —USA Today
“Still Missing isn’t just a gripping mystery about a woman’s abduction, it’s a story about her hard-fought return—to self, to independence, to life. Frank, fierce, and sometimes even funny, this is a dark tale pinpricked with light—and told by an unforgettable heroine.”—Gillian Flynn, New York Times bestselling author of Gone Girl
“Grim and unsettling, Still Missing is a fast-paced read that is utterly absorbing.”—Kathy Reichs, New York Times bestselling author of Bones of the Lost
“Chevy Stevens’s Still Missing is a compelling, unputdownable thrill ride of a debut. The twists are so treacherous and unexpected, you’ll need a neck brace by the time you finish.”—Linda Castillo, New York Times bestselling author of Her Last Breath
“Stevens’s blistering debut follows a kidnap victim from her abduction to her escape—and the even more horrifying nightmare that follows…A grueling, gripping demonstration of melodrama’s darker side.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Author praise of this highly touted debut includes comparisons to Karin Slaughter and Lisa Gardner, and those authors’ fans will like this thriller. While this may be a stretch, the ‘what-would-I-do’ aspect of the reading experience may make this a match for some Jodi Picoult readers as well. Highly recommended.” —Library Journal (starred review)
“This may be Stevens’s debut novel, but it sure doesn’t read like a first book. In fact, it’s a knockout, a psychological thriller that pulls no punches and has a title that couldn’t be more apt. Relentless and disturbing, Stevens’s dark, mesmerizing character study follows a twisted path from victimhood toward self-empowerment. Sure to leave readers looking over their shoulders for a smiling stranger.”—Booklist (starred review)
“Engrossing, terrifying, and ultimately full of girl-kick-ass, Still Missing will suck you in from page one.”
—Chelsea Cain, New York Times bestselling author of Let Me Go
“Simply terrifying.”—Erica Spindler, New York Times bestselling author of Justice for Sara
“Carefully and claustrophobically, Stevens crafts a double narrative of a woman’s abduction and escape, and her attempts to recover and reclaim herself after the brutal ordeal…With a gutsy but very human heroine, this book will abduct your reading time late into the night.”—RT Book Reviews
“At each turn of the page, you’ll find yourself clutching the book with white knuckles and struggling to comprehend the sickening and terror-filled moments as this realistic and horrifying tale unfolds. A book that I truly couldn’t put down, Still Missing is a frightening story that will leave a lasting effect.” —Suspense Magazine
“A dazzling debut from Vancouver Island’s Chevy Stevens. Still Missing brilliantly captures the terror of a kidnapped woman trapped in a cabin in the woods—and the puzzling aftermath of her escape.” —Chatelaine magazine
“Chevy Stevens’s novel is the most unnerving novel I’ve read since Thomas Harris’s The Silence of the Lambs…The conclusion is totally shocking and numbing. By far the best debut I’ve read this year and I’d be very surprised to read anything that tops it.” —Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine
You know, Doc, you’re not the first shrink I’ve seen since I got back. The one my family doctor recommended right after I came home was a real prize. The guy actually tried to act like he didn’t know who I was, but that was a pile of crap—you’d have to be deaf and blind not to. Hell, it seems like every time I turn around another asshole with a camera is jumping out of the bushes. But before all this shit went down? Most of the world had never heard of Vancouver Island, let alone Clayton Falls. Now mention the island to someone and I’m willing to bet the first thing out of their mouth will be, “Isn’t that where that lady Realtor was abducted?”
Even the guy’s office was a turnoff—black leather couches, plastic plants, glass and chrome desk. Way to make your patients feel comfortable, buddy. And of course everything was perfectly lined up on the desk. His teeth were the only damn thing crooked in his office, and if you ask me, there’s something a little strange about a guy who needs to line up everything on his desk but doesn’t get his teeth fixed.
Right away he asked me about my mom, and then he actually tried to make me draw the color of my feelings with crayons and a sketch pad. When I said he must be kidding, he told me I was resisting my feelings and needed to “embrace the process.” Well, screw him and his process. I only lasted two sessions. Spent most of the time wondering if I should kill him or myself.
