In Brief: Still Missing grabs you from the first page and doesn’t let go until the end—at which point you will be left tired and grumpy because you probably stayed up way too late reading because you just had to find out what happened. (Well, at least that was the case for me.)
The Basic Plot: This book does not have chapter titles. Instead, each “chapter” is a session with a psychiatrist. In Session One, we meet “our patient” for the first time, Annie O’Sullivan. Within the first few paragraphs, we learn why Annie is meeting with a shrink … she is “that lady Realtor who was abducted.” And Annie wasn’t just abducted and missing for a few days; she was held captive for a year by a man she only calls The Freak. (And what an apt name that is!) After her escape, everyone thinks Annie should be able to adjust to normal life now that she is home. But Annie’s experience has profoundly changed her. She can’t just go back to normal; the things that happened to her during that year are irreversible and scarring. In addition, Annie cannot accept the fact that she is safe now … that The Freak can’t hurt her anymore. As Annie’s story slowly unfolds during 26 sessions with the psychiatrist, we learn exactly what happened before, during and after the abduction and why Annie may be right that the full story of her abduction has yet to be revealed.
5 Things I Thought While Reading and Reviewing Still Missing:
1. Open houses staffed by solo female realtors seem like a really bad idea. Annie is abducted during an open house, and the details of how it played out really freaked me out. If I was a realtor and read this book, I think it would give me serious pause about ever meeting a client alone at a house.
2. This book reminded me of ROOM by Emma Donoghue. Although I don’t want to spoil anything, there are important plot points between the two books that are pretty similar. If you ever wondered what ROOM would have been like if Ma had been the narrator instead of Jack, this book might give you a taste of that.
3. I love when an author keeps something up her sleeve to surprise you. Although I’m not the brightest bulb when it comes to mysteries (in fact, I’d estimate I’m a 40 watt bulb as far as the ability to figure out things ahead of time), I thought Stevens did a great job of keeping her readers surprised and engaged. Just when you think the story has been told, you find out there is more!
4. For a first-time author, Chevy Stevens is pretty darn self-assured and talented. She nails Annie’s voice—full of anger, doubt, attitude and vulnerability. As Annie works through her troubles during her psychiatric sessions, we come to know her and root for her. In a way, it felt like I was illicitly reading transcripts of actual therapy sessions.
5. Even though I read this book almost three months ago, I can still recall the names and details clearly. In other words, this is a book that sticks with you. So many mysteries/thrillers are so forgettable and interchangeable. If you asked me the details of the Lee Child book I read over the summer, I’d be hard-pressed to tell you anything about it. But Still Missing stuck with me, which makes it a cut above your average mystery/thriller.
Recommendation: If you’re a fan of mysteries/thrillers and haven’t checked this one out yet, read it without delay! This is a well-written, fast-paced, freaky thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat and guessing about all the little details. However, if you are faint-hearted or don’t like strong language, this might not be the best fit for you. This is definitely not a cozy!