What’s it all about?:
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, against their best instincts, 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, living as a virtual recluse under a new name, 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.
What did I think?:
I haven’t read that many Net Galley titles yet to be classified as an ARC know-it-all, but this book is my absolute favourite of the ones I’ve read so far. Only one word describes it really….Wow. The story begins by introducing us to two friends who are involved in a terrible car accident and are lucky to survive, despite both spending a while in the Intensive Care Unit. Sadly, Jennifer’s mother is killed in the tragedy, and from this point on both girls compile a list of things “never” to do, so that they may be safer in the future. Unfortunately, this does not save them from a dangerous man who abducts them, keeping them in a cellar with two other girls, and subjecting them to horrific physical and mental torture. The story then focuses on Sarah in the present moment, who is still struggling to come to terms with what has happened to her, and terrifyingly is receiving letters from her abductor from jail. Even worse, there is a possibility he could walk free unless Sarah and the other survivors can get some hard evidence of his sadistic little world.
I enjoyed every moment of this twisted little tale. Whether we are with Sarah in the present moment, sympathising with the trauma that has made her a virtual recluse, cheering her on as she sets off on her determined (and may I say eye-opening?) journey to find out more about her abductor which enables her recovery, or cringing at her memories of the cellar and what she had to suffer whilst imprisoned there. I really rooted for Sarah throughout the novel, genuinely caring about what would become of her, which shows incredible ability on the part of the author in my opinion. I also haven’t read such a nail-biting ending in a while, and some parts of the story, which I don’t want to spoil but take my word for it, were truly horrific. Compelling and exciting, this novel will send more than one shiver down your spine, and I can’t wait to see what this author does next.
Would I recommend it?:
But of course!
Star rating (out of 5):