Want to get away? I mean really away? I mean so away that you won’t even know that the place you have been transported to could even exist? I am not talking about alternate universes or some sort of fantastical made up world. No, I am talking about a modern-day, hair-raising thriller that will have you flying through the chapters, while double checking your locks at the same time. I am talking about a great recommendation for your next book club meeting. I am talking about STILL MISSING by newcomer–and one to watch–Chevy Stevens.

STILL MISSING features Annie O’Sullivan, a 32 year old realtor closing up shop after an ill-attended open house when a pleasant looking prospect pops in for just a peek. Knowing that her boyfriend Luke is patiently waiting on her for dinner, Annie hesitates to spend any extra time on an unlikely buyer. But a warm smile and friendly demeanor causes her to take the few extra minutes for one last showing. It’s that split second decision that changes everything for Annie. In just a matter of minutes, she’s being directed at gunpoint into a van, drugged and taken to a remote cabin in the mountains where she will remain missing for a year.

So have I just given everything away? Hardly.

The book actually opens with Annie having returned from this harrowing ordeal and recounting all of the events in counseling sessions to a therapist. Details that include her new life under the controlling arm of “The Freak”, as Annie calls him, a crazy psychopath who dresses her, bathes her, rapes her, tells her when she can go to the bathroom and directs what and when she can eat.

So what’s left to tell? A lot, actually.

Stevens’ second story line–Annie’s life in the present, seeking therapy and working with the police to solve her mystery–is chock full twists and turns that had me guessing until the end. In fact, no one in my entire book club was able to figure it out. A great sign of a good thriller, go figure. Many of us said that STILL MISSING is so frighteningly real that we had to keep reminding ourselves that this was a work of fiction and not a story ripped from the headlines. Most of us couldn’t read it at night, but were quick to pick it right back up during daylight hours. More signs of a good thriller.

It isn’t often that I am so repulsed by the actions of a story’s villian, yet so compelled to keep reading. I think that was due in large part to Stevens’ ability to capture the anger, fear and vulnerabilities a person like Annie would undoubtedly experience after such an ordeal under her crazed captor. It was fascinating to see how it would all eventually unfold. My only complaint with the story was around the very predictable interaction Annie had with the lead investigator on her case. It was completely unnecessary and didn’t do anything to propel the story forward. With that said, STILL MISSING is a highly engrossing read and one that leaves you thankful it’s a complete and total fabrication.

Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Thriller
Pages: 352