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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Never say never... Memorable debut
4.5 stars.

A cleverly constructed story. Alternating chapters between the years when Sarah and three other girls are kidnapped and held captive in a cellar with the time ten years after, when their captor is about to be up for parole. This way you can 'enjoy' (though that's not the word!) the dark and frightening cellar scenes knowing that they do escape...
Published 15 months ago by K. J. Noyes

versus
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Decent Prose For Once, As For The Story...
Koethi Zan has the potential to write decent modern mysteries, but it's a shame she came out of the woodwork with this, which, despite the book's huge promotional campaign, isn't all that great.

The story is ham-fisted at times, with obvious twists and some unbelievable coincidences. The characters seem to jump in and out of certain traits that in earlier...
Published 9 months ago by B. Turnbull


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Decent Prose For Once, As For The Story..., 9 Mar 2014
By 
B. Turnbull (Newcastle, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: The Never List (Paperback)
Koethi Zan has the potential to write decent modern mysteries, but it's a shame she came out of the woodwork with this, which, despite the book's huge promotional campaign, isn't all that great.

The story is ham-fisted at times, with obvious twists and some unbelievable coincidences. The characters seem to jump in and out of certain traits that in earlier segments define them, making for an uneven experience overall. The conclusion pretty much sucks, as it opens the door for a sequel (please, Zan, resist the temptation), and by the time you've worked your way through, it really seems like a missed opportunity, as the opening is relatively strong.

Like "The Silent Wife", which was well-written but lacked an actual story, "The Never List" deceives you with an interesting event that is well-described (though literally given to you in the opening chapters, rather than revealed through introspection), but then becomes plain, dull, and at times, downright silly. Not something you'll be recommending to your friends, unless they want a brainless beach read. Which reminds me: am I the only one tired of the press comparing everything to "Gone Girl?" I mean, come on. "Gone Girl" wasn't so great itself. Guess I'll be waiting a while before the next big bestseller storms out of the gate with a quote telling me it's the next "Every Dead Thing"...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 23 Sep 2014
By 
Macey89 - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Never List (Kindle Edition)
Best friends Sarah and Jennifer list by the ‘Never List’ - a set of rules which dominate their lives. Above all, never take risks. But despite all their planning, the worst happens, and the girls are thrown into the middle of their worst nightmare.

Ten years later, Sarah is trying to move on with her life. But she’s still tormented by the past and trapped in a prison of her own making, and it seems that her persecutor hasn’t forgotten her. To give herself any chance of having a normal future, Sarah must face up to her demons. But is she putting herself back in harm’s way? And will what she is about to discover destroy her forever?

Koethi Zan’s The Never List was quite readable, but to me, it didn’t feel like it really offered anything new to the genre. The characters are described as going through some intense emotions, but they never really came alive to me and fell a little flat. The story trundles along well and picks up pace with some well-placed action scenes towards the end, but the twists were disappointingly predictable.

The author plays on society’s fears of hidden sociopaths disguised in plain sight.The villain of the piece is a professor, using the world of academia and the respectability that it brings to hide his true, darker self. To me, it felt a touch exploitative, drawing on our fascination with the macabre and the suffering of real women who really have been placed in this type of situation.

It uses the same kind of subject matter as Emma Donoghue’s Room, even if the actual abuse suffered varies in nature, but the latter manages at least to shake the genre up a bit and offers a new perspective.

Less than two months after reading, I found that I had to look up the names of the main characters again so that I could write this review. All in all, it was a fairly average and forgettable read. If you’re just looking for a something quick and not too taxing, it might be good for a beach read, but otherwise I’d steer clear! There are much better thrillers out there that are much more worthy of the time and effort!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Never say never... Memorable debut, 11 Sep 2013
By 
K. J. Noyes "Katy Noyes" (Derbyshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Never List (Hardcover)
4.5 stars.

A cleverly constructed story. Alternating chapters between the years when Sarah and three other girls are kidnapped and held captive in a cellar with the time ten years after, when their captor is about to be up for parole. This way you can 'enjoy' (though that's not the word!) the dark and frightening cellar scenes knowing that they do escape.

But that's not to say the danger is over...

Without delving further into the plot after they escape, Sarah and Jennifer are safety-conscious students, aware of danger and threat but caught anyway (making a silly mistake). Two other girls are also trapped by a very clever and dangerous man. Years later, none have truly recovered, but all must relive their painful memories to keep him locked up and to solve the puzzle of how and why it all happened.

Very tense, very scary, with just enough detail of the cellar years to disgust without being graphic. A shocking story, once the truths come out. Everyone, it appears, has secrets. And a very assured and competent debut. I raced through it in a couple of days, keen to unravel the whole story.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read. Didn't want to put it down., 3 Sep 2013
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This review is from: The Never List (Hardcover)
I would have finished this book in one sitting if I didn't have kids disturbing me! It's a page turner.Nice twist at the end but not completely unexpected. Def worth a read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Could have been so much better, 3 Feb 2014
This review is from: The Never List (Paperback)
I thought this started well and then deteriorated rapidly.

