The Never List by Koethi Zan

Posted on 11/14/2013 in Book Review / 3 Comments

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
The Never List by Koethi ZanThe Never List by Koethi Zan
Published by Pamela Dorman Books on 7/16/2013
Genres: Adult, Suspense, Thriller
Pages: 303
Format: ARC

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

\r\nFor 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.\r\n\r\nTen 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.\r\n\r\nFinally, 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.\r\n\r\nA shocking, blazingly fast read, Koethi Zan’s debut is a must for fans of Karin Slaughter, Laura Lippman, and S.J. Watson.

WOW!!  Did you read the synopsis? Did you see that this book was written by a debut author?  Did you see that prior to being a writer she was an entertainment lawyer and worked at MTV??!!  Did you know the book is about women strength, captivity, torture and sadism??  How could you not want to read this book?!  I was jumping up and down with excitement to get my grubby little hands on this book.

I squealed with joy when the book arrived in the mail! Not only was I impressed by the book cover (yes Jenn, I liked the book cover) but I’m not going to lie, it was a brand new book and I smelled the pages!  What heaven it was!!  Along with the book, I got an author interview that was very intriguing and my very own Never List.  I read all 33 don’ts.  I must say, I follow about 2/3’s of this list that I learned from my own mother!!!  LOL

Here is a sample of the Never List

  1. Never hitchhike
  2. Never scream “help”.  Scream “Fire”, people are cowards
  3. Never be predictable: change daily routines
  4. Never ignore your gut
  5. Never enter parking garages at night. Just don’t
  6. Never forget to have keys out and ready
  7. Never be distracted.  When walking down the street, don’t phone, email, listen to music, search through your purse
  8. Never leave car doors unlocked, whether you’re in or out
  9. Never fall for the fake injury, lost dog, query for directions.  Never get close, stay moving
  10. Never wear a nametag away from work.  Don’t let them fool you into thinking you know them


I found nothing wrong with this book at all!  The writing flowed very well from scene to scene.  I loved how the author described how a person with a phobia, copes in a world today.   How each woman that survived the trauma functions with each other several years later, and with new traumas that develop.  I liked the knowledge the author gives us about taboo subjects that are becoming social norms.  I liked the moral of the story.  But most of all, I loved the lessons the book taught me:

  • No matter what your social class is or the region of the country you live in, no one is excluded from the demented minds of creeps, stalkers, sociopaths, psychopaths, rapists, murderers and serial killers
  • You will do things you never thought yourself capable of when forced into survival mode


The only thing I could have asked more for was detailed descriptions of what happened to the four women that were forced against their will to live in a house/basement as slaves, being tortured and degraded just because a man could. The book simply gave you flash back moments of what happened in the house but not really any long winded detail.  This book definitely showed you that as a woman, when pushed too far, you will do things you never thought you were capable doing to be free.

The characters where great!  There was a different type of woman described in the book that any woman can relate too!  I did not feel that the characters seemed out of place or too much of something and not enough of something else.  They were written as real as could be.  Make no mistake, this book is no fantasy.  This book is real and it felt real.  I felt like I was reading a non-fiction novel as opposed to a made up story.  That is how wonderful this book was written, from the plot, story, characters to everything!!  And yes, I was shocked at the twist!

This is the second book I have ever come across that would make a GREAT movie (if the movie was done right and not made to be a typical Hollywood money maker).  This is an adult book with adult content but some part of me does think that the right type of teenage girl should read this book and walk away with the lessons it has to offer.  This book is not for the light-hearted.  If certain subjects are too harsh for your delicate sense of morals, this is not for you.  This book does not sugarcoat anything.  It is very much in your face with vivid descriptions of BDSM, torture and phobias.  If you have read this book, let me know your thoughts on it!!  I can’t wait for the authors second book.

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The earliest movie Kristina can remember watching is “The Neverending Story”. It was all downhill from there. She then watched any movie she could from old black-n-white, classic musicals to the current movies coming out. While other kids were outside playing, Kristina could be found watching movies over and over and over again, experiencing new things each time she watched them, memorizing lines and acting out the scenes. She loves everything about them from the directing, set & costume design, acting and foundtrack/film score. Her favorite genres are B-movies, British films and other foreign films.


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