So it’s taken me until December—four months since I got home—to even try this therapy stuff again. I’d almost resigned myself to just staying screwed up, but the idea of living the rest of my life feeling this way . . . Your writing on your Web site was sort of funny, for a shrink, and you looked kind—nice teeth, by the way. Even better, you don’t have a bunch of letters that mean God only knows what after your name. I don’t want the biggest and the best. That just means a bigger ego and an even bigger bill. I don’t even mind driving an hour and a half to get here. Gets me out of Clayton Falls, and so far I haven’t found any reporters hiding in my backseat.
But don’t get me wrong, just because you look like some-one’s grandmother—you should be knitting, not taking notes—doesn’t mean I like being here. And telling me to call you Nadine? Not sure what that’s all about, but let me guess. I have your first name, so now I’m supposed to feel like we’re buddies and it’s okay for me to tell you stuff I don’t want to remember, let alone talk about? Sorry, I’m not paying you to be my friend, so if it’s all the same to you I’ll just stick with Doc.
And while we’re getting shit 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.
I dozed in bed a little longer than usual that first Sunday morning in August while my golden retriever, Emma, snored in my ear. I didn’t get many moments to indulge. I was working my ass off that month going after a waterfront condo development. For Clayton Falls, a hundred-unit complex is a big deal, and it was down to me and another Realtor. I didn’t know who my competition was, but the developer had called me on Friday to tell me they were impressed with my presentation and would let me know in a few days. I was so close to the big time I could already taste the champagne. I’d actually only tried the stuff once at a wedding and ended up switching it for a beer—nothing says class like a girl in a satin bridesmaid dress swilling beer out of the bottle—but I was convinced this deal would transform me into a sophisticated business-woman. Sort of a water-into-wine thing. Or in this case, beer into champagne.
After a week of rain it was finally sunny, and warm enough for me to wear my favorite suit. It was pale yellow and made from the softest material. I loved how it made my eyes look hazel instead of a boring brown. I generally avoid skirts because at only a hiccup over five feet I look like a midget in them, but something about the cut of this one made my legs look longer. I even decided to wear heels. I’d just had my hair trimmed so it swung against my jawline perfectly, and after a last-minute inspection in my hall mirror for any gray hairs—I was only thirty-two last year, but with black hair those suckers show up fast—I gave myself a whistle, kissed Emma good-bye (some people touch wood, I touch dog), and headed out.
The only thing I had to do that day was host an open house. It would’ve been nice to have the day off, but the owners were anxious to sell. They were a nice German couple and the wife baked me Bavarian chocolate cake, so I didn’t mind spending a few hours to keep them happy.
My boyfriend, Luke, was coming over for dinner after he was done working at his Italian restaurant. He’d had a late shift the night before, so I sent him a can’t-wait-to-see-you-later e-mail. Well, first I tried to send him one of those e-mail card things he was always sending me, but all the choices were cutesy—kissing bunnies, kissing frogs, kissing squirrels—so I settled on a simple e-mail. He knew I was more of a show than tell kind of girl, but lately I’d been so focused on the waterfront deal I hadn’t shown the poor guy much of anything, and God knows he deserved better. Not that he ever complained, even when I had to cancel at the last minute a couple of times.
My cell phone rang while I was struggling to shove the last open house sign into my trunk without getting dirt on my suit. On the off chance it was the developer, I grabbed the phone out of my purse.
“Are you at home?” Hi to you too, Mom.
“I’m just leaving for the open house—”
“So you’re still doing that today? Val mentioned she hadn’t seen many of your signs lately.”
“You were talking to Aunt Val?” Every couple of months Mom had a fight with her sister and was “never speaking to her again.”
“First she invites me to lunch like she didn’t just completely insult me last week, but two can play that game, then before we’ve even ordered she just has to tell me your cousin sold a waterfront listing. Can you believe Val’s flying over to Vancouver tomorrow just to go shopping with her for new clothes on Robson Street? Designer clothes.” Nice one, Aunt Val. I struggled not to laugh.
