I read The Never List last year when I was binge reading psychological thrillers like my life depended on it. Some of the stories I read have blurred in my memory. Others disappeared completely. Earlier this year, I picked out an interesting looking book from my extensive library. I was a few pages in before I realized that it sounded too familiar. Needless to say, I’ll have to reread that one before I write a review. But that won’t be necessary with Koethi Zan’s novel.
“For years, best friends Sarah and Jennifer kept what they called the “Never List”: a list of actions to be avoided, for safety’s sake, at all costs. But one night, against their best instincts, they accept a cab ride with grave, everlasting consequences. For the next three years, they are held captive with two other girls in a dungeon-like cellar by a connoisseur of sadism.
Ten years later, at thirty-one, Sarah is still struggling to resume a normal life, living as a virtual recluse under a new name, unable to come to grips with the fact that Jennifer didn’t make it out of that cellar. Now, her abductor is up for parole and Sarah can no longer ignore the twisted letters he sends from jail.
Finally, Sarah decides to confront her phobias and the other survivors—who hold their own deep grudges against her. When she goes on a cross-country chase that takes her into the perverse world of BDSM, secret cults, and the arcane study of torture, she begins unraveling a mystery more horrifying than even she could have imagined.”Goodreads
I Enjoyed This Book
This wasn’t my favorite book of all time but I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I brought it with me on the subway and read on my daily commute. It kept my interest despite the distractions of transfers that come with navigating NYC. I enjoyed the writing, the characters and all the twists. While I live for these twists, many people who reviewed the book complained that there were too many.
I love to watch movies and read books that contain gruesome violence. However, I don’t like to see the bloody scenes on screen or in my head. I actually stopped reading a Dean Koontz book because he described something right out of my worst nightmares. The author of The Never List did an incredible job at describing the torture, rape and starvation in a way that wasn’t too much to bear.
Another reviewer on Goodreads explains this better:
“The novel was not as “dark” as I expected, in fact after reading the back cover info I almost decided against reading this book, I thought it would be too gruesome and horrific for my taste. However as in all good psychological thrillers the tension and drama is created by what is not said, but what is alluded to or made reference to, and Zan uses this method to good effect.”Goodreads: Carol – Reading Writing and Riesling
While I liked this book and would consider rereading in it one day, many hated it. It is a common theme for the books I like to get shredded by Goodreads reviewers. Out of 12,000+ ratings, this book got 3.6 stars and most people either loved it or hated it. There’s not much in between.
It looks like Koethi Zan has only written one other book. The Follower, published in 2017 has even tougher score despite only having 300+ ratings. While it’s not at the top of my to-read list, I am definitely hoping to read this eventually. I hope the author isn’t discouraged by the critics and keeps sharing her unique stories with the world.
You can buy The Never List by Koethi Zan on Amazon using this link.
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