Hello everyone, and welcome back to The Bookworm’s Fantasy! I hope you’re all well. Today I’m going to be posting my review of C.L. Taylor’s newest psychological thriller, ‘THE ESCAPE’. I’m a massive fan of C.L. Taylor’s novels, having read and reviewed ‘THE LIE’ here and ‘THE ACCIDENT’ here. I was lucky enough to be sent an ARC of this, so thanks so much to Helena from Harper Collins/Avon for that. I’m also going to be taking part in the blog tour for this on Sunday 2nd April, so keep your eyes peeled for that! So, here goes…
‘THE ESCAPE’ is C.L. Taylor’s fourth psychological thriller and it was published yesterday (Thursday 23rd March 2017), following on from her previous novels ‘THE ACCIDENT’ (2014), ‘THE LIE’ (2015) and ‘THE MISSING’ (2016). Taylor is also currently working on her first Young Adult thriller, ‘THE TREATMENT’, which will be published in September 2017.
‘THE ESCAPE’ has received some really brilliant reviews. Sunday Express said “Haunting and heart-stoppingly creepy, The Lie is a gripping roller coaster of suspense”, Woman gave it “5/5 stars”, Heat called it “An excellent psychological thriller” and Fabulous said “Packed with twists and turns, this brilliantly tense thriller will get your blood pumping.” Lots of fellow authors have also given praise to the novel, such as Clare