Friday 11 September 2020

Book Review | No Exit by Taylor Adams

Title: No Exit
Author: Taylor Adams
Publication Date: 17th June 2017 by Joffe Books
Format: Ebook via Kindle Unlimited
Target Audience: Adult
Genre: Thriller
Goodreads | | Barnes & Noble (US)


On her way to Utah to see her dying mother, college student Darby Thorne gets caught in a fierce blizzard in the mountains of Colorado. With the roads impassable, she’s forced to wait out the storm at a remote highway rest stop. Inside are some vending machines, a coffee maker, and four complete strangers.

Desperate to find a signal to call home, Darby goes back out into the storm . . . and makes a horrifying discovery. In the back of the van parked next to her car, a little girl is locked in an animal crate.

Who is the child? Why has she been taken? And how can Darby save her?

There is no cell phone reception, no telephone, and no way out. One of her fellow travelers is a kidnapper. But which one?

Trapped in an increasingly dangerous situation, with a child’s life and her own on the line, Darby must find a way to break the girl out of the van and escape.

But who can she trust?

Trigger and content warnings: Child abuse, graphic violence, torture, on page death, references to sex trafficking and pedophilia.


My Thoughts


"The difference between a hero and a victim? Timing."

Taylor Adams has created a really intense, action packed thriller. I'm actually quite picky when it comes to my thrillers, I nearly always find something that lessens my rating. And whilst this book wasn't perfect it's still one of my favourite thrillers that i've read in recent years because of how intrigued I was by how the plot played out.

This book follows Darby, a college student on her way home for christmas and racing back to see her dying mother. The story kicks off as she's stranded at a rest stop in the middle of a snowstorm with four complete strangers and whilst in the parking lot she discovers a kidnapped child in the back of a van. She has to survive for the next nine hours with no outside help, not only is she trying to help the child escape but she has to ensure she stays one step ahead of the kidnapper at all times. 

The synopsis of this book is what drew me in. I love books that take place in isolated settings and books that take place over the course of 24 hours or less and these two factors really helped to create that tense atmosphere and raise the stakes to a 100. The intensity builds and builds the further on you read and I could feel myself getting more and more anxious which is probably why I raced through the last third of this book. I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep unless I knew how these events would culminate. The story unfolded perfectly for me, Adams gets the pacing just right. Every reveal is carefully planned out but the building suspense keeps you flicking the page until you've practically read the entire book.

The twists and turns are executed really well, some I was able to predict but then there were others that I didn't see coming at all. There were times where I had to stop reading just to pause and say Holy Shit! There was a reveal towards the end (I won't spoil!) that whilst it made sense in terms of plot and everything I couldn't help feel that it was too conveniant and I just wanted a little more explanation behind it. 

The characters are all really well written. I connected with Darby almost immediately, she's a reluctant leader of the ragtag group but she has so much fight and grit within her that I was rooting for her every step of the way. 'A kidnapped little girl locked in a stranger’s van. No help for miles. What would you do?'. Personally I have no idea how I would approach this situation but Darby doesn't even hesitate to do what she knows is right and fights to the bitter end to protect that child. The secondary characters are all well thought out and all play a significant role in this game of cat and mouse although some did become a little cliche occasionally.

"Don't fear the pros. The pros know what they're doing, and do it cleanly. Fear the amateurs."  

I think what bumped this down to a four stars is probably the logic behind some of the actions the characters take. Without revealing any major spoilers, there were times when Darby left important objects in places she definitely shoudn't have when in the middle of a kidnap plot. It's easy to say that she got distracted by everything going on but I just felt that she would have been on high alert and wouldn't have made such silly mistakes especially when a kid's life is on the line. There's also a small subplot involving the kidnapped girl that I just felt didn't make sense at all and was merely there to add extra drama to the whole thing and increase the stakes. They're only minor things but it did mean I took off a star from my rating as it did lessen my enjoyment ever so slightly.

Overall, this is an author I definitely want to read more from in the future. This was such a quick read and I did really enjoy my time reading it. It's a clever premise with great execution and plot twists that you won't see coming. I will say that if you're not a fan of really gory scenes then maybe take some caution going into this one as some parts did tend to get a bit gruesome!       


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