"Look after your daughter's things. And your daughter…"
When a stranger asks Jo Blackmore for a lift she says yes, then swiftly wishes she hadn't.
The stranger knows Jo's name, she knows her husband Max and she's got a glove belonging to Jo's two year old daughter Elise.
What begins with a subtle threat swiftly turns into a nightmare as the police, social services and even Jo's own husband turn against her.
No one believes that Elise is in danger. But Jo knows there's only one way to keep her child safe – RUN. (from Goodreads.com)
Published by Avon UK 23rd March 2017
This is the fourth book by CL Taylor I've read, and I've always found her books very, very readable. The Escape is no different - immediately I was drawn in, hooked to the pacey flow and intrigued by the evolving situation the main character Jo has found herself in.
The book begins when Jo is approached by a stranger and asked for a lift - only once in the car it turns out that the stranger, Paula, isn't so random. She's looking for something that she claims Jo's husband Max took from her, and she's determined to get it back. Within the first couple of chapters, the image of both Jo and Paula is firmly and expertly set, with Jo cast as weak, nervy and anxiety ridden in contrast to Paula's tough, brash and bullying attitude. Taylor uses perfect dialogue and descriptions of mannerisms, particularly in the case of Paula, so that these characters are vividly realistic. I could see Paula -her stance, her facial expressions - so clearly in my mind. This continues throughout the book with the entire cast of characters, who each have their unique and distinctive voice and style, making The Escape feel almost like watching a TV drama.
The book is also interspersed with short italicized chapters conveying one of the character's thoughts and intentions. These sections are filled with malice and threat and are pretty creepy. The author also cleverly leads the reader down one path, before throwing a huge twist I didn't see coming and had me scrolling back through the ebook to see if I had missed something.
Jo is an interesting main character, I was torn between sympathy at the terrifying situation she found herself in and frustration at some of her reactions. I thought CL Taylor executed her seemingly irrational and declining grip on reality well, and kept me guessing whether she was to be trusted or not for a large portion of the book. I felt Max on the other hand, lacked a little something. I don't quite understand his actions and why he did what he did. I won't go into it further as to do so would give away the plot, but it affected the tension of the book slightly as I read it in my opinion. I did enjoy part two of The Escape, set in Ireland and introducing another well written character, Mary. I wondered how the two parts connected to begin with, seemingly two separate plots going on at once, and loved the way they eventually tied together.
The Escape is a gripping and accessible read with broad appeal. It's a once you start, you won't stop kind of read and you'll find you've covered a massive chunk of book without even realising it. With vivid and well drawn character's, it's a book which will play out in your head when you read and has enough twists to keep the reader surprised and intrigued. My kindle broke half way through reading this book, and I was so keen to carry on reading that I couldn't wait the two days that Amazon would take to deliver a new one, that I found a second hand one for sale on a local selling group and had a replacement in my hand within half an hour. CL Taylor is an author who knows how to hold her audience, and The Escape is no different. If you're a fan, then you won't be disappointed!
(I read an ebook copy supplied by the publisher via Netgalley)