Published by Avon Books on March 23, 2017
After having a very hit-and-miss experience reading thrillers over the past year I am thrilled to say I have just finished reading one that did not disappoint me one bit. One that exceeded all expectations, despite them being very high to begin with! The Escape was pure excellence from beginning to end. I have read C.L. Taylor’s other books, The Accident, The Lie and The Missing, and they are all great, but The Escape is in a different league altogether. As soon as I had started the opening chapter one morning, I was sure this was going to be a book to keep me up reading all night, but it was once I got to end of the first chapter that I realised that I couldn’t wait until that night to carry on reading. I read the book from start to finish that morning and then spent the rest of the day and night thinking about everything I had just read and just how much I had loved reading it.
The Escape introduces us to Jo Blackmore. Jo is mum to the adorable Elise and married to investigative journalist Max, but all is not well. Jo suffers from anxiety and agoraphobia. She has panic attacks and struggles going to the shops or park or anywhere further than her usual routine, though her husband appears quite unsympathetic about her symptoms. When Jo is asked for a lift from a stranger, who is going to the same street Jo lives on, she reluctantly agrees – but she begins to regret it once Paula starts rooting around her car and making subtle threats. This is just the beginning. C.L. Taylor puts Jo through a hell of a lot, every chapter there’s something else and despite Jo’s bravery, and how much I sympathised with her, I kind of loved it when the author made things more and more traumatic for her. Sorry, Jo!
I found Jo a really interesting character. Her mental health makes her unreliable in a sense but I found her to be brave and strong in the face of adversity. There are times when she makes rash decisions and things which might not always make sense to the reader, but this is a woman who has panic attacks in Tesco. When she believes that she might lose her beautiful daughter, I could obviously understand how her anxiety became even more overwhelming than it already was.
I loved the author’s storytelling. Every chapter is filled with tension and a sense of urgency, and every end to a chapter had me dying for the next one, and then there’d be a switch in the narrator so I would be eager to read the next chapter after that too. This is not a book to be read slowly, despite how much I would have liked to savour it for longer! It’s thrilling, compelling and highly addictive. There are of course twists and turns along the way but I loved the shock-factor, as reading this was different to reading many other thrillers as every chapter was engaging rather than me just waiting for the huge twist that I will supposedly never see coming. There were several things I didn’t see coming in The Escape but that was down to some brilliant plotting and how I was so gripped by every chapter I could barely take my eyes away from the page for a second – so definitely no time to work out what twists were to come.
In many ways this book really digs to the root of parental love and how much mothers and fathers are willing to risk for their children. To Jo, Elise is the most important part of her world. She really wishes she could give her a better life, without anxiety holding her back, but still she fights and fights to make things better for her daughter, who quite frankly was just the sweetest character. The bond between the two of them was so heartening and as the reader that relationship had me eager for their safety and happiness. Through Jo’s mum and step-dad, we see how the bond between parents and their children go both ways. I could feel just how much Jo cared for her step-dad and her deep sadness and guilt at not being able to spend more time with him when he has little time left to live. There were many more moments in this book where I could see how powerful the love between parents and their children goes, and this made me understand more some of the decisions the characters make within The Escape.
This is a book you really must buy and read straight away. The Escape is as exciting as it is suspenseful. It is honestly such a brilliant book that I can’t get off my mind. I loved it from start to finish – I really don’t think I’ve enjoyed any other thriller quite like this one.