“Good for Tamara, but she looks great in anything.” I hadn’t actually seen my cousin in person since she’d moved to the mainland right after high school, but Aunt Val was always e-mailing just-look-what-my-amazing-kids-are-up-to-now photos.
“I told Val you have some nice things too. You’re just . . . conservative.”
“Mom, I have lots of nice clothes, but I—”
I stopped myself. She was baiting me, and Mom isn’t the catch-and-release type. Last thing I wanted to do was spend ten minutes debating appropriate business attire with a woman who wears four-inch heels and a dress to get the mail. Sure as hell wasn’t any point. Mom may be small, barely five feet, but I was the one always falling short.
“Before I forget,” I said, “can you drop off my cappuccino maker later?”
She was quiet for a moment, then said, “You want it today?”
“That’s why I asked, Mom.”
“Because I just invited some of the ladies in the park over for coffee tomorrow. Your timing is perfect, as usual.”
“Oh, crap, sorry, Mom, but Luke’s coming over and I want to make him a cappuccino with breakfast. I thought you were going to buy one, you just wanted to try mine?”
“We were, but your stepdad and I are a little behind right now. I’ll just have to call the girls this afternoon and explain.”
Great, now I felt like a jerk.
“Don’t worry about it, I’ll get it next week or something.”
“Thanks, Annie Bear.” Now I was Annie Bear.
“You’re welcome, but I still need it—” She hung up.
I groaned and shoved the phone back in my purse. The woman never let me finish a goddamn sentence if it wasn’t something she wanted to hear.
At the corner gas station, I stopped to grab a coffee and a couple of magazines. My mom loves trashy magazines, but I only buy them to give me something to do if no one comes in to an open house. One of them had a picture of some poor missing woman on the cover. I looked at her smiling face and thought: She used to be just a girl living her life, and now everyone thinks they know all about her.
The open house was a little slow. I guess most people were taking advantage of the good weather—like I should have been. About ten minutes before it ended I started packing up my stuff. When I went outside to put some flyers in my trunk, a newer tan-colored van pulled in and parked right behind my car. An older guy, maybe mid-forties, walked toward me with a smile on his face.
“Shoot, you’re packing up. Serves me right—saving the best for last. Would it be a huge inconvenience if I had a quick look around?”
For a second I considered telling him it was too late. A part of me just wanted to go home, and I still had to get some stuff from the grocery store, but as I hesitated he put his hands on his hips, stepped back a couple of feet, and surveyed the front of the house.
I looked him over. His khakis were perfectly pressed, and I liked that. Fluffing my clothes in the dryer is my version of ironing. His running shoes were glaringly white, and he was wearing a baseball hat with the logo of a local golf course on the brim. His lightweight beige coat sported the same logo over his heart. If he belonged to the club, he had money behind him. Open houses usually attract neighbors or people out on Sunday drives, but when I glanced at his van I could see our real estate magazine sitting on the dash. What the hell, a few more minutes wouldn’t kill me.
I gave him a big smile and said, “Of course I don’t mind, that’s what I’m here for. My name’s Annie O’Sullivan.”
I held out my hand, and as he came toward me to shake it, he stumbled on the flagstone path. To stop himself from falling to his knees, he braced his hands on the ground, ass up. I reached for him but he jumped to his feet in seconds, laughing and brushing the dirt from his hands.
“Oh, my God—I’m so sorry. Are you okay?”
Large blue eyes set in an open face were bright with amusement. Laugh lines radiated from the corners, leaked into flushed cheeks, and were commas to a wide grin of straight white teeth. It was one of the most genuine smiles I’d seen in a long time, and a face you just had to smile back at.
He bowed theatrically and said, “I certainly know how to make an entrance, don’t I? Allow me to introduce myself, I’m David.”
I dropped into a quick curtsy and said, “Nice to make your acquaintance, David.”
