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Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Never List by Koethi Zan - a review

As young girls, from middle school to the preliminary years in college, Sarah and Jennifer were inseparable. Afraid of everything from earthquakes to rapists, they made up a series of rules. They called it the Never List. Until they unfortunately violated a basic rule, “never get in a car with strangers,” their lives were pretty straightforward.

When they realized that something about the cab ride was out of the ordinary, it was too late. For the next three years they, and two other girls, where imprisoned in the basement of a house, brutally tortured, raped, beaten, and starved. The opening lines of this novel sound chillingly real: “There were four of us down there… and then, very suddenly and without warning, there were three.”

With the three girls released and their captor, a former college professor, sitting in a jail cell, their lives could go on, but for Sarah it could never end there. Jennifer’s body was never found and she can’t move on until she brings closure to her situation. With the reluctant help from the other two girls that survived with her, they build a trail, going back into the past to move into the future. Their journey becomes a cross-country chase involving religious cults and BDSM dungeons, all leading back provokingly to her past jailer, a man who is about to be set free on probation unless the secret location of the missing body can be unraveled.

As witnesses step forward, you wonder how the police could have missed these clues in their original investigation. The three girls once again find themselves trapped in their original torture chamber and all the pieces fall into place, leaving the reader twisting in the wind as the startling ending jumps out from the darkest place with a loud BOO!

A fast-paced, don’t-dare-put-the-book-down read that will leave you cringing as your darkest fears emerge from the shadows as Zhan takes you to the places you never wanted to go.

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