Home > Book, Causes, Genre, Mental Illnesses and Disorders, Reading Challenges, Review, thriller > Book Review: Still Missing by Chevy Stevens

Book Review: Still Missing by Chevy Stevens

A woman's jawline and neck are viewed through a shattered glass.Summary:
Annie O’Sullivan extremely forcefully declares in her first therapy session that she doesn’t want her therapist to talk back to her; she just wants her to listen.  And so, through multiple sessions, she slowly finds a safe space to recount her horrible abduction from an open house she was running as an up-and-rising realtor, her year spent as the prisoner of her abductor, and of her struggles both to deal with her PTSD now that she’s free again and to deal with the investigation into her abduction.

Review:
I was intrigued by the concept of this book.  Yes, it’s another abduction story, but wrapping it in the therapy sessions after she escapes was an idea I had not seen before.  So when I saw this on sale for the kindle, I snatched it up.  I’m glad I did, because this is a surprisingly edge-of-your-seat thriller.

Stevens deals with the potential issue of back-and-forth with the therapist by having Annie say in her first session that in order to feel safe talking about what happened to her, she needs the therapist to say very little back to her.  It is acknowledged that the therapist says some things to Annie, but it appears that she waits to talk until the end of the session when Annie is done talking.  What the therapist says isn’t recorded but Annie does sometimes respond to what she suggested in later sessions.  This set-up has the potential to be clunky, but Stevens handled it quite eloquently.  It always reads smoothly.

The plot itself starts out as a basic abducted/escaped one, with most of the thriller aspects of the first half of the book coming from slowly finding out everything that happened to Annie when she was abducted.  The second half is where the plot really blew me away, though.  The investigation into her kidnapping turns extremely exciting and terrifying.  I don’t want to give too much away.  Suffice to say that I wasn’t expecting most of the thrills to come from the investigation after the kidnapping and yet they did.

Annie is well-developed. Her PTSD is written with a deep understanding of it.  For instance, she both needs human connection and is (understandably) terrified of it, so she pushes people away.  Stevens shows Annie’s PTSD in every way, from how she talks to her therapist to how she behaves now to subtle comparisons to how she used to be before she was traumatized.

Other characters are well-rounded enough to seem like real people, including her abductor, yet it also never seems like Annie is describing them with more information than she would logically have.

I do want to take just a moment to let potential readers know that there are graphic, realistic descriptions of rape.  Similarly, the end of the book may be triggering for some.  I cannot say why without revealing what happens but suffice to say that if triggers are an issue for you in your recovery from trauma, you may want to wait until you are further along in your recovery and feel strong enough to handle potentially upsetting realistic descriptions of trauma.

Overall, this is a strong thriller with a creative story-telling structure.  Those who enjoy abduction themed thrillers will find this one unique enough to keep them on the edge of their seat.  Those with an interest in PTSD depicted in literature will find this one quite realistic and appreciate the inclusion of therapy sessions in the presentation.

5 out of 5 stars

Source: Amazon

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  1. September 20, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    If you can imagine, I listened to the audiobook version of this story and was so moved and terrified by it. It certainly came to life even more so in the narrator’s capable voice, and even my husband, who normally doesn’t listen to audiobooks, was completely engaged and disturbed by the story. We listened to this on a long road trip and we even took a detour so we could finish the story before getting to our destination. Freaky stuff.

    • September 20, 2014 at 3:42 pm

      Oh gosh, I can just imagine what it must have been like to listen to this on audiobook! The one time I listened to a thriller on audiobook, I wound up scouring my entire apartment top to bottom so I’d have an excuse to keep listening, lol. I’m glad you both enjoyed it!

  2. September 20, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    I might try this on audio. I started reading it a while back and didn’t get into it. I’ve just started reading Summer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch and it’s pretty creepy, and probably even creepier on audio.

    • September 23, 2014 at 9:41 am

      Hopefully the audiobook will work for you! I definitely think the creepiness kicks up about halfway through.

  3. October 3, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    This is one of those books that I couldn’t stop thinking about after finishing it. A disturbing read but very hard to put down! I am glad that you enjoyed it so much!

  1. October 30, 2014 at 4:27 pm
  2. January 8, 2015 at 10:15 am

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