Author: Chevy Stevens
Genre: Modern Fiction
Quick Review: disturbing & compelling
First Line: "You know, Doc, you're not the first shrink I've seen since I got back."
Synopsis: Realtor Annie O'Sullivan is just closing up the open house she's been at all afternoon when a man approaches her and asks to have a quick look at the house. Annie agrees and it's a decision that will change to course of her life. Annie is abducted and held hostage by this deranged man who abuses her both mentally and physically for a year.
There are two parts to Annie's story. The first details the year Annie was in held in captivity by this mad man. The second describes the nightmare that she lives through once she escapes (as told via discussions with her psychiatrist). Once freed she helps the police track down the real identity of her captor (she named The Freak) and how he came to choose her to abduct.
My Thoughts: I had heard great reviews of this book from one of my oldest friends (who has very similar book tastes to my own) as well as my Fairy Bookmother. After reading it I was surprised to learn that this was the author's debut novel. A huge undertaking for a first timer but done with wonderful execution and feeling.
It was also one of my possible choices for my book club selection. While I loved this book I think that the raw and brutal nature of the book would have been too much for my book club.
This is one of those books that you'll find hard to put down. At times I felt like I was reading with one hand in front of my eyes because I wanted to know what happened ... but at the same time I didn't want to read about the hell Annie went through. Does that make any sense?
From the write up on the book jacket the reader is prepared that it isn't going to be a feel good kind of book so the abuse that is inflicted on Annie isn't a surprise. But it is truly heartbreaking to see what Annie endures while held against her will in that small mountain cabin and it's equally disturbing to see how that abuse affects her once she's freed. We see Annie struggle with her newfound fame and even more importantly how she learns to live and survive after the abuse.
The author has a wonderful understanding and ability to voice Annie's inner thoughts which makes Annie feel real and believable. You know that the horror and mental abuse Annie suffered through aren't going to be overcome quickly or by the end of the book but will be part of Annie for the rest of her life.
This story is filled with twists and turns that make the reader keep guessing who is behind Annie's kidnapping until the very end. The story is raw and vivid and shows the underbelly of humanity, and sadly, what some people are capable of doing to others.
My Rating: 4.5/5 stars