We both laughed, and he said, “I really do appreciate this, and I promise I won’t take up too much of your time.”
“Don’t worry about it—look around as long as you want.”
“That’s very kind of you, but I’m sure you can’t wait to go and enjoy the weather. I’ll make it quick.”
Man, was it ever nice to meet a prospective buyer who treated a Realtor with consideration. Usually they act like they’re doing us a favor.
I took him inside and chatted him up about the house, which was your typical West Coast style with vaulted ceilings, cedar siding, and a killer ocean view. He made such enthusiastic comments as he trailed behind me, it was like I was seeing the house for the first time too, and I found myself eager to point out features.
“The ad said the house is only two years old but it didn’t mention the builder,” he said.
“They’re a local firm, Corbett Construction. It’s still under warranty for a couple more years—which goes with the house, of course.”
“That’s great, you can never be too careful with some of these builders. You just can’t trust people these days.”
“When did you say you wanted to move by?”
“I didn’t, but I’m flexible. When I find what I’m looking for I’ll know.” I glanced back at him and he smiled.
“If you need a mortgage broker, I can give you some names.”
“Thanks, but I’ll be buying with cash.” Better and better. “Does it have a fenced backyard?” he said. “I have a dog.”
“Oh, I love dogs—what kind?”
“A golden retriever, purebred, and he needs a lot of room to move around.”
“I totally understand, I have a golden too, and she’s a handful if she doesn’t get enough exercise.” I opened the sliding glass door to show him the cedar fencing. “So what’s your dog’s name?”
In the second that I waited for him to answer, I realized he was too close behind me. Something hard pressed into my lower back.
I tried to turn around, but he grabbed a handful of my hair and yanked my head back so fast and so painfully I thought a piece of my scalp would tear off. My heart slammed against my rib cage, and blood roared in my head. I willed my legs to kick out, run—to do something, anything—but I couldn’t make them move.
“Yes, Annie, that’s a gun, so please listen carefully. I’m going to let go of your hair and you’re going to remain calm while we take a walk out to my van. And I want you to keep that pretty smile on your face while we do that, okay?”
“I—I can’t—” I can’t breathe.
Voice low and calm against my ear, he said, “Take a deep breath, Annie.”
I sucked in a lungful.
“Let it out nice and easy.”
I exhaled slowly.
“Again.” The room came back into focus.
“Good girl.” He released my hair.
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. He urged me out the front door and down the steps, humming a little melody. While we walked to his van, he whispered into my ear.
“Relax, Annie. Just pay attention to what I tell you and we won’t have any problems. Don’t forget to keep smiling.” As we moved farther from the house I looked around—somebody had to be seeing this—but no one was in sight. I’d never noticed how many trees surrounded the house or that both of the neighboring homes faced away.
“I’m so glad the sun came out for us. It’s a lovely day for a drive, don’t you agree?”
He’s got a gun and he’s talking about the weather?
“Annie, I asked you a question.”
“Yes what, Annie?”
“It’s a nice day for a drive.” Like two neighbors having a conversation over the fence. I kept thinking, this guy can’t be doing this in broad daylight. It’s an open house, for God’s sake, I have a sign at the end of the driveway, and a car is going to pull up any minute.
We were at the van.
“Open the door, Annie.” I didn’t move. He pressed the gun to my lower back. I opened the door.
“Now get in.” The gun pressed harder. I got in and he closed the door.
As he began to walk away, I yanked the door handle and pushed the automatic lock repeatedly, but something was wrong. I rammed my shoulder into the door. Open, GODDAMMIT!
He crossed in front of the van.
I pounded the locks, the power window button, tugged at the handle. His door opened and I turned around. In his hand was a keyless entry remote.
He held it up and smiled.
Excerpted from Still Missing by Chevy Stevens.
Copyright © 2010 by Chevy Stevens.
Published in 2010 by St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.
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 the 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.
Still Missing is a shocking, visceral, brutal, and beautifully crafted novel about surviving the unsurvivable—and living to bear witness.