If we had spent more time in the cellar I would have felt more empathy with the characters but we seemed to hardly touch upon these scenes that had such an effect on the women. And I do hate it when an author goes to such pains to set up a character's psychological issues as a result of trauma and within a few chapters they've shaken all of this off because the plot demands it. It's lazy writing. The character of Nora in Dean Koontz's Watchers is an ideal example of a believable way in which a character is gradually and realistically drawn out from the shackles of their own demons.

Within about 30 pages I thought, 'I bet this character...', then I reasoned, no, it can't be that obvious. 250 pages later, yep, exactly what I guessed, what a disappointing, predictable and hackneyed resolution.

Not recommended.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very Disappointing, 14 Aug 2013
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This review is from: The Never List (Kindle Edition)
I love suspense thrillers. I hated this. The characters were not developed sufficiently which meant that I didn't care about them enough to feel tense or worried for them as they embarked down more and more ludicrous and unbelievable plot lines. The story felt like a mashing together of lots of other stories - cults, s+m, kidnapping, torture, campus drama etc and so was disjointed and no plot arc was really explored enough for me. I finished this feeling cheated and bored. The main character who hasn't left her apartment in years finds the strength to creep around abandoned barns in the pitch black or to chase down creepy religious nut jobs? The 'massive twist' that was as obvious as a brick to the forehead was also a let down.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, badly written, 3 Sep 2013
This review is from: The Never List (Hardcover)
This sounded like the sort of thing I would love. It started off by flipping between the present - with Sarah emerging from her psychological prison - to the past where she is in the cellar. Quite creepy and effective. I found it a little odd that she would go so very quickly from being a panic-ridden agoraphobic to getting on planes and staying in hotels, but felt that maybe the idea of Derber getting out of prison was sufficient to make her confront her demons. So far, so intriguing.

But then very soon, it started to get silly, with too many inconsistencies and ridiculous coincidences in the plot. The dialogue was beyond wooden, the characters either implausible or like villains right out of a panto. (I kept thinking of the 1960s version of Batman, all kapow and bam and stilted dialogue.) There were too many dead ends, pointless detours, so many `huh?' moments. I didn't understand why there was so very little about Sarah's time in the cellar either. I could go on forever saying why this was silly.

So, a fabulous idea but I can't for the life of me see why this is creating a buzz. It is so much less than the sum of its parts. I really wanted to like it but I simply couldn't. It lost its way almost immediately and never recovered. In fact the more it went on, the less it worked. It suffered from a terrible, fatal lack of focus - whatever tension and chill there had been in the beginning dissipated and vanished leaving a rather silly story with implausible characters and the flabbiest denouement I've seen in a while: too neat, too simple, too silly. Despite being really rather short I felt as if I'd been reading it for days when I finished, and was left feeling an odd blend of mugged, perplexed and disappointed.
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3.0 out of 5 stars First few pages had me hooked and it got better and better and, 15 Sep 2014
This review is from: The Never List (Paperback)
First few pages had me hooked and it got better and better and.... worse. I predicted what was going to happen when i was not even half way through and guess what... it did... I couldn't put this book down for days and i actually lost a lot of sleep through staying up late reading it. Its written well and very creepy at times. I was going to recommend it to my Dad but the way it ended made me feel extremely disappointed. It left way too many unanswered questions, the characters needed defining more and I would like to have seen more insight into what happened to those girls in the cellar, in the box, on the rack. I'm not a weirdo... I just think that's what it needed! I am glad I read this book but I would not recommend it. It simply made me feel mugged off at the end
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3.0 out of 5 stars Uncomfortable reading in places, 8 Nov 2014
This review is from: The Never List (Paperback)
This book begins quite well and is an interesting premise. However, although my favourite books are edgy thrillers, I felt in some respects this book has a nasty voyeuristic feel to it and I never enjoy references to torture. If all these women were supposed to have been tortured over many years, starved and put on a rack on a fairly regular basis, their physical scars did not seem to be in evidence. The ending was very rushed with everyone trying to unburden themselves within a few pages. I too got the impression there was a sequel waiting to come out of this book. I for one will not be buying it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars unexpected but excellent nonetheless, 10 Oct 2014
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This review is from: The Never List (Hardcover)
From the book synopsis I expected this to be very different from what it actually was. In a way I was disappointed that the abduction and captivity was not spoken about very much and the ways the never list was actually followed a bit more which makes sense with the narration and perhaps it was my fault for not looking it up enough beforehand but I found there were a few unanswered questions however the ending was probably one of the best ive read in a long time and othe book was well written and had me interested to see how things turned out.
Its definitely worth a read.
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The Never List
The Never List by Koethi Zan (Paperback - 2 Jan 2014)
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