Having finished THE SENTRY by Robert Crais, I looked up on my creaking bookshelves last night to decide what to read next. So many choices, so many good recommendations, so many new-to-me authors to try...
Having read US (several states/regions), Scottish, Cambodian, Thai, New Zealand and Australian crime fiction in the past few weeks, I thought I should give another country/region a go now - especially as I have signed up once more for the 2011 edition of Dorte Jakobsen's excellent Global Reading Challenge (highly recommended - information available and register here).
For whatever reason, I felt like something Canadian. There are many terrific Canadian crime writers out there - like New Zealand authors they are often overlooked, in favour of lesser but more publicised authors from bigger markets, by many readers and reviewers. I have a few 'new-to-me' ones waiting on my TBR shelves, and after a bit of mulling, decided to give STILL MISSING, a debut thriller by Chevy Stevens, a go. I'd heard very good things about this book, but hadn't yet got around to it. Time to fix that.
It's set on Vancouver Island too, which is a bonus. For those who aren't familiar with Vancouver Island, it's a lovely, rugged setting off the west coast of British Columbia. I really enjoyed spending a couple of days there when I was in Canada in 2008. Several crime writers actually live on Vancouver Island or the Gulf Islands (an array of smaller islands in the area) off the Canadian coast, including the iconic William Deverell, who I had the pleasure of meeting in Vancouver, and Ngaio Marsh Award judge Lou Allin. I can understand why - it's a terrific place.
Here's the blurb for STILL MISSING: "On the day she was abducted, Annie O’Sullivan, a thirty-two year old Realtor, had three goals—sell a house, forget about a recent argument with her mother, and be on time for dinner with her ever- patient boyfriend. The open house is slow, but when her last visitor of the day pulls up in a van as she's about to leave, Annie thinks it just might be her lucky day after all.
Interwoven with the story of the year Annie spent captive of a sadistic psychopath in a remote mountain cabin, which unfolds through sessions with her psychiatrist, is a second narrative recounting events following her escape—her struggle to piece her shattered spirit back together and the ongoing police investigation into the identity of her captor.
The truth doesn’t always set you free."
The book is written as a series of 'shrink' sessions where Annie recounts both what is happening to her now, and what happened to her back then. After starting the book late last night, I'm already well-hooked, and am flying through it. There's a nice 'narrative voice' to Annie's first-person narration - some personality and interesting ways of looking at things. The intrigue and mystery is building nicely too - which is a great effort by Stevens considering it's obvious from the first page that Annie survived the abduction. But there are many other important things to answer... I wouldn't be surprised if I finish this compelling tale sometime later today.
I will share my thoughts in due course, but in the meantime you can read more about Chevy Stevens and her writing at her website here.
Have you read STILL MISSING? If so, what did you think? Do you like reading 'globally' when it comes to crime fiction? Who are some of your favourite Canadian crime writers?