"Pulsates with suspense . . . jaw dropping . . . enthralling." Publishers Weekly (starred review)
On the day she was abducted, Annie O'Sullivan, a thirty-two-year-old realtor, had three goalssell 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.
"Will have you glued to the page."People magazine
Interwoven with the story of the year Annie spent captive in a remote mountain cabinwhich unfolds through sessions with her psychiatristis 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…in Still Missing.
"Explosively frightening…Chevy Stevens is sure to rock lovers of the thriller genre." USA Today
|Publisher:||St. Martin's Press|
|Product dimensions:||4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.30(d)|
About the Author
Chevy Stevens grew up on a ranch on Vancouver Island and still lives on the island with her husband and daughter. When she's not working on her next book, she's camping and canoeing with her family in the local mountains. Still Missing, her debut novel, won the International Thriller Writers Award for Best First Novel.
Read an Excerpt
By Chevy Stevens
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2010 René Unischewski
All rights reserved.
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 someone'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 businesswoman. 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.
As he backed down the driveway and I watched the house get smaller, I couldn't believe what was happening. He wasn't real. None of this was real. At the end of the driveway he paused for a second, checking for traffic. My lawn sign advertising the open house was missing. I glanced into the back of the van and there it was, along with the two I'd placed at the end of the street.
Then it hit me. This wasn't random. He must have read the ad and checked out the street.
He chose me.
"So, how did the open house go?"
Fine, until he came along.
Could I pull the keys out of the ignition? Or at least press the unlock button on the remote and throw myself out the door before he grabbed me? I slowly reached out with my left hand, keeping it low —
His hand landed on my shoulder, and his fingers curled over my collarbone.
"I'm trying to ask about your day, Annie. You're not usually so rude."
I stared at him.
"The open house?"
"It was ... it was slow."
"You must have been happy when I came by, then!"
He gave me that smile I'd found so genuine. As he waited for me to respond, his smile began to droop and his grip tightened.
"Yes, yes, it was nice to see someone."
The smile was back. He rubbed me on the shoulder where his hand had been, then cupped my cheek.
"Just try to relax and enjoy the sun, you look so stressed out lately." When he faced the road again, he gripped the steering wheel with one hand and rested the other on my thigh. "You're going to like it there."
Excerpted from Still Missing by Chevy Stevens. Copyright © 2010 René Unischewski. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Reading Group Guide
1. How would you describe Annie's character...especially those qualities that enable her to survive her ordeal at the hands of The Freak? How well might you have fared?
2. At some point during captivity, Annie begins to almost like The Freak. She goes to far as to admit that "sometimes he's kinda sweet." Although identifying with a captor is a known phenomenon--referred to as the "Stockholm Syndrome" in psychiatric parlance--how do those feelings develop in Annie?
3. Are the early parts of the novel, the sex scenes, too lurid for your taste--do you consider them sensational?Or are they an integral part of the plot, necessary for us to grasp Annie's tormented state?
4. Is "The Freak" a good name for Annie's abductor? What would you have called him? Describe him.
5. Chevy Stevens has written her book as a flashback, the present peering back into the past. We know at the outset, therefore, that Annie escapes her ordeal. Why might the author have structured her book in such a way?
6. David-The-Freak tells Annie that she is perfectly safe with him. There's a degree of ironic truth in his statement. How so? (Consider what happens when she escapes to freedom.)
7. Describe what Annie finds once she returns home--starting with her mother and the accident that took her father's and sibling's lives. Then there's the old boyfriend, Luke, as well as her best friend.
8. What prompts Annie to realize that her captivity was intentionally set-up by someone in her old life?
9. What is the significance of the title, "Still Missing"?
10. In all, does this book deliver? Were you held in suspense? Or did you find it predictable? Was the ending satisfying?
Courtesy Molly Lundquist from LitLovers.com - Resources for Book Clubs & Readers
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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.
Good suspense, great story- very well told. Worth the money
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!
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!
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.
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.
I literally couldnt put this book down. Very suspenseful and emotional.
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.
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!
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.
This book was am exciting page turner, I just couldn't put it down. I would not reccommend this book for someone who is "faint-hearted" some of the description and plot is disturbing. This would be an interesting book club read, and could lead to many exciting discussions!
Have some kleenix ready this goes beyond a psychology thriller a must read
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.
Though this book deals with a very disturbing crime, it is well worth your time. The characters feel real, your empathy is genuine and the ending is not rushed or out of left field. I will definitely read more by this outstanding author!
This book was not at all what I was looking for when I picked it up. And because it was so different, I put it down for a while and almost didn't pick it back up. But I'm one of those who pretty much always has to finish a book. And I guess I'm glad I did. I didn't gain anything by reading it, but once I got past the rough patch at the beginning, I found it to be holding my interest. An ok read but probably not one that I'd recommended.
I really liked the storyline of this book and the way the character told the of the events. Cleverly written. It will make many of us that work alone think about better safety measures. The only thing that kept this read from 4 stars is the foul language used throughout the book. I don't believe it was necessary because the quality of the storyline was good enough to keep the reader's interest. I never have liked when a good writer resorts to using bad language when its not necessary. Proof of this is in Chevy Steven's book Never Knowing, because eventhough she uses a couple of four letter words the book is was excellent.
Great writing and a very original plotline. I enjoyed it.
Chevy Stevens is a great story teller. She has a gift for suspense that keeps you from even considering putting the book down.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! Could not put down! ABSOLUTELY RECOMMEND!!!
Truly enjoyed this book - creative perspective of Annie , the victim, telling the whole story to her therapist. Good characters and very interesting story line. I highly recommend.
Good Mystery with a touch of romance. Unexpected twist at the end.
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.
Still Missing is a story about Annie O'Sullivan - a woman who was abducted and held captive. The book also covers her subsequent life afterward. This was such a visceral account that I couldn't put the book down, even falling asleep with it still in my hands. Through Annie's eyes, even the mundane things were huge ordeals, such as getting an apple for good behavior. The author's description of how Annie felt was so real, so palpable that you had to take a breath before reading on. Annie is such a realistic character; I'd want to be her friend. Reading about her confinement and mental duress was challenging yet enthralling. I could feel her pain, frustration, anger, hatred, fear and will to survive. For me, the ending twisted in a different direction than I thought it would end up, however, I absolutely savored every page. I plan on reading the next novel from this new author!
This book was such a disappointment due to its last chapters. The author didn't know how to end the book so she came up with a fairytale, silly ending! I would have given it a four (4) star rating because it really was a page turner in spite of the graphic nature. The preposterous last chapters did not wrap the story line together, it became so ludicrous, I lost all its value as a "must read". I so would have liked to give it a higher rating but denouement was awful!
I usually do not write reviews, but I had to for this book! I could not put this thing down! I was soo disappointed when it was over, and I have still not found a book that even comes close to the suspense and captivation that this book gave me. This is a must read and I highly recommend it!