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Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Unnecessarily Gory and Graphic, No Exit Leaves a Lot to Be Desired

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

College student Darby Thorne had no intention of going home for Christmas.  Until a diagnosis of late-stage pancreatic cancer changed everything.  Now the UC-Boulder art major is racing through a snowstorm to get to her mother's side.  As the weather worsens dramatically, she knows she can't risk her own life trying to drive through it.  Darby will have to wait it out.  She finds refuge at a remote rest stop with electricity, a coffee machine, and four strangers.  While she frantically searches for a cell signal so she can at least check in on her mom, Darby makes a shocking discovery in the frigid parking lot—a small child is locked in an animal cage in the back of a van.  There's no explanation for it except that one of the people inside the rest stop is a kidnapper.  With no safe way off the mountain, no cell phone service, and only a vague idea who the villain might be, it's up to Darby to save the child.

As the snow piles up outside, the stranded art major must think her way out of a desperate situation.  Which of the strangers can she trust to help her?  If she chooses incorrectly, it could mean danger for a helpless child and for herself.  Darby can't leave the captive to freeze to death or worse.  What can she possibly do to save them both from a situation that's growing more deadly with each passing minute?

No Exit, a new thriller by Taylor Adams, is getting all kinds of buzz right now.  Based on its intriguing premise, I can understand why.  I picked it up hoping for a taut psychological thriller—what I got was more thriller thriller.  The novel lacks the subtlety of the former, relying more on the kind of propulsive action most associated with the latter.  In fact, the story gets so unnecessarily graphic and violent that it feels far-fetched and, really, just kind of ridiculous.  Add in a cast of mostly unlikable characters, a "What's the point?" kind of vibe, and a nauseating blood-bath of a story and, in my opinion at least, you've got a stomach-turning thriller without a lot of redeeming qualities.  I still think No Exit's premise is chock-full of fascinating potential; its execution, though, leaves a lot to be desired.

(Readalikes:  Hm, I can't think of anything.  Can you?)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for strong language, violence, blood/gore, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of No Exit from the generous folks at BookTrib in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!


  1. I read another review that said similar things as you did. I've thought about this one, but somehow I can't get over the cage thing. I'm don't usually have issues with violence in books (or not much), but I keep looking at it on my Kindle (I have an advance copy) and then moving on to another book. I may just not read it, which is OK.

    1. Yeah, this one was just too much for me. The violence seemed over the top and like that's all the plot really had to offer. If you do read it, I definitely want to hear what you think!

  2. I liked this one more than you did and felt like it was a bit different from a lot of the thrillers out there right now.

    1. The premise is definitely a little different, which is why I was so eager to read this one. I was disappointed there wasn't more to it, though.

  3. Sounds like this one veers more towards horror than thriller?

    1. Kind of, yes. There aren't any monsters (at least not inhuman ones), but it's got that violent slasher feel for sure.

  4. I do love a good psychological thriller, so that's a bummer it doesn't have much of the first part. Thanks for your honest thoughts!



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