No Exit by Taylor Adams
Darby Thorne is an average college student attending CU in Boulder, Colorado when she receives devastating news that her estranged mother has end stage pancreatic cancer and is undergoing life threatening surgery in a matter of hours. As Darby hastily packs up her car and attempts to beat a serious winter storm to make it to Utah in time to not just see her mother, but apologize to her for their estrangement she unwittingly sets herself on a path that will change her life forever.
As Darby attempts to outrace the raging snow storm in her Honda civic (a car that’s 100% not ideal for snow conditions) things go from bad to worse until she’s forced to pull over at a rest stop. When Darby enters the warm embrace of a rest stop that’s still hours from where she needs to be she meets Sandi and her cousin Ed, well meaning if not a little low-class. She also meets Ashley, a young and charming if not arrogant man and Lars, a creep ball and mouth breather. As Darby grapples with the snow storm and tries to find signal to contact her family about her current condition she stumbles upon literally, a nightmare of a situation.
Darby passed it, and in it, she glimpsed something pale inside the van. A hand. A tiny, doll-like hand. She halted mid-step, a breath trapped in her lungs.
When Darby sees this little girl locked in a cage in a van in the middle of a snow storm she knows she has no choice but to act. She immediately begins thinking through those in the rest stop, who could have kidnapped this girl and why, and how she is going to save her. As she begins unraveling this mystery, Darby quickly realizes that nothing is quite what it seems and everyone she thinks she can trust has a secret they’re hiding all of their own. With no one for miles, and highways shut down all across the state the only person Darby has to rely on is herself and knowing she can’t turn a blind eye to this kidnapped child she sets in motion a twisty thrill ride that’s sure to have nearly any reader on the edge of their seat.
The easiest lies to tell are the true ones.
Well, uh, ok, what do I say about this book? Um…. so, wowowowowow. This was not at all what I expected when I started this book. I’ve had this ARC sitting on my shelf for like 86 months now and I just kept passing it over for other reads for some reason. However, it’s been popping up all over my GR and was a group read for the Traveling Friends group. I missed it because *book slump* but the reception of this book was too fantastic for me to pass up reading it. I’ll get into the nitty gritty here in a second but my general takeaway was a pleasant surprise. For being only 278 pages, this baby packs a wallop of a thriller punch.
What I really enjoyed while reading this was its cinematic quality. I’m no movie buff but I love a good story in any way it’s told. Sometimes when I’m reading a book that feels really cinematic it annoys me because I felt like it was written with the idea of it being made into a movie, instead of being written for the sake of the story (looking @ you again Rey Frey). However, Adams didn’t fall prey to this at all. I can definitely see it on the big screen because it’s set up in a way that I think it would thrill anyone to read or watch but it wasn’t heavy handed or overwhelming.
I also really enjoyed the speed and pacing with which this was written. You start off with a bang and the punches don’t stop coming until literally the last sentence. Sometimes I find this to be overwhelming and exhausting but I didn’t find that the case with No Exit. The twists were numerous and shocking without being kitchy and predictable. They’re twists that made since, but only after I learned about them and had their explanations. I never found myself saying “well that’s super implausible” any more than I would in any thriller or suspense novel.
Death is supposed to transform you from a person into an idea.
It’s always interesting for me because I’m not a big stickler for having to suspend reality. I think it’s generally par for the course in reading. However, sometimes I’m able to suspend a boat load of reality and sometimes I’m the reality police. The prose here aren’t anything too special and there was nothing that really blew me out of the water. I had a few issues with feeling like this read was a little scattered and felt like there was maybe just a little too much going on for such a short book but overall I was impressed and thrilled while reading this. I was definitely left surprised and entranced by Darby herself as well as Jay and I enjoyed getting to be a part of their story and I look forward to looking into some more works by Adams.
Long Story Short:
Suggested For: Fans of the thriller/suspense genres, anyone looking for a quick read with lots of twists and turns.
Music Mood: Light On by Maggie Rogers
Have you read No Exit by Taylor Adams, if so, what did you think? Drop me a note in the comments and let me know!