Still Missing by Chevy Stevens
Published by St. Martin’s Press, an imprint of Macmillan
When Annie O’Sullivan, a thirty-two-year-old Realtor, shows a house to a very nice man late in the evening, she thinks nothing of it other than business as usual – until he abducts her. What follows for Annie is a year of complete hell, as the psychopath keeps her secluded in a cabin in the middle of who knows where, controls her every move, rapes her frequently, and beats her when she doesn’t do exactly as he wants. The book is told from the perspective of Annie speaking with her therapist in the time after she escapes to freedom, and we learn about Annie’s time with the Freak (as she calls her kidnapper) as well as her life before and after the year she spent with him.
Holy cow guys, this book is really freaking good. Annie is one of the most authentic, honest characters I’ve met in fiction in a loooong time. My heart absolutely broke for her the whole entire time I was listening to this book. Even now, weeks after I’ve finished it, I feel like I know her, like she is real, and I miss having her in my life. I know it’s weird but that’s how much Still Missing affected me.
This book is chilling, to the nth degree. It is extremely difficult to stomach, the abuse the Annie suffers at the hands of the Freak, however it’s worth the anguish you will feel to get to the excellence that is this entire novel. Annie’s story may be fiction, but she represents real women to which this exact thing has happened, and for that reason alone it’s important to read this book. Other than that, it’s incredibly well-written and well-paced, a thriller of the best kind, one in which you fall in love with the characters while you’re on the edge of your seat waiting to find out what will happen to them.
I don’t want anyone to be scared off by this book by the violence depicted in it, because while Annie does suffer a lot of abuse in her year held captive, it’s a bit easier to take in knowing that she survived it. The reader knows from the beginning that somehow Annie escaped, so it makes the trauma a tiny bit easier to handle knowing that she ends up okay when all is said and done. That being said, I think a lot of things Annie experiences could be triggers for those of you who have suffered from domestic violence and/or sexual abuse, so in that sense be cautious.
As I alluded to earlier, I experienced Still Missing as an audiobook, and my goodness what a fantastic production. The narrator is Angela Dawe and she is seriously amazing. She made Annie come to life for me – I honestly kept forgetting that this is a novel and not a real woman telling me the story of her actual kidnapping. She managed to sound scared, honest, strong, and chilling all at the same time; I can’t really explain it properly but honestly her narration was beyond superb. The only problem is, her voice will always be the voice of Annie O’Sullivan to me – I’ll never be able to listen to any of her other productions without thinking of this one!
I realize I’ve been unable to contain my gushing when it comes to Still Missing but truly, I loved this novel. Not only is it an extremely well-written, engaging novel that you will have difficulty putting down, but it deals with a very important topic. Please read Still Missing (if you can stomach it – I understand if the idea of the violence and rapes is too difficult) and if you have the opportunity/desire, choose audiobook format. This may make my favorites list this year!