ISBN #: 978-0670026517
Page Count: 320
Copyright: July 16, 2013
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
(Taken from Amazon)
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.
I must say that I struggled a bit writing this review. Not because it was a bad story, but because I kept wanting to focus on the character's past. Our past does help define who we are and what we become, so I'll try to keep my comments on Sarah's past short.
Generally, when people have phobias there's a root cause. Sarah and Jennifer created their "Never List" as a result from a tragedy involving Jennifer's parents. The result of creating the "Never List" was that they both became slightly neurotic. They wouldn't go to certain events, they would only use certain car companies, etc. I think this is what made it easy for their kidnapper to get them. They were creatures of habit. All their kidnapper had to do was pay attention to how they acted and he could figure out their routine ... something Sarah and Jennifer did not factor into their "Never List."
Sarah spends three years with her kidnapper and tormentor before she escapes. I do find it a little difficult to believe someone could have such willpower and determination after being held captive (and tortured) for three years. Please note, I did not say it was impossible, just difficult to believe. Instead of going off on that tangent, though, let me continue on with the review.
So Sarah escapes ... ten years later she is still majorly affected by her past (and rightfully so). She must face her demons head-on in order to go against her ex-captor in his parole hearing. Her psychiatrist and an FBI agent have been working with Sarah to prepare her for the upcoming court date. Sarah, along with one of the ladies who was in the captor's basement with her, decides to take matters into her own hands. She knows her ex-captor's trying to tell her something in the letters she keeps receiving from him while he's in prison. In order to figure it out, Sarah has to go back to where her nightmares all began. It is this quest that the book mainly focuses on.
I liked how the book focused on the present, but gave the reader everything they wanted to know about the past. Knowing the captor's name from the start doesn't deter away from the thrilling aspect of this novel. In fact, I think it even enhances the thrill because you get to know him and how twisted he is. I was a little confused by Sarah and Tracy's rescuer (in the present while on their quest, not while they were in the basement). The character seemed to be almost obsolete from the story and then, BAM!, they're back in the storyline full-throttle. It was a little disconcerting and unbelievable. Despite that, though, I loved The Never List. I will be reading it again and would recommend it to readers who love thrillers and/or mysteries.
*A hard copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
There is one copy available from the publisher up for grabs. The winner must live in the US. No PO Boxes, please. This giveaway will last for one week. At the end of the week, a winner will be randomly chosen. The winner will have 48 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, another winner will be randomly chosen.