I received an uncorrected digital galley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and Netgalley for the chance to read and review!
Publication Date: 7/30/2019
Rating: 3.5 / 5
Welcome to the escape room. Your goal is simple. Get out alive.– Megan Goldin, The Escape Room
THE ESCAPE ROOM by Megan Goldin captured my attention with this tagline. I have often wondered how well I would fare in an escape room situation. I love puzzles and word games and the like, but tend to fail under pressure which is definitely an element of an escape room. Generally beating the clock in an escape room is good for bragging rights, but in this book it is life or death!
Facing the escape room scenario are three coworkers, Jules, Sylvie and Sam along with their supervisor Vincent. They aren’t entirely clear as to why they have been summoned to this office building, but they are all used to working impossibly long hours in a cutthroat business to get ahead. Knowing that their recent performance has been less than ideal, they feel they have no choice but to reschedule plans and put their lives on hold to attend this mandatory meeting.
Following instructions to go upstairs, the foursome find themselves trapped in the elevator with clues to interpret which hint at a mystery in their past. The stress of the situation and their extremely competitive natures begins to slowly reveal the cracks in the professional veneers of these individuals.
Interspersed with the story of the four escape room participants are chapters written from Sara’s point of view beginning years before the present day. She begins as an eager young new recruit, happy to have work and a steady paying job along side her more competitive coworkers. She is of course conspicuously absent from the escape room, and the reasons for that are revealed as the story progresses.
The strength of this book was in the character development. Goldin begins with a very limited perspective with four people trapped in a very nice, but very cramped elevator car. Through the flashbacks and the way the characters deal with the clues they are given we see their backstory and their personalities fleshed out.
The chapters which focus on the escape room are written in a third person omniscient point of view, giving insights to each of the four characters’ thoughts and feelings as their experience progresses. Sara’s chapters are written in the first person, giving an additional outsider’s perspective which changes over time from an eager and perhaps naive beginner to a more experienced and knowing point of view. I wasn’t always sure if I liked the changes in point of view between chapters and characters, but overall I appreciated the insights it brought.
The thriller aspect of the story is somewhat limited to the time focusing on the escape room which took up a relatively small portion of the story. Sara’s chapters and the flashback portions of the elevator chapters was more about a slow build up of suspense. There are major questions to be asked which kept me wanting answers. Who set up the escape room and why? What will those trapped in the elevator do to survive?
This is a book that had me hooked from the dramatic prologue and kept me wanting to read more to figure out the mysteries at the heart of this story. There isn’t a lot to root for with the four main characters in the elevator, but Sara’s perspective offsets that nicely and she is a character I could definitely side with.
If you are looking for a good, slow burn suspense story with some thriller aspects mixed in, this definitely is a book you’ll want to check out when it is released on July 30, 2019!