Genre: Fiction; Mystery; Thriller
Rating: 2.5 / 5
Note: There are NO spoilers in this review. When discussing in the comments, please provide a spoiler warning if needed.
Over the past two weeks I have found it very difficult to write this review. Not because I don’t have a lot to say, I have many things to say. I’m so good at being excited and passionate. I’m not very good at sharing negative feedback on the books I read.
While browsing 2nd and Charles, I came across Chevy Stevens’s debut novel and knew immediately I wanted to read it. I really enjoyed her novels Those Girls and Never Let You Go. I have one requirement for thriller/mystery novels – I want a surprise ending or revelation. In the two novels I read previously, the “big reveal” was flawlessly executed but, unfortunately, this one fell short. (Or perhaps I was used to her twists enough that they were easier to spot.)
The style of the book really stood out and had me hooked right away. The narrator/main character, Annie O’Sullivan, recounts her abduction and what came after to her therapist. It’s a style I haven’t read before and I really enjoyed it at the start of the novel. Definitely a creative way to allow the narrator to tell us what happened to them. In this story, it allows for more honesty than might have been present if Annie were talking to someone else like a close friend or family member.
For me, once we move past the story of Annie’s abduction, the one-way conversation with her therapist starts to feel a little off. I’m not entirely sure what it is, but I think at the point where she stops talking about what happened to her and starts discussing the daily events happening in her life it loses some of the genuine feeling. I want a real-time account of everything that was unfolding, not a calm and collecting re-telling more than a week later.
Here is this woman, who was kidnapped and etcetera (I promised no spoilers) and she’s just calmly sitting there talking about it with her therapist. Her world is literally falling to pieces, even after she comes home, and the experience is too clean. It’s all too easy.
From the moment she escapes (not a spoiler, she starts off talking to her therapist and immediately mentions that it’s all past tense) it just all feels too clean.
And then, as with every other Chevy Stevens novel, the victim effortlessly loses herself in the arms of a man with a savior complex? Nope. Too easy. Too clean.
All of that to say – I finished the book. I stayed up late reading and hoping for a BOOM kind of ending. Toward the end when I started to realize what was happening and how events were unfolding, my reading slowed. There was so much build-up, so much potential, but at the end I felt like the story took the easy way out. I wanted to be surprised, but turning the final pages I only felt disappointment.
If you are going to read a novel by Chevy Stevens, I recommend Never Let You Go as a first. It has everything you want in a thriller.
Buy Still Missing by Chevy Stevens at my local bookstore here, Scrawl Books (Reston, VA).
Have you read Still Missing or other novels by Chevy Stevens? Let’s talk about it! Leave a comment or send me a message.