On the day she was abducted, Annie O’Sullivan, a 32-year-old realtor, had three goals—sell 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.
Interwoven with the story of the year Annie spent as the captive of a psychopath in a remote mountain cabin, which unfolds through sessions with her psychiatrist, is a second narrative recounting events following her escape—her struggle to piece her shattered life back together and the ongoing police investigation into the identity of her captor.
Still Missing is that rare debut find--a shocking, visceral, brutal and beautifully crafted debut novel.
Amazon Exclusive: Lisa Gardner Reviews Still Missing New York Times bestselling crime novelist Lisa Gardner began her career in food service, but after her hair caught on fire numerous times she took the hint and focused on writing instead. A self-described research junkie, she has parlayed her interest in police procedure, cutting edge forensics, and twisted plots into a streak of 11 bestselling suspense novels, including her most recent release, The Neighbor. Read her guest review of Still Missing:
Heading to a beach? Boy do I have the book for you!
Every now and then a new author comes along that totally knocks one out of the park. As a reader, I’m always thrilled to discover a great new voice. As a writer, of course I’m insanely jealous and suffer a terrible case of why-didn’t-I-think-of-that? Given that debut author Chevy Stevens is young, beautiful and talented, I’ve been gnashing my teeth for months!
Still Missing represents psychological suspense at its very best. Realtor Annie O’Sullivan is abducted from an open house and held captive for a year in a remote cabin by a sadistic survivalist who considers her to be his wife as well as preferred breeding stock. His goal is to get her pregnant and live creepily-ever-after as the last man and woman on earth. Her goal is to get away from him.
Now, you know Annie wins this war as the book opens with her talking to a therapist. So you may ask, where is the suspense? I can’t give you a simple answer to that, other than to say every page crackles with it.
Still Missing creates one of the most haunting narratives I’ve read in years. On the one hand, survivor Annie is tough, angry, and brittle. The very worst has happened to her, and she escaped through her own ingenuity and frankly, savagery. On the other hand, survivor Annie is jumpy, terrified, and sleep-deprived. All these months later, she still can’t pee “off schedule.” In one of the more moving scenes of the novel, she downs a gallon of iced tea in order to force herself to urinate by her own free will. She can’t do it.
In addition to her compelling heroine, Stevens has created one of the best psychopaths since Hannibal Lecter—and that’s not something I say lightly. Annie refers to her captor simply as The Freak. Much like Hannibal, The Freak considers himself to be a civilized human being. Intelligent, good looking and resourceful, he’s an excellent “husband.” He has provided a charming cabin. He supplies fresh food—sometimes so fresh that city slicker Annie must bleed it out first, but details, details. Of course he has expectations of his wife. She must be well groomed, properly garbed, and 100% submissive. All failures to comply are met with The Freak’s idea of appropriate punishment. The Freak is also thoughtful and tender. Want to stop sleeping for a few nights? Read the scene where The Freak first shaves Annie. And he means it in the nicest sort of way.
Stevens skillfully juxtaposes the back story of Annie’s captivity with the front story of a woman desperately trying to reclaim her old life. As with all great suspense novels, the surprises abound. Annie thought she’d survived the worst with The Freak. But has she?
As the taut cat and mouse game unfolds, you will cheer for Annie. You will hate The Freak. And you will be absolutely mesmerized by the last line of this novel. Then, most likely, you will return to page one, and start it all over again.
So give yourself a summer vacation. Check out debut author Chevy Stevens, and soon you will be Still Missing.
Starred Review. Stevens's impressive debut, a thriller set on Vancouver Island, pulsates with suspense that gets a power boost from the jaw-dropping but credible closing twist. In psychiatric sessions, Annie O'Sullivan, a 32-year-old realtor with a nice boyfriend and a demanding mother, describes her year-long ordeal as the captive of a rapist. Annie was about to close up an open house for a property when an affable guy who introduced himself as David showed up. In short order, David kidnapped her and held her hostage in a remote mountain cabin. There, he raped her daily, regulated every moment, and forced her to play house. The intense plot alternates between Annie's creepy confinement, her escape, and her attempts to readjust to real life, from going to the bathroom when she wants to managing her own meals. Still, Annie knows that a large part of her soul is still missing. Her transformation from victim adds to the believability of the enthralling plot. 150,000 first printing. (July)
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