Deborah's Reviews > Still Missing

Still Missing by Chevy Stevens
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's review
May 31, 2012

really liked it

I usually try to go for the new release weekly loans at my local library, but when nothing takes my fancy I’ll trawl the shelves looking for something from a favourite author (which remains unread); or take a chance on something by an unknown writer.

I occasionally dip my toe into the ‘literature’ pond, but mostly prefer my reading fodder to be interesting and intriguing; rather than hard work. As a result, I tend to mostly partake in mystery / crime novels.

My Wednesday night choice, Still Missing, seemed – from its dust jacket blurb – to be just that. And it was… with a difference.

The debut novel by Chevy Stevens was published in 2010 (by Allen & Unwin in Australia).

The entire novel (other, perhaps than the very end) is told in first person (occasionally second person) by the main character, Annie – as if speaking to her therapist, in a series of long explanatory diatribes.

Thirty-two year old Annie was abducted one day, and held by her captor for a significant amount of time before her release. There’s no spoiler there, as that’s on the dust jacket as well.

I don’t usually enjoy mysteries (either in fiction, TV shows, film etc) when you know ‘who-dunnit’. I like the thrill of the chase…. Will it be the next-door neighbour? Or perhaps there’s a twist and it’s the investigating detective’s wife? Or maybe the victim’s estranged son? Or Professor Plum in the library with the dagger?

Knowing who the ‘baddie’ is doesn’t allow for a lot of plot twists and turns in my book. Usually.

Obviously we meet Annie’s captor during her imprisonment… so know who-dunnit, but fortunately, there is more to this story.

And I have to confess, even if there wasn’t, the plot is so interesting and the narrative (changing with ease, between her time with her captor and her difficulty settling back into life) is so well done that I couldn’t stop reading.

I didn’t notice Stevens’ words… which I think is a good thing. On occasions when I’m reading I’ll feel annoyed at the clunky language or badly phrased sentences. Or I’ll be distracted at the unlikelihood of the plot. There was no such problem here, as I was barely conscious of the writing, so focused was I, on the unfolding story.

I notice (now) that the cover includes quotes from other authors I read, Karin Slaughter, Lisa Gardner and Kathy Reichs – for example…. Which – even if they haven’t read the novel themselves (I know I know… I’m a cynic) means I selected something in a genre I usually enjoy.

The only thing that disturbs me now is that I’ve discovered Ms Stevens early in her career. I much prefer coming across a writer when they’ve got several books under their belt so I have a ready-and-waiting stack of reading. Alas…

But a subsequent Google informs me that there is now a second book. Phew… something to look forward to!

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