Monday, November 4, 2013
The Never List by Koethi Zan
3.0 out of 5 stars
This story is one that ALMOST might have come from recent current event newspaper articles.
Sarah and Jennifer were best friends with many of the same interests -- including the desire to protect themselves from danger to the point of compiling risk assessments and a "Never List' of things they simply would not expose themselves to. Their attention to the list and their safety is all for naught, however, when they are kidnapped by a man who kept them, and two other girls, captive in a cellar for 3 years. The girls were starved and tortured. Jennifer was kept locked in a box down there, and eventually was taken out of the cellar and likely murdered.
Flash forward years later. Jennifer is presumed dead and Sarah is trying to regain control of her life. Now an agoraphobic, she doesn't leave her apartment and is still not recovered. When she gets yet another taunting letter from her captor who is about to come up for parole, she makes a determined effort to face the past and try to recover Jennifer's body to get some closure and also to prevent the release of her captor. She leaves her apartment and relative safety to return to the scene of her imprisonment and also reunites with the other two victims for the first time since they all were rescued.
This story started out well but then became quite convoluted and completely unbelievable. The situations that Sarah put herself in required more suspension of disbelief than I was capable of. Many times I almost scoffed out loud at the perilous predicaments that she was all of a sudden able to manage. It was a good premise, but ultimately the tale was unsatisfying and ludicrous. I simply did not like any of the one-dimensional characters nor did I buy into how they reacted to the events that transpired once they decided to revisit what had happened to them and begin playing amateur detectives. Their decisions and activities made no sense given what they had been through. The story line takes a sudden twist adding in a new dimension and more flat characters to the original crime and I didn't buy into that grand scheme either.
All in all, although it was absorbing and entertaining at first, and I did finish it quickly, I was disappointed in the novel. As far as recommending the book, it would depend on the particular person, but the whole story just didn't ring realistic and true despite the fact that recent current events report on other cases of long term imprisonment and kidnapping that are much more chilling than this tale. I just didn't buy into Sarah being so damaged and then all of a sudden able to do all this investigation from her new-found willpower and without any police or FBI oversight. I would likely try the next book by the author, however. It might make a good choice for a book club if only to talk about whether or not one can actually predict every possibility for oneself enough to ever be completely SAFE.
Thank you to NetGalley and PENGUIN GROUP Viking for the E-book ARC to review.