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Winner Best Literary Fiction Blog - 2008
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Longlisted for Best Literary Fiction Blog - 2011 Shortlisted Best Written Book Blog - 2010

Still Missing – Book Review

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.

The link below redirects you to Indiebound where you can purchase the book at an Indie Bookstore. I receive a small commission based on the sale if you purchase Still Missing in this manner.


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13 Comments

  1. August 18, 2010    

    I do like thrillers and don’t mind some gore. From your description, this might be too gory for me.

  2. August 18, 2010    

    That was me – couldn’t take the sexual sadism!

  3. August 18, 2010    

    I just started this one and will admit I am kind of wimpy—it is totally creeping me out!

  4. August 18, 2010    

    Sounds like one that will be hard to read but I don’t think I can resist at the same time. Thanks for the honest and straightforward review.

  5. August 19, 2010    

    I loved this book and thought it was a really fast paced and unique read. It was hard to read some of the more violent sections, but Stevens has a way of making her story very compelling. It is hard to put down. Great review!

  6. August 19, 2010    

    I just finished this one yesterday and am still putting together my thoughts for my review. I agree with your review though!

  7. August 20, 2010    

    Hmmm, I keep hearing good things about this thriller…and I have the ARC…so I’ll read it pretty soon. Hope it doesn’t creep me out too much, but then again, I’ve read all of Cody McFadyen’s thrillers and while they’re pretty disturbing, I can’t stop reading them.

  8. August 22, 2010    

    I love thrillers. Disturbing doesn’t bother me (I love Chelsea Cain and Mo Hayder for example). I’ve heard somewhat mixed reviews on this one. I’m on the waiting list at the library and I’m going into it with pretty much neutral expectations based on the mixed reviews. Sometimes that’s safer than having read nothing but positive about a book.

  9. August 23, 2010    

    Kathy: Not so much gory as disturbing and graphic.

    Rhapsody: I just read your review…I think a lot of people might share your views.

    Tina: It is very creepy!

    Kathleen: You’re welcome – fans of thrillers will love this one.

    Zibilee: I agree – hard to put down!! Even when I was finding myself cringing, I kept reading!

    Swapna: I need to drop over to your blog and read your review 🙂

    Les: I think knowing it is graphic ahead of time is good…if you love thrillers, I think you’ll enjoy this one.

    Suzi: I bet you’ll like this one given that you love thrillers…Stevens is a good writer.

  10. Melba Melba
    August 17, 2011    

    This is definitely a thriller. I just could not put the book down. Yes, it is very graphic and I could feel her pain and fear. I will be finishing it tonight, so I hope I’m not going to be disappointed.

  11. August 25, 2011    

    Melba: Glad to hear you are enjoying this one!

  12. Ashley C. Ashley C.
    February 28, 2012    

    I finished this book in 2 days I just couldn’t put it down! I found my self turning pages faster than I could put together all the pieces. Very very good book! Fast read nail biter very very hard to put down!

  13. Ashley C. Ashley C.
    February 28, 2012    

    If you like psychological thrillers/horrors try Jack Ketchem’s THE GIRL NEXT DOOR.warning though VERY graphic!!! And very disturbing. Book about a young girl who goes to live with her aunt and is abused mentally physically verbally and sexually by her aunt and cousins.very powerful book.and if I read correctly a true story.

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