Posted July 9, 2010
THERE ARE NO SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW!
I've been waiting for months for Still Missing to be released. With all of the advance press and buzz it has been generating, people have been writing tons of reviews containing intimate story details that I didn't want to hear about before reading the book, and I've found it very difficult to keep forcing myself not to read them. So I won't do that to you in this review.
What is commonly known about Still Missing is that it is focused around Annie, a Realtor, who is abducted while running an open house. When I started the book, I expected the entire story to be about the abduction, her survival, and eventual escape. I was wrong. The abduction, and her survival through it (and being that the book is written in the first person as Annie talks to her therapist, the fact that she survives is no secret) is only half of the book. It's the vivid and introspective view into what happens to Annie AFTER the abduction, including some completely unexpected plot twists, where the story gets interesting.
Annie is a raw person. The author has spent a great deal of time developing Annie's psychology and internal thought processes, and this is shared with the reader, making Annie a three-dimensional person with real feelings and a real life. She says what is on her mind, and she doesn't hold back. She has the ability to utilize language you would expect of a truck driver, and uses it as she sees fit. But she is not crude - she is a sharp-witted, intelligent, smart-mouthed survivor whose brilliant comebacks often had me laughing out loud. I fell in love with Annie, her damaged psyche notwithstanding. Still Missing is told in the first person, and the reader really gets to feel as though they are a part of Annie's mind. By the end of the book, I felt like I knew her as a real person. For these horrible things to be happening to someone who I felt I knew, was almost unbearable.
And that's the beauty of Still Missing. Yes, there are some grisly details - there has to be, in order for the reader to be able to understand Annie's justifications, and realize the true horror of the situation. However, these are masterfully intermixed with different, saner events within the story's timeline, filling out the background story and the characters involved. This gives the reader a rest from the horror - but that doesn't mean that you won't be blindsided around the next corner!
Eventually the flashback timeline joins the present day timeline, and just when you think you've got the story figured out, and are expecting things to wind down - some totally unexpected plot twists are thrown your way. Annie's adaptation to these plot twists make for my favorite part of the story - they really show what she is truly made of.
Still Missing is publicized as being "unputdownable" and this statement is truth in advertising. I could not put down this book, I HAD to know what was going to happen next. Practically everywhere you look, popular summer reading lists are proclaiming Still Missing as the "book of the summer." There is a very good reason for this: Still Missing is a GREAT BOOK!
Will Still Missing appeal to you? I am a middle-aged family man. I loved the book. My wife loved the book. In fact, I haven't met anyone who didn't love this book. It left me thinking about it for days afterward - and to me, that is the indication that I have just read something great. I would recommend it to anyone.
148 out of 157 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 27, 2010
I Also Recommend:
This book is tragic in the sense that it demonstrates what human nature is capable of and what it can work to overcome in the end. I could not put this book down and it left me scared but rooting for the main character. It has been awhile since that has happened to me. I would very much recommend this title to others, but beware, it did give me the creeps!
33 out of 37 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
REAL ESTATE AGENTS: YOU MAY WANT TO FIND ANOTHER CAREER! STILL MISSING is about a 32 year old Real Estate agent, Annie O'Sullivan, who was abducted from an "open house", raped and horribly abused for almost a year before she finally escaped. Revealed through her sessions with her psychiatrist we learn of her struggle as she tries to pick up the pieces of her life and regain her crushed spirit. She endures the continued misery of trying to help the police investigation to identify the sadistic psychopath she called, "The Freak". This is an unsettling, gripping, heartbreaking and powerful journey. Wonderfully done!
27 out of 30 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 9, 2010
I just finished reading "Still Missing" by Chevy Stevens and am sorry it has ended. It was a great book. The characters were believable and the plot interesting and unique. The plot dealt with abduction, abuse and betrayal. It was well written and held my attention, I couldn't put it down. I haven't read a book like that in a while. I know that a lot of people would have a problem with some of the unsavory parts but without them the story would not be same. Those parts of the book were not as disturbing as others I have read, including James Patterson. I highly recommend this book. Congratulations Ms. Stevens for a job well done.
