Published by Penguin on June 24, 2014
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, Suspense, Crime
Buy on Amazon
“Psychological thriller writing at its best. Cancel appointments and give up on sleep. It’s that kind of book.” —Jeffery Deaver
For years, Sarah Farber and her best friend, Jennifer, kept what they called the Never List: a list of actions to be avoided at all costs, for safety’s sake. But one night, against their best instincts, they accept a cab ride—one 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, Sarah’s abductor is up for parole and she can no longer ignore the twisted letters he sends to her from prison. But when Sarah decides to confront her phobias and reconnect with the other survivors she begins unraveling a mystery more horrifying than even she could have imagined.
A blazingly fast read with eerie similarities to the recent kidnapping case in Cleveland, The Never List is a smart, riveting, and bold pageturner that will leave readers awake all night with the lights on.
I enjoy a good messed up psychological thriller as much as the next person and this didn’t disapoint. The story follows the main character Sarah Farber, now being referred to as Caroline Morrow. It opens up on her flashbacks of being held captive in a cellar in her captors house, one Jack Derber. Jack by all accounts is an incredibly intelligent man but boy is he scarily dangerous.
Sarah now lives her life in a very OCD and controlled way. She never goes outside, she works from home and her concierge of her apartment block never lets anyone near her door unless he has her prior consent. Everything changes when her ex captor is up for his parole hearing and the victims keep receiving letters from him. Jim, the investigating FBI officer talks her into being a witness in his hearing alongside Tracey, another victim. These two have no relationship and Tracey refuses to be in the same room as her. Intriguing? Sarah finds out that Tracey also has received letters and makes the connection that the cryptic information included within could solve some of her questions she contacts Tracey to try and get her on board.
Sarah’s friend, Jennifer was killed during their time in captivity and Sarah hasn’t been able to find peace, is this her opportunity to uncover the truth? Where did he bury her?
Sarah and Tracey discover that whilst in jail, Jack has married a girl called Sylvia and Sarah travels back to try and make contact with her, however, she has dissapeared without a trace. They discover that she was a part of a religious cult. Sarah meets with the leader of said cult, Noah. Another interesting character. Tracey and Sarah go on a road trip of acceptance, intrigue and terror, they meet characters along the way that not only confuse their track to discovering the real driving force behind Jack’s motivations but cement their suspicions.
The first half of the book had me hooked, I enjoyed the narrative of the past and the future. You can feel the very terror of their situation and was edge of your seat reading. However, it fell a bit flat in places for me personally. Jack Derber was this big terrifying figure that had plagued and tortured the women for years and yet within this book there was no appearance from him, no scene with him and I did feel completely dissapointed with that. The terror would have been more relatable if we had some scenes with him.
The other issue I had with the narrative was how readily Tracey seemed to be willing to accept what Sarah offered as way of an explanation and then they just got on with things like they were best buddies. In a real life scenario there would have been far more questioning and relationship building – It was a major event after all.
It was a page turner for sure, you wanted to find outcome to the story and although the ending was a bit shocking I don’t think it was fully out there in terms of endings. However, I would have like to find out what happened explained instead of just skimmed over, therefore I’m rating this book