Something wonderful just happened in my life. I discovered that I could receive ARC’s (Advance Reading Copy) of books PRIOR to their publication. Sometimes months in advance! The best part . . . they’re completely FREE! If I’m interested in reading a particular book, I send a request to the publisher, and if I’m selected, they send me a digital copy of the book (again . . . for FREE) in exchange for posting reviews on my various social media platforms.
When an ARC arrives on my Kindle, it looks like this:
Seriously! What’s better than reading a book before everyone else and not even having to pay for it? In my world, not much. Except maybe getting paid to do it. But I haven’t figured out that particular hustle yet! 🙂 Plus, for those of you following my writing journey, this is just another way to get my name out there AND increase readership to my social media platforms. As we all know, when it comes to landing an agent and/or publisher, it’s all about PLATFORM, PLATFORM, PLATFORM.
Okay, without further ado, my first ARC review!
Title: THE ESCAPE ROOM
Author: Megan Goldin
Genre: Thriller / Suspense
Publication Date: July 30, 2019 by St. Martin’s Press
Four Wall Street investment bankers—Vincent, Jules, Sam, and Sylvie—arrive at a high-rise for what they think is a team-building escape room challenge. They soon find themselves trapped inside an elevator, trying to solve a series of clues to free themselves. But solving the clues gets them no closer to escape. As the minutes turn to hours, and the hours turn to days, the elevator grows hotter and more uncomfortable by the minute, and the true natures of the characters are revealed as they begin to turn on each other.
The story alternates between telling the story of the characters trapped in the elevator, and telling the story of a young banker named Sara Hall who used to work with them.
(A few light spoilers, nothing that will ruin the book or give much away)
Overall, I loved The Escape Room and couldn’t put it down. I had to know what happened next. I thought about the book when I wasn’t reading it. That rarely happens to me, but when it does, it’s a magical thing.
The Concept: Although the escape room craze has been going on for a few years now, I’ve yet to read a fiction book based on characters completing an escape room. To me, it was a new and interesting concept that I could easily see being suspenseful. After all, the whole idea behind an escape room is that you either solve the clues and get yourself out, or you don’t solve the clues and you get released after an hour. But what if the hour ends and the door doesn’t open? Now imagine throwing four ruthless Wall Street bankers into the mix and gradually turning up the head (both literally and figuratively).
The Characters: Typically, when I read a book, I want to fall in love with the characters. If I love them, I’ll be invested in their lives and care what happens to them. In this book, I didn’t fall in love with any of them, and I didn’t particularly care what happened to them. But was the author’s intent. I wasn’t supposed to like the characters. With the exception of our protagonist, Sara Hall, the characters are all battle-hardened investment bankers with absolutely no redeeming qualities.
Morality: Again, most of the characters are financially well-off but morally bankrupt. There is some cursing but not so much that it really jumped out at me (which it usually does when done excessively). Some light sexuality, a scene of implied molestation, and several instances of violence, but nothing gory or over-the-top.
Complaints: All of the head-hopping between characters in the elevator scenes really threw me off at first. As a writer, it’s beaten into our heads that you MUST choose a character and stay in their head during a given chapter or section. If you want to be inside the head of a different character, you have to start a new chapter or section. But, in the elevator scenes, we’re in Vincent’s head in one paragraph, and in Sylvie’s head in the very next paragraph. However, I soon realized why the author made this particular choice. Once I got used to it, I barely noticed it.
My only other complaint is that there were a few loose ends (one of them rather big) that I would’ve preferred to see tied up.
Would I Recommend?: A resounding YES! The Escape Room was a fast, suspenseful read, an interesting concept, and it held my attention. I highly recommend it to thriller/suspense fans and I would definitely read more books by this author!
4.5 / 5 Stars
**Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.