Source: Review Copy
Publication: 25 July 2019 from Orion
Welcome to the escape room. Your goal is simple. Get out alive.
In the lucrative world of finance, Vincent, Jules, Sylvie, and Sam are at the top of their game. They’ve mastered the art of the deal and celebrate their success in style–but a life of extreme luxury always comes at a cost.
Invited to participate in an escape room challenge as a team-building exercise, the ferociously competitive co-workers crowd into the elevator of a high-rise building, eager to prove themselves. But when the lights go off and the doors stay shut, it quickly becomes clear that this is no ordinary competition: they’re caught in a dangerous game of survival.
Trapped in the dark, the colleagues must put aside their bitter rivalries and work together to solve cryptic clues to break free. But as the game begins to reveal the team’s darkest secrets, they realize there’s a price to be paid for the terrible deeds they committed in their ruthless climb up the corporate ladder. As tempers fray, and the clues turn deadly, they must solve one final chilling puzzle: which one of them will kill in order to survive?
Four Wall Street high flyers. They are used to playing a cut-throat game. They work hard and in their very sparse downtime, spend just as hard. They threaten, bully and cajole, and though one of them is a woman, misogyny rules in this team.
Vincent, Sam, Jules, and Sylvie are a close knit team, but of late their legendary success has been failing them; they’ve lost a couple of contracts; their golden touch has become tarnished and they are beginning to fear for their jobs.
The four are summoned via an HR e-mail to a Friday evening meeting at an office building under construction and find themselves trapped in a steel elevator, which has been kitted out to emulate an escape room. At first they think this is some kind of harsh ploy to make them bond more closely as a team, because of their recent lacklustre performance.
But as the clues start to appear, it is soon apparent that this is no ordinary team building exercise. These four have secrets that someone clearly knows about – but who and what do they intend to do about it?
Fabulously atmospheric and horribly claustrophobic, this is a thriller that engages from the beginning and never gives up its vice-like grip.
The story is told in part through the eyes of Sara Hall, a new analyst at the firm. We learn of her background and struggles to find a job and what she is prepared to put up with in order to keep it. Then we are also up close and personal with the four in the elevator as their thin veneer of respectability turns to a tense animalistic desire to get out when they realise they are well and truly trapped. With alternating chapters set in the past and then the present, the reader learns the background to this nightmare scenario as the four try to work out what’s happening.
The Escape Room is immensely entertaining and very readable. It takes the classic locked room mystery and gives it a contemporary outing. It’s exactly the kind of book that I’d want to take on holiday with me. Entertaining, full of larger than life characters and with more than one moment to bring a tear to your eye, this is great entertainment, nicely plotted and well written.
There are no stunning twists or revelations, but that’s not a problem; rather this is a story where characters get their comeuppance, which is always satisfactory, though I did find the ending a little flat.
Verdict: Top notch enjoyable, escapist entertainment that’s perfect for holiday reading
Megan Goldin is the bestselling author of “The Escape Room”, praised by Lee Child as “one of my favorite books of the year”, as well as “The Girl In Kellers Way”, a critically-acclaimed domestic noir thriller nominated for Australia’s leading crime fiction awards.
Megan worked as a journalist for Reuters, the Australian ABC and Yahoo! News before writing her debut psychological thriller The Girl In Kellers Way.