Get this one for your summer reading list…The Never List by Koethi Zan

The Never List

“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, wondering which of us would be next in the box. “


After the accident that took the life of Jennifer’s mom, she and best friend Sarah, spend years writing what comes to be known as the Never List. An all inclusive list of actions that if they avoid them, they should be safe in the big bad world…and they were until the night they decide to not heed the piece of advice that should be on any Never List…don’t get in the car!!

Jennifer and Sarah awake to find themselves at the hands of Jack, an expert in psychological terror, and spend the next three years in a cellar turned dungeon with two other young women, mere guinea pigs to Jack’s terrifying mind games and physical abuse.

Spin the clock ahead ten years and we find Sarah trying to resume some type of a normal life, but its not been easy to overcome what happened in the cellar, and while physically free, Jack’s terror and his letters from prison still seem to do a decent job of keeping her imprisoned. As Jack’s parole nears, Sarah is forced to break the chains and do whatever she can to keep Jack from walking out of prison…and whatever she can to make what happened to Jennifer right.

This one is top notch psychological thriller at its finest. Zan has written the story of four young women, who locked away in a cellar live out three years of unbelievable terror and defeat at the hands of their captor. A captor, who is able to crack their young minds and twist them over and over for his sick and perverted needs. The novel takes the reader on a journey with these women as they try to cope with what has happened to them in their own way.

Sarah is at the center of this novel, and is the classic victim, unable to cope with the world after having left the cellar, her mind still controlled by the events of those thirty six months. Sarah believes she is weak and afraid, but through the novel her strength is clearly shown by her actions, and she is the perfect choice as the protagonist in this novel.

The main villain in this story is Jack Derber, professor, mentor, physcopath, who held the young women captive, and while there is very little interaction with Jack throughout the novel except through others and the women’s memories. Zan has designed a character who would make anyone’s blood run cold as you read about him. Jack is the perfect villain, dark, cold, maniacal and the type of guy that you probably wouldn’t look twice at in the grocery store, which makes him all the more evil. His mind games twist these young women to places they never thought they’d be.

The story itself, and here is where Zan truly shines, moves at a fast pace, and true to its word, it is a definite page turner. The writing is powerful, and the story unfolds at just the right pace. Too, even with the subject matter, Zan does the tasteful thing, and most of the explicit stuff happens off page, where you know it happened, but aren’t directly exposed. Almost impossible to put down, as you near the end, you find yourself wishing for more…Why? because you are caught up in the story full force. This one asks the question…how far can you go to survive? The last few chapters delivers on this question and its these chapters which truly sell the book! Zan definitely does not disappoint, with an incredible climax and chilling ending. Love it!

“Human Beings are so terrible…they can bear anything”


This one needs to be on your summer reading list! Zan’s writing is superb and the story is one of the best thrillers I’ve read. I can only say one word…Brilliant…. I have to say this yet again…cough…Movie!!!!


Born in Opp, Alabama, Koethi spent a good deal of time growing up reading and listening to Morrissey. She put herself through Birmingham – Southern College, she attended Yale Law School and has studied cinema at NYU’s Tisch School Of The Arts.

After many prestigious positions, among which she was Senior Vice President & Deputy General Counsel at MTV, she decided to fulfill a lifelong dream and in the early mornings wrote The Never List.

Zan lives with her husband Stephen Metcalf and two daughters in upstate New York!

To learn more about Koethi, check out her site at

Koethi Zan