Title: The Never List
Author: Koethi Zan
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books PENGUIN GROUP Viking
Source: Advance copy via NetGalley
Release Date: July 16th 2013
Rating: 2 out of 5
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 unravelling a mystery more horrifying than even she could have imagined.
I was mildly curious when I read the reviews for this book. It’s supposed to be dark and disturbing. It starts with Sarah, the main character, detailing how she and her best friend–due to trauma–became obsessed with statistics and safety. Yet, one day in college, they go against their safety rules, their titular ‘Never List’ and go to a party. Against their own rules and stupidity, they get in a car that apparently has no cab markings whatsoever and end up in a basement and tortured for three years. I sympathise about most of the victims in books but many of the characters just act so stupid in this one.
The characters are bland, non engaging. The twists and turns are silly and incomprehensible. The ending is very stupid too. No other word really. It isn’t a bad book or a throwaway just that I wasn’t entertained or engaged. It was a quick read and unrealistic on many levels.