Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Review: The Never List by Koethi Zan

I have finished The Never List by Koethi Zan and I have to admit it was quite a rollercoaster ride. Sarah begins to tell us readers about her past and how ironic it was that someone such as herself and her best friend Jennifer were forced into a cellar for 3 years, 13 years earlier. What prompts her to tell her story is because Jack Derber, the man who abducted them, is up for parole. She's received letters from him over the years but with urgency of his possible release, Sarah decides these letters may in fact be a game and could possibly lead her to the body. The body could give the FEDs the case they need to keep him in jail under murder charges as opposed to the lesser charges he's currently serving.

Koethi Zan paints an intense portrait of a woman who's still battling the demons of being subjected to heinous cruelties when in captivity along with three other girls. She embarks on a journey that could either kill her or liberate her. She's become a recluse who doesn't leave her home (for obvious reasons). Although she has moved on with her life under and assumed identity, she's definitely hit a wall with her therapy. Researching the possibilities in the leters, and enlisting the help of the other girls is essential in deciphering the clues, gives her a purpose and redemption. 

My major flaw with this novel that I found to be a stretch of the imagination, although necessary to move the plot forward, is the fact that someone who's been living, working, and possibly agoraphobic could find the courage to leave their home. I mean one moment she's compulsively anticipating the click in a locked door to her home, to someone who jets from Boston, to Oregon, to New Orleans, to wherever the call of duty requires. Once she's in these places, she placed into extremely uncomfortable situations that anyone suffering from PTSD would never want to be in. But... in an effort to move the story forward... she recovers. I understand this goes to show the strength in her character, I just found it to be too unbelieveable. Or maybe not developed fully enough.

The story goes back and forth between the past and tells the story of the "Never" list. I think it adds great insight to the personality of our heroine Sarah, so I won't tell it. I'm sure other reviews may. 

One other gripe I have is that the climax happened and then it was over way too fast. I think it was over the same page it began. I like gradual buildups more so than a wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am. I do like the ending. I don't think it could have gone any better than it did I just wish Zan had savored the moment longer.

The blurbs got it right when they say The Never List is a page-turner. There wasn't a moment something wasn't going on. Sure, character development suffers when this is the case, but I still found Sarah to be quite enjoyable. I worried for her the entire time she went from seedy BDSM clubs, to even scarier places all in the search for truth. She wasn't as whiny as many characters are written to be when they are survivors. What I've learned from The Never List is that there is no amount of preparation or any list that can save someone from fate. ****

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