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Reading: "The Never List" by Koethi Zan (On Sale July 16, 2013)
What it's about: (from the back cover)
For years, best friends Sarah and Jennifer kept what they called the "Never List": a list of actions to be avoided, for saftey's sake, at all costs. But one night 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, 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.
How I got it/Initial thoughts: Via Shelf Awareness, a subscription email, I applied for the offer of a free ARC (advance reader copy) from the publisher, Penguin.  The book was touted as a new kind of "Gone Girl" (isn't everything lately?) and a fast-paced thriller. The quote on the back, from Jeffrey Deaver (he wrote Dexter, right?...no, apparently he wrote other things...who writes Dexter? ah, Jeff Lindsay...thanks, Google) claims that I better cancel my appointments and prepare to give up on sleep.  Given my trouble with getting truly hooked on novels lately, I was supremely Excited with a capital E to start it.
Thoughts: At the time of this review, I'm on page 225 of 303 pages.  In the beginning, it was definitely fast-paced, though I have definitely found myself skimming certain parts as I am wont to do when I'm just really interested in how everything gets resolved. This isn't the fault of the author, I just think that unless the writing is precisely perfect (for me, not the general public) I tend to breeze through unnecessary details to get to the meaty stuff.  
In the beginning, I was really impressed by the plot.  Revolving around the 4 women who were kidnapped and held captive in a basement and tortured psychologically and physically for over 3 years, the story initially reminded me of "The Room" by Emma Donoghue, which I absolutely loved. I liked the writing, it was straight and to the point and most importantly, believable.  Obviously the plot is disturbing, but as a woman who loves SVU marathons, it wasn't entirely outrageous for me, though I will admit that some details made me uncomfortable.  I found the investigation into the BDSM lifestyle extremely interesting, especially in the aftermath of 50 Shades, where it became the "new sexy" for housewives everywhere. This book, while not condemning BDSM practicers, does sort of remind its audience that it's a potentially dangerous affair.
While I haven't finished the book, I have become a little less involved--at some point in the book, things seem to fall into place a little too easily and a little too completely.  I promise to update if things change by the end, but right now, it's actually reading a little bit like an episode of SVU, like it has to wrap up in under an hour, and I don't know how much I like that. 
Still, it's an interesting and definitely fast paced read, and I think it would appeal to readers of "Room", and "Gone Girl".  I'll keep you posted on my opinion when I finish it. 
Rating: (so far) 6.9/10

UPDATE: I've finished it.  I was correct in my initial review.  It wrapped up a bit too succinctly for me and I sort of saw the big twist coming.  Still, I wouldn't say it's NOT worth reading, so check it out!

 


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