No Exit – Review of a gripping mystery thriller novel

  • by

Namo Namaha. February is off to a thrilling start. I started this month with a mystery thriller – No Exit by Taylor Adams. In this post, I’ll try to unravel my thoughts on this edge-of-the-seat thriller without spoiling the entire plot for you. Difficult, but I’ll try. So shall we?

Book name – No Exit
Genre – Mystery Thriller
Author – Taylor Adams
Goodreads rating – 4.04
Publisher – Joffe Books
Year of publication – 2017

Synopsis

Darby Thorne, a college student is on her way to Utah to see her dying mother. She’s caught in a blizzard and is forced to wait out the storm at a highway rest stop. With a dying battery and a car that’s quite inadequate to haul her out of this situation, she frantically tries to catch a signal and let her family know of her situation. While coming back from a failed attempt at communication, she notices a kidnapped child in a beat-up van. Things only get worse as she, an inexperienced college student gets involved in this mess of trying to free a kidnapped child. Stranded with people she can’t trust and everything: from people to the elements, against her. Can she save the child and herself? forms the crux of the story.

Ruminations on No Exit

I like reading mystery thrillers but rare is a thriller that I like in its entirety. I’ll either only like it in parts, the thrilling parts i.e. and hate the romance in it (as I feel they distract me from the plot). Or, as in the majority of the times, I’ll not be satisfied with the ending. I might feel all the plot threads have not been sufficiently tied or that it ended a bit too conveniently.

Buy your copy here

No Exit though was different. For starters, there were no irksome romantic subplots. Second, the ending was fabulous! I enjoyed this book. Not only was it quite thrilling but it also kept me on tenterhooks throughout. The tension of “Oh my god! what’s gonna happen next?” was there the entire book. What more can you expect from a good thriller?

What appealed to me?

This book kept me on tenterhooks. Beginning of the book I was scared, like legit scared for the kidnapped kid & Derby. Wondered if Derby was messing up an already impossible situation?

When it comes to kids and animals I am a weakling. I can’t stomach abuse, manipulation, etc on children, old people, and animals, even in a fictional setup. But, I continued with the book.

The first thing I loved about this story? The sheer spine of Derby! You can’t have a thriller if the protagonist freezes up every time a challenge is thrown at them or if they need somebody else to keep saving them. Derby was a refreshingly independent, thinking girl. She was smart and gritty with a bonus of a beautiful conscience.

Though she did some mistakes, it was written in a way that, you would expect those mistakes from a girl her age and experience. At no point did I think: “God! She’s so dumb!” (Which I generally do, when I feel the protagonist is committing the same mistake again and again and not learning from their previous ones at all). Derby was different in that aspect. She tried reflecting on her actions every opportunity she got which led to some urgent but sensible decisions. It also kept her from repeating her mistakes.

The second thing was the twists and turns in the plot. Initially, I could guess one or two twists but later, I, as a reader went blind. As if caught up in a blizzard myself. I didn’t know what hit me. The twists kept coming and they were so good! Taylor managed to sneak in a twist even in the end! and that was awesome!

Third, items/props that were as important as people. A napkin, a nail gun, a car. Non-living, non-sentient items such as these were elevated to the level of side characters and I loved that. Taylor has used these props to elevate the story or take it further. That’s a cool way of telling a story and I would like more authors to do the same.

What didn’t appeal to me?

By the time I finished No Exit, I barely had time to wrap my head around the plot, the twists, etc. But, on second thought I could say Jay’s character was a bit unrealistic. I mean, as a 7-year-old pampered and protected child, how could she be so mature and grounded the first time she’s pulled out of her protective shell? This probably was the first time she faced such haranguing circumstances, how could she be so calm? A calmness that even adults find difficult to muster under such circumstances?

I understand some kids behave more mature than their age but most of the time it’s because they are forced, multiple times, due to various circumstances, to behave as adults. Not only were there no tantrums from Jay, the abused child but she was also shown having adult-like conversations and making sane decisions under stress. Kids don’t behave with logic under the best of circumstances, especially at such a young age. So, for me, Jay’s character was unbelievable.

Also, except for Derby none of the other characters impressed me. But that’s understandable. In thrillers, I care more about the plot and its treatment by the author, which in this case was exemplary. So the character treatment gets a pass from me.

Conclusion

I probably am going to re-read this book. Even if it’s just to check for plot holes. Some books are meant to be turned into movies. And I am wondering, as a filmmaker himself, why Taylor Adams has not yet turned this into a movie. It surely does have all the elements of a blockbuster?
The atmosphere – frozen Colorado mountains.
The cast – gritty heroine, terrified, kidnapped child, monstrous villain, etc.
Why not? Taylor?

Review, recommendation, and rating

Invest – worth buying and including it in your collection

Rrkreads rating – Invest grade. This is a book that most certainly must be in your thriller collection.

My GoodReads rating – 5 stars

So friends, over to you now. Have you read this book? Do you resonate with any of my thoughts on this book? Let me know your thoughts on the book or my review, in the comments section. I’ll be glad to chat. Till then, stay blessed and happy. Om Shanti.

Let's Discuss