10 Apr 2013



There were four of us down there for the first thirty-two months and eleven days of our captivity. And then, very suddenly and without warning, there were three. Even though the fourth person hadn't made any noise at all in several months, the room got very quiet when she was gone. For a long time after that, we sat in silence, in the dark, each of us wondering what this meant for her and for us, and which of us would be the next in the box.


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, they failed to follow their own rules.


Sarah has spent ten years trying to forget her ordeal. But now the FBI has news that forces her to confront her to revisit her memories, and finally attempt to find justice for Jennifer.


If she is to keep her captor behind bars, Sarah needs to work with the other women who shared her nightmare. But they won't be happy to hear from her. Because down there in the dark, Sarah wasn't just a victim.

...... Press release.

FIRST SENTENCE (Chapter 1): There were four of us down there for the first thirty-two months and eleven days of our captivity.

MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 84): On a good day, he simply did what he wanted with your body. And you could bite your lip or scream or do what you needed to bear the pain and humiliation.
On a bad day, he talked.

MY THOUGHTS: Though with flashbacks to events that occurred ten years previously, The Never List, initially conceived by childhood friends and soon-to-be victims as a list of actions to ensure their safety, essentially follows one woman (Caroline/Sarah) and, to a lesser degree, her two fellow victims (Tracy and Christine/Charlotte) in their search for not only the answers to what became of fellow captive, Jennifer, but also closure in what should have been a dark and menacing read with a great psychological twist. 

Unfortunately neither dark nor menacing and lacking in any real psychological (or other convincing) twists, at best this is an OK read but only if you can suspend belief, get past just how increasingly incredulous the story becomes and not dwell too much on the highly improbable actions of the characters. 

A great concept which raises some very topical issues (the sex trade, the role of the internet, when does a religion become a cult to name but a few), an interesting exploration of how, as very different people, the women cope, of just what the human spirit is capable of in order to survive, it's just a shame that it never seems to do so in any great depth thus never realising its true potential.

Published in Issue 76 of NewBooks magazine.

#1: Removal of any part of this post without my express consent is considered copyright infringement. This post was created by and for Petty Witter @ Pen and Paper. If you are reading this post on any other site please contact the original blog owner/reviewer.
#2: A paperback proof copy, The Never List will not be published until the 18th of July 2013, read and reviewed on behalf of NEWBOOKS magazine. I was merely asked for my honest opinion, no financial compensation was asked for nor given.


Kelly said...

I'm surprised to hear it wasn't that dark or menacing. From the cover blurb I would have expected it.

Yvonne@fiction-books said...

Hi Tracy,

The synopsis and the cover art look really promising, it's just a shame that it didn't live up to either for you.

Given the issues that you have already mentioned as topical here in the UK and the constant reports this week about the rape of women and children in many of the war ravaged areas of the world, it would have been a great opportunity for the author to capitalise on this and really drive the message home.

I hope that your next book grabs you a bit more,


Gina R said...

Wow...I was not expecting that review. Sounded much more harrowing and dark...hmm. Still, enjoyed the reviewed...thanks for sharing!

Mama Zen said...

This sounds like it could have been good!

Literary Feline said...

It's too bad this book didn't deliver. It certainly sounded like quite a thrilling read. Thanks for the great review, Tracy! I always appreciate your honesty.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Aww... too bad. It really sounds like it could have a lot of potential. Hopefully the next will be better.

Sandy M. said...

Wow, Tracey, I was immediately interested from the opening paragraphs, then disappointed to read that it didn't sustain its promise. Goodreads rates it four out of five stars. I noticed that at least two reviews there also suggested that the first half was much stronger than the following chapters. Thank you for the review! :)

Blond Duck said...

Man! AFter the first line, I was sure it'd be good!

Stephanie@Fairday's Blog said...

The concept sounds fascinating! Sorry that you didn't enjoy this one more, but your review was helpful.