Book Review | “The Escape Room”

41ePhEX2LwL._AC_SY400_Four people answer an ominous summons from human resources only to be deliberately trapped in an elevator in Goldin’s debut thriller.

In the highflying world of finance, Vincent, Sam, Jules, and Sylvie used to be superstars, but recently they’ve failed to close too many lucrative deals, and they know their jobs are hanging by a thread.

Called to a Friday evening meeting at an office building under construction, they become trapped in the steel elevator, which has been rigged to emulate an escape room. If they solve the clues, perhaps they can find their way out.

At first, they assume it’s just the worst team-building exercise ever—but the clues point them toward a much darker possibility. How much do they know about the deaths of two young associates? Will they be able to solve the mystery and escape—or is the whole system rigged against them?

There’s a Spanish proverb used by Tana French in The Likeness: “ ‘Take what you want and pay for it,’ says God.” The main characters in Goldin’s novel should probably have paid more attention to the second half of that saying. Powerful, attractive, and unbelievably wealthy, they truly believe that their security and success are worth protecting at any cost.

Despite the unsavory characters—or perhaps even because of them—this novel is pure entertainment. Offering a modern take on the classic locked-room mystery, Goldin strings the reader along by alternating chapters set in the past and in the present and by peppering the present chapters with riddles and word games.

This is a commentary on the cutthroat, hypocritical world of finance, where one must sacrifice everything to stay on top. It provides us with antagonists we love to hate as well as a sympathetic heroine who pays the ultimate price for survival: her own sense of goodness and fair play.

Cancel all your plans and call in sick; once you start reading, you’ll be caught in your own escape room—the only key to freedom is turning the last page!

Publish Date: August 6, 2019
Verdict: Thumbs Up, Buy It
Kirkus Reviews

 

 

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