The Escape by C.L. Taylor
Release Date: 23rd March 2017
Genre: Crime, thriller, psychological
What’s the Story?
“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.
Jo Blackmore is in an unhappy marriage to investigative reporter Max and is still grieving the loss of her baby son. Her mental health is wavering on the unstable side as she suffers from agoraphobia and losing her first born has made her understandably over-protective of her daughter, Elise.
However, when she is approached by a strange women in the street who claims to know her husband Max, and threatens both Jo and her daughter, a chilling turn of events begin to unfold…This certainly isn’t the last Jo has heard of this mysterious woman, Paula.
Max denies knowing anything about Paula, but as the threats begin to turn into reality, life as Jo knows it becomes a terrifying. Her parenting skills come into question and the situation escalates until Jo’s own husband starts to turn against her, leaving her wondering who she can really trust. Is there any escape from the living nightmare Jo has found herself in?
I had been counting down the days until I could get hold of a copy of C.L. Taylor’s next book pretty much since the minute I turned the last page of The Missing last year. So much so that The Escape was probably one of my most anticipated books of 2017. Whilst that is all well and good, there’s always the sleep-loss-inducing worry that it won’t live up to my stupidly high expectations. And whilst The Escape DID cause me to lose sleep, it certainly wasn’t because it didn’t live up to expectations (in fact it was quite the opposite. I couldn’t put it down…Sleep suddenly became a lesser priority.)
There’s nothing like diving straight into the story and the action kicks off from the very first scene when Jo feels as though she is being followed to her car…”Someone is walking directly behind me, matching me pace for pace.” This then leads on to a heart-stopping first chapter, which lulls you into a false sense of security at times and then before you know it…BAM! You’re biting on your nails and turning into a nervous wreck again. And that’s pretty much the pattern that the whole story takes on; you’re never quite sure where you stand and you are left second guessing the characters…who’s really telling the truth? Who can I trust? Am I missing something? You begin to pick up inklings along the way but there was no clue as to how this excellently written, chilling page-turner was going to end. I was left guessing right up until the end when the story reached its dramatic crescendo which knocked me for six.
Jo is such a complex and utterly fascinating character. I completely sympathised with her, she had been through such a lot and I really felt for her. Then when her actions are called into question and her mental health is examined it’s easy to get carried away with your assumptions. But then again the same goes for her husband, Max. Who do you believe? Cally Taylor creates believable and realistic cases for both characters and the way in which she writes ensures that you can see both Jo and Max’s point-of-view. This also goes to show how easy it is to form an opinion on things without knowing the full story.
I have read so many thrillers where the narrator is lying to the reader – at times I wondered if that was the case here…It was almost as if I became paranoid and I started to suspect everyone – THAT was the effect that Cally’s writing had on me. I was one step away from rocking backwards and forwards in a dark room…
This story really got to me. It consumed my thoughts for the three days it took me to read it. (It would have been a lot less but life got in the way…In an ideal world I would have just sat and gorged on this book the way that you might gorge on a big bar of Galaxy Cookie Crumble- or is that just me…!?)
I know that a book has been pretty awesome when I experience some of the feelings that the characters are going through myself – and I found myself doing this in abundance, particularly in Jo’s case. Whilst there were times when she frustrated me, I felt her fear, I felt her confusion, I felt her pain and I felt the desperate need that she possessed to do whatever she had to do to protect her daughter. I experienced pretty much all of the emotions imaginable throughout the duration of the story. I was tense, frightened, shocked, intrigued, uneasy, fascinated, unnerved and above all completely and utterly hooked on this story. It was one big adrenaline-rush in a book and that is the ultimate recipe for success when it comes to psychological thrillers.
I’m also pretty obsessed with the cover of The Escape. It couldn’t fit the story more perfectly, the use of colour is amazing and the associations it conjures up are spooky and unnerving – pretty much like the story itself. There is no way you could not see this book sat on a shelf and pass it by, it screams I’M A TENSE, THRILLING AND TWISTED TALE! READ ME!…and that is exactly what it proves to be.
I’m finding it difficult to portray exactly how much I have come to love all of Cally’s books. Her writing is so full of excitement, intrigue and is, above all, extremely clever. She is a truly talented thriller writer and knows exactly how to drip-feed the reader enough information for them to form their own opinion and assumptions (whether these are correct or not is another matter…)
If you’re new to Cally’s books or a fan of thrillers then you absolutely must read this. She is such an accomplished and talented writer who has fast become one of my ‘go-to’ authors. She never disappoints and as far as I’m concerned she can never produce enough for me. I will undoubtedly devour anything that she writes… In fact, the countdown to her next book begins right now…
A huge thank you to Helena at Avon for the opportunity to review The Escape.