I will never forget the first novel I read by Chevy Stevens. I came across Still Missing at my local library in 2010 and devoured every page, reading by the light of my cell phone on a long bus ride home from some sporting event. The fucked up storyline is one that has stayed with me years later – the pages contents my attribution to why open houses make me uncomfortable and why I’ll never pursue a career in realty. I have since enjoyed all of Steven’s releases but never felt the visceral reaction that I did with that first book, until now. Eleven years after her first bestseller, Dark Roads was published and added to my ever-growing pile of books to read. I was a mere two chapters in when I knew this was going to be a book I was not putting down until I found out what happened.
Cold Creek Highway is a 500 mile-long stretch of remote, rugged wilderness that has for decades been the final place young women are seen. Year after year, bodies of some have been recovered along the cavernous highway but many have vanished with little evidence to whether they’ll ever be found. They are simply gone. Teenager Hailey McBride has lived in Cold Creek, one of the many small towns that dot the dangerous highway, her entire life. Her father has raised her to respect the mountainous terrain and how to survive off of it’s bounty, the foreboding danger of Cold Creek Highway ever-present in her upbringing. Her life is changed in an instant when a fatal accident leaves Hailey an unexpected orphan forcing her into the home of her aunt and overbearing police officer uncle. It doesn’t take long for Hailey to realize her uncle is using his badge to commit unforgivable crimes in their small town and she may be his next victim. Desperate to save herself and possibly other young women, she flees to the only place she feels at home – the vast wilderness surrounding the treacherous highway.
Hailey’s disappearance is lumped into the hundreds relating to Cold Creek Highway when another body is found – one of Hailey’s friends. Enter Beth Chevalier, the sister of the murdered teen determined to find out what happened to her sister and the connection she has to the missing Hailey McBride. Dark Roads paints a very real picture of the horrors of unsolved missing persons cases and will keep you guessing until the very last page.
The author mentions one inspiration for this novel was the Highway of Tears in Northern British Columbia, where women have been murdered and gone missing since the 1970’s. Many of these cases remain unsolved and it is a harsh reality that most involve Indigenous women – who experience a disproportionately higher rate of violence and homicide than the average woman in Canada. To learn more about the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women and the Highway of Tears please visit https://highwayoftears.org/ and https://www.mmiwg-ffada.ca/.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”Martin Luther King
Also by Chevy Stevens:
- Still Missing
- Dark Roads
- That Night
- Never Knowing
- Those Girls
- Always Watching
- Never Let You Go