Interesting that hardly anyone asks how I feel now, not that I’d tell them. I just wonder why nobody care much about the after – just about the story. Guess they figure it stops there. I wish. – from Still Missing, page 64 of the ARC –
Annie O’Sullivan is thirty-two, has a great boyfriend and a wonderful golden retriever named Emma. She is also a Realtor and on the cusp of finally recognizing some success in her career. One beautiful day she sets off to work an open house without a care in the world. But before the day is over, everything will change when she is abducted by a sadistic and psychotic man who has decided that Annie is just the woman to fulfill his life.
Still Missing is narrated in the first person point of view by Annie as she tells her therapist about her year of captivity and the fears she still harbors even though she is now free from her abuser. Graphic, at times shocking, and definitely terrifying, this is a novel that is not to be read when you are alone at night.
Chevy Stevens structures her debut book by therapy session vs chapters so that the reader feels as though she is working through Annie’s problems with her. As the novel opens, we know very little about Annie as she tentatively begins to talk about her experience. By the end of the book, Annie’s life has unfolded bit by bit to finally reveal the full character. Not only does the reader learn all about the abduction, but a darker picture begins to emerge about Annie’s present life and the cracks in her relationships.
Still Missing is a dark, psychological thriller. Stevens does not shy away from graphic descriptions of rape and violence, which makes this a disturbing book on many levels. It is a bit like watching a car wreck – horrifying, stomach clenching and yet I could just not look away.
Thematically, the novel takes a critical look at how the media exploits crime victims, and the grim fascination people have for sex crimes. It also explores dysfunctional family relationships, recovery from trauma, and post-traumatic stress disorder. That said, this is not a book with tons of depth – it is a well-written, nail-biter of a book which is primarily a suspense-thriller. I think a caution is also warranted for those readers interested in picking this book up. The scenes of sexual sadism are hard to read and anyone who has been a crime victim (especially women who have suffered abuse at the hands of another) might want to skip this one.
Readers who love their thrillers gory and fast-paced will find Still Missing a satisfying and frightening read. On the other hand, if you scare easy, you’d best choose another book.
FTC Disclosure: This book was sent to me by the publisher for review on my blog.
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