The Never List by Koethi Zan. Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books / Viking (July 16, 2013). Fiction. Thriller. Hardcover. 303 pages. ISBN 978-0-670-02651-7.
In The Never List, a college professor held four women captive in a cellar—chained to the walls, put in cages/ boxes, tortured and sexually abused– for years until one manages to escape. Creepy premise and au currant after rescue of Cleveland women imprisoned and sexually assaulted for years. When the man responsible for this unimaginable behavior becomes eligible for parole 13 years later, two women begin their own investigation into BDSM clubs, cults and more. Jumping back and forth from past to present, first-time novelist Koethi Zan painstakingly describes the captive experience and its aftermath on the women’s current lives told from Sarah’s point of view. She’s the one still in therapy and in constant contact with the case’s lead detective.
“It was a history I revealed in isolate images. Me, blindfolded, my feet in chains hanging from the I-clamp bolted to the ceiling. Me, on the table, spread out like an inset for dissection, a catheter running to my bladder, filling me up milliliter by milliliter. Me, in the corner, strapped to a chair with my wrists cuffed behind me, a surgical needle piercing my tongue.”
Sarah works from home, safely ensconced in her apartment, ordering out for lunch and relying on the building’s 24-7 security. Christine erased any evidence to her years spent underground, now living a seemingly idyllic existence on the Manhattan’s Upper East Side, married with two daughters. Tracy, the Goth kid with her own dark past, delved into academia to make sense of it all.
I understand that in allowing these women to take down those responsible for the atrocities they suffered makes this about empowerment and justice. It’s the ultimate revenge for those trafficked and abused. Unfortunately, the story lost steam toward the end and I didn’t care the reasons for this deranged behavior that ruined young women’s lives forever. Knowing that this just happened in a Cleveland neighborhood made this a difficult read.
–review by Amy Steele
FTC Disclosure: I received this book for review from Viking.
Giveaway: I’m giving away a copy of The Never List courtesy of Pamela Dorman/Viking. Contest closes August 1. If interested, please leave a comment. Open to U.S. and Canadian residents only.