Review: The Never List

indexThe Never List by Koethi Zan

The most relentless, deeply disturbing thriller writer since Jeffery Deaver and Gillian Flynn

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.

A shocking, blazingly fast read, Koethi Zan’s debut is a must for fans of Karin Slaughter, Laura Lippman, and S.J. Watson.

I love thrillers and it’s been a while since I’ve read one as good as this.  It is incredibly difficult to believe that this is a debut novel.  I literally could not put this book down, I found myself simultaneously desperate to see what happened next while almost being scared to read on – an amazing feat in any book.

This book was so intense and the plot twists and turns at breakneck speed. The characters are all perfectly crafted and completely believable, as is the story, which adds to the terror.  I love the way Zan alludes to the specifics of the girl’s ordeal rather than spelling it out in all its gory detail.  This for me makes it all the more startling as it forces the imagination to fill in the gaps.  I would never have guessed the big plot twist at the end in a million years. I finsihed reading this literally sitting on the edge of my seat – or bed – desperate to see how it turned out.

I read this in one sitting, staying awake until the early hours to finish.  I almost wish I could go back in time to before I read it, just so I could read it and experience it again.

I give a very rare 5/5 for this book (I’d give higher if I could)  and would recommend it to anyone who loves a psychological thriller.  Maybe best not to read it late at night when you’re alone, though.

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