Sunday, May 16, 2010

STILL MISSING by Chevy Stevens

I read Still Missing by Chevy Stevens in one day. That’s not too surprising for me, I often do that. What is surprising is that a friend gave me the book at about 11am, I started it on my first 15 minute coffee break, my 45 minute lunch and when I left work at 8pm, after an hours drive home I stayed up to finish it.

Gripping. The word is gripping. I was mesmerized by this story. We have all read a similar headline: a woman realtor goes missing from an open house. Despite a massive search attempt, she is never found. Her family and friends have to go one with their lives.

And one year later, she reappears.

Annie has been held by a madman in a remote cabin for a full year. Waiting for rescue, unable to escape, dependent on only her wits for her survival, she has stayed alive, borne her captors child, and waited for her chance. And when she finally takes it, she comes back to a world where in many ways, she is, still missing.

Her trial has just begun. How do you come back from an experience like that and start to live a normal life? Her captor has so brutalized her that she can’t even urinate when she needs to, she has to wait for the bizarre schedule he set for her. She sleeps in the closet more often than not. Surrounded by well-wishers who have no idea what she needs or wants, she is adrift in a sea of rage, despair and grief. They want her to “get on with her life” and she is unable to move, paralyzed by fear.

The story is told first person, Annie to her psychiatrist. Stevens perfectly captures the “who gives a damn” of a depressive to the “I don’t need anybody” rage of the desperately alone and frightened. Like a shell-shocked war veteran, Annie is unable to escape the war already won. Or the ghosts of the already dead.

This is Chevy Stevens debut novel, and I am looking forward to more. Her characters are complex, fascinating, unusual, and gutsy. I really liked Annie. She is a heroine to be proud of.

Publisher: St. Martin's Press (July 6, 2010)
ISBN-13: 978-0312595678

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