Friday, July 19, 2013

BOOK REVIEW - THE NEVER LIST by KOETHI ZAN - PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER - VIKING - PENGUIN

By: Koethi Zan
Published By : Viking, Penguin
Released: Available Now
Details: Digital for review, 320 Pages

RATING: 3.75 EVIL VILLAIN STARS!

Blurb: Goodreads

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.


BOOK REVIEW by Michelle:

We hadn’t counted on actual evil as our enemy rather than blind statistical possibility. 

I do enjoy a thriller, they give your heart a jump start in places combined with twists, watching the villain trying to outplay the reader and their victim.

I thought Koethi did a good job of her debut book. Thriller’s I think personally would be very hard to write as you are trying to stay a step ahead of the reader and give them a thrill, a rush, plus put a jigsaw puzzle together along the way that the reader understands and gets entertained by.

Koethi’s story of girls kidnapped and tortured, well to be truthful , frightens the hell out of me. This happens in real life and Koethi puts her characters through some very , very painful events.

I had a bit of trouble with going back and forth with the name Sarah and Caroline. Now we know one is what she hides behind and one is her real name, but even I was getting confused in the end depending on what character was addressing her. Jim the agent got told off for calling her Caroline, but then she was calling herself Caroline, for reasons, but sometimes she was Sarah.

“Caroline.” Agent McCordy was rapping at my door, while I stood frozen to the spot on the other side.

“Caroline ,can you open up?”

“Sarah,” I corrected, through the door, annoyed that he was following protocol, using that other name, the one I reserved for the outside world.

“I’m sorry - I mean, Sarah. Can you let me in?” 


I would really have liked Agent McCordy brought more into the story. I felt as an FBI agent, he should really have been running the show. Sarah aka Caroline, had spent ten years in what can loosely be called freedom, as really, after what had happened to them, what is freedom? I don’t know how anybody could function after what had happened to those girls. Dr Simmons was there , but Sarah aka Caroline was always evading her.


“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Just that. Just that I know you put a lot of pressure on yourself. And in this case, there are a lot of other people bearing the burden of keeping XXXX XXXX in jail, it’s not all on you.”



But Sarah was kind of wearing the burden to keep the villain in jail. Agent McCordy came through every now and then, but after some prodding.

I am going to just call her Sarah from now on, she went from a recluse, holed up in her high up locked at all times apartment, to out being Nancy Drew and putting herself in the road of so much danger. She still has her quirks and reminds herself of her Never List. The what you should never do list. But she broke through that to go doing stuff that was not conducive to keeping herself safe.

Thirteen Years later, anyone who didn’t know me - and let’s face it, no one did - might think I was living the dream life of a single girl in New York City. They might think everything had turned out all right for me in the end. I had moved on. Gotten over it. Survived the trauma.

I did pick some of the villain stuff going on. I won’t say anymore due to spoilers, but I wasn’t surprised at the end. But, in saying that I got a few really cool no way could you pick the twists coming, which I really enjoyed.

Sometimes I thought the plot was throwing too much at the reader. I mean there is fast paced...which is what a thriller needs, and there is less is more so you can concentrate and flesh out more the important plot drivers.

There are a lot, of what I term , ‘floating characters’ in this book. They are really only used to come into the story to move it along, then they float out of it.

This is not a romance people. You will not be finding any of that in here. This is a story about...well I can’t tell you that, you will have to read it yourself.

I enjoyed the major sub characters back story’s as it gave me further insight. I actually liked Tracy more than the lead, Sarah. Tracy has had it real tough, her whole life. She has depth to her character. I enjoyed reading her.

I was picking up on little things that annoyed me as the reader. Things like exactly how many days that Sarah had been in the Cellar, or something had happened but no reference to how she would even know that.

I felt that FBI being..well, the FBI ,and this case being so publicised that it shouldn’t have been up to the girls to go all Nancy Drew to get things looked into. I mean there was a lot, like an ENORMOUS amount at stake for the villains involved. As the only survivors, they could have been taken out, to possibly stop any meddling in future investigations, hence the parole coming up for the Cellar villain. I am trying not to give spoilers. Considering what was happening in the villain’s world of evil, allowing them to live on, was a bit odd for me to understand. It felt too easy for Sarah and the girls, but mostly Sarah to find out all the information she did, and how easily she did it by just asking questions and following leads. Why wasn’t the FBI doing that.

Come on Agent McCordy. You need to employ Sarah, she did a brilliant job of investigating and doing the math.

“Jim, I know you have massive databases and minions to troll through all that information. I want you to do something for us. I know you think everything I am doing is far-fetched, but if you do this for me, I promise I will show up at the hearing and cry my eyes out before that parole board.”


Tracy frowned at me. “You think there are things the FBI missed?”


Errrr, yeah, I think we have worked that out. 

I think I felt that sometimes the sub characters were too easily written to accommodate Sarah and her Nancy Drew investigating. I would have thought the FBI would have done enough homework to put a female plant in to flush out the operation that the evil ones were a part of. I mean some pretty horrendous stuff was going on. To not fight the parole of this evil individual, even by her parents, by concerned citizens, by lawyers... I mean this is one sick person, very dangerous mentally and physically. There is no way you can rehabilitate this type of person.

The brand was another thing that I would have thought the FBI could have used as a lead. The image it loosely portrayed.

I had a bit of a WT moment when something happened and one of the girls at the cop station just upped and left. I mean, what about a medical clearance and some clothes, food after a very long horrendous ordeal. It was kind of blasé how she just decided to up and leave and try her chances on her own. These girls had been through torture and ...... and ....... and she just upped and left. I did a WT! at that.

I did enjoy this read. It was very unsettling in parts. Koethi delivered the evil , very , very well. She does paint a bigger picture than first thought and will give you that twist buzz where you get blindsided.

A very frightening look into what humans are capable of doing to another human, how far they will go to break somebody in both body and soul until there is nothing left.


Captivity does things to you. It shows you how base an animal you can be. How you’d do anything to stay alive and suffer a little bit less than the day before.



Michelle

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