22 out of 24 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 28, 2013
And if course we have harriet klausner along with her hoard of plot spoilers ruining this book as well. Come on bn. When are yiu ever going to do something to harriet klausner and her excessive plot spoilers. She reveals every detail of the book, including the ending, and yet nothing is done. Her posts should be deleted, she should be fined and banned.
16 out of 49 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 20, 2011
This was a great book. Very suspenseful. Sometimes hard to read about what this woman survives. Surprise ending was also well done. Good from start to finish. But if you can't handle the darker side of humanity, you might want to skip this one. If you can, then it's an intense but worthwhile read.
15 out of 18 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 26, 2010
I downloaded this book because an editorial review said, 'Some may like this if they enjoy Jodi Picoult's writing'. WRONG. Jodi Picoult is my favorite author and I'm ashamed there was even a comparison between these two authors. I enjoyed the actual captive part of this story, but when the victim was retelling it in the shrink's office, I skimmed through it. The ending was great and I definitely did not expect it, but overall I felt it dragged through the middle.
13 out of 26 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 14, 2010
Still Missing is Chevy Stevens' debut novel, and if her first book has anything to say about her writing, I would bet she's going to be sticking with the thriller genre for sometime.
Annie O'Sullivan was pretty content with her life at the age of thirty-two. A semi-successful realtor, she has a good boyfriend, a fabulous old Victorian house, and a loving golden retriever named Emma. On a day like any other she's at an open house for one of her listings. She's about to pack up and head home when a last potential client pulls up. Little does Annie know, but the potential client has been stalking her for years. Still Missing is Annie's story about the year she spent as a hostage to The Freak, and the deep hole of depression and fear she's working her way out of, all while trying to help the police identify her kidnapper and the people who may have helped him.
As a debut novel, Still Missing was impressive. Once I became involved in Annie's plot, it was hard to put down, even during the most disturbing and difficult parts. Many times I wanted to cry with Annie, for Annie. But she persevered and so did I. Stevens' doesn't mince over the more difficult aspects of the kidnapping, it's not hard for the reader to figure out what's going to happen to Annie. It's a difficult read, sometimes explicit, and many times heartbreaking.
My only complaint is the inconsistency between the two narrative parts. At the beginning and end of each chapter Annie is supposedly speaking to her therapist. My problem is that Doc never speaks back to Annie, and there are no quotation marks to signify speech. It's almost like reading a letter that Annie is writing to her therapist. Later in the novel when Annie has dealings in the present with family members and the police there is regular dialogue, so I wish Stevens' had blended these two parts instead of trying to separate Annie talking to Doc from Annie's story. It seemed like a tool an inexperienced writer would rely on, and I think Stevens' is better than that.
Still Missing is not an easy read, Annie is kidnapped and raped and even worse things happen to her. But if you can get past the difficult parts you will find Stevens' debut a gripping thriller and Annie's story a powerful one.
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Posted November 9, 2010
I wish I had stopped reading it when I first found it sensationalistic... but the ending was so preposterous and had so little to do with how this victim was processing her trauma. Not at all what you think it is by the cover and other reviews- hey, but isn't that what they say....
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Posted July 2, 2011
Posted June 1, 2010
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Annie is wrapping up an open house when she is abducted. Thrown into a van and taken to a strange cabin in the woods somewhere, she doesn't know where she is or anything about the man who is holding her captive. What she does know is that she must stay alive as long as possible in order for police to find her. A year later she survives, but only through a strength she wasn't sure she possessed. Told through sessions with her psychiatrist, Annie will relive that terrible time in her life. And with the help of a handsome detective, will figure out why and how this happened to her.
WOW is this book ever disturbing. I sometimes wonder about the mental health of the authors who write books like these- seriously, how could someone normal come up with such vile situations? Horrible images aside, however, and this book was incredible. The first half of the book is Annie talking about her time with The Freak, the man who abducted her. This was by far the hardest part of the book to read. I had to physically put the book down and walk away after each chapter. Go listen to a happy song or something just so I could go right back to the book and dive into the terror again. But the second part of the book was much better, as Annie is safe and learning to cope in the real world again. Chevy Stevens is an amazing writer, and her decision to tell the story through Annie's psychiatrist sessions couldn't have worked better. I found myself getting mad at Annie when she was weak, and cheering her on when she was strong. Unfortunately, when the big reveal at the end was finally unleashed, I felt it was slightly anti-climactic. Compared to all of the guesses I had in my head, the actually ending was not nearly as powerful. But the end certainly did not take away from the rest of the book.
Stevens is currently working on her next book, but Still Missing is not I will soon forget.
6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 4, 2010
In Clayton Falls on Vancouver Island, thirtyish realtor Annie O'Sullivan hosts an open house in which hardly anyone visits. She is about to call it quits as a failed day when a nicely attired man arrives. Annie thinks she may have a sale, which would help her overcome the nasty taste of the argument she had with her mom. Instead he abducts her taking her to a remote shack in the mountains.
Annie eventually escapes after a year-long imprisonment by an obsessed lunatic. However, the ordeal is far from over as she visits a psychiatrist to explain her trepidations then and now since the police have not captured her psychopathic kidnapper who she fears will come back for her, but insolently refuses to be a victim a second time, physically or emotionally.
The ordeal is told by Annie to her psychiatrist is so emotional readers will cringe at what she went through, still going through and will be going through with one last twist. Annie makes the tale as the emotional scars will be with her for the rest of life. This is a one sitting tale by what may be the best debut thriller of the year.
6 out of 17 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 14, 2013
I did not want to finish this book because it had no redeeming qualities. There was not a bit of happiness or relief from its dark, negative narrative. Finished it anyway; sorry I did. Not worth spending that much time feeling bad.
4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 6, 2011
Posted June 3, 2011
This book was really good! The twists and how tge story all tied together, it was riveting. I'm actually a little sad i am done. I could not put this book down, it took me 3 days to read. Would highly recommend!
4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 31, 2011
Posted May 31, 2012
I would like to add my voice to the chorus of others proclaiming Chevy Stevens Still Missing an incredible success. It is so exciting to be one of those who discovers a truly talented author at the very beginning of her career! Often, one says about a debut novel, "Great story and their writing skills will get better as time and other novels progress".
In this case, however, I found Chevy not only is an outstanding story teller, but she also has honed her craft before this novel was ever done!" This is not to say that her writing won't grow as she continues to write, but she did come to the table with a great many cards in her hand already. Not the least of those "cards" is the ability to not only put together a cogent plot line all the way to the end, but to create a plot line that is engaging and keeps one guessing until the very last minute...even the last sentence which mad me catch my breath and think, "Of course!"
I did have to grin at a few reviewers who were unsettled by the presentation of the narrative throughout most of the book in the form of talk-therapy sessions. The author drives home the point again and again how deeply her horrific experiences affect her and that she doesn't seem to be able feel anything but fear. An experience like this one would logically leave one with an extremely flat affect when it comes to emotion. The whole point is that the protagonist decribes these awful experiences to her shrink very matter-of-factly because she thinks she can't afford to open the floodgates of her true emotions or she will be totally destroyed. Most people know denial is a common reaction to a traumatic event. This author is skilled enough to present that flat affect to the therapist and leave the gut-wrenching revelations to the memories in between.
Well done! I am not surprised the book has already been optioned for a film as is also her second one, Never Knowing,
which I am going right now to purchase and read.
3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 27, 2012
I wasnot sure I would enjoy this given the dark subject but I did. Author leaves much of the horrors endured to the readers imagination but keeps the story moving.
3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 1, 2012
I stopped reading about halfway through this book I was so disturbed by it. I found the story to be lacking and the violence against the main character to be extremely excessive and unnecessary. How anyone would read this as entertaining or relaxing is beyond me.
3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.