I haven’t been doing a lot of book recommendations lately because it’s RiTA award judging season. That means I have seven books to read and judge in the span of about six weeks, and I’m not allowed to share what they are. So, I’ve been reading, but I haven’t been able to talk about what I’m reading, which is hard! : )
However, I took a break from RITA books this week and picked up one of my recent Book of the Month Club books. I chose No Exit by Taylor Adams because it’s winter, and a thriller set in a snowed in rest stop seemed to be the perfect pick.
This book is billed as a thriller because I think “horror” is not as marketable a word for books these days unless you’re Stephen King. However, I feel like this book is solidly horror. There is no supernatural evil, but if this were made into a movie, it would be a horror movie. It has a lot of the tropes I love in horror. The tough, resourceful, pissed off heroine. The relentless villain. The over the top clashing of the two. The claustrophobic, trapped feeling.
So, before I get to far along in this review, here’s the official description:
A kidnapped little girl locked in a stranger’s van. No help for miles. What would you do?
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?
With exquisitely controlled pacing, Taylor Adams diabolically ratchets up the tension with every page. Full of terrifying twists and hairpin turns, No Exit will have you on the edge of your seat and leave you breathless.
There are twists and misdirection in this story, some I saw coming, some I didn’t. But if you’re expecting a super-layered, multiple subplot type thriller, this is not it. It’s not supposed to be. The entire book takes place over the course of about ten hours, and it has a relentless pace. That’s why I think the horror movie analogy is more apt.
I looked at some of the negative reviews on Amazon, and the people who didn’t like it seemed to be people who were looking for a more traditional thriller. Lucky for me, I tend to prefer horror to thriller. The best way I can describe this book is take the claustrophobic, trapped feeling of The Shining (minus the supernatural) and mix it with a villain who just won’t stop like Michael Myers in the Halloween movies, and this is what you get. It requires some suspension of disbelief because it’s over the top. I also laughed a few times because there were moments of dark humor, which I love in this kind of story. And if you’re easily grossed out, maybe pass on this one because it has some brutal parts. But, if you’re a horror movie fan, give this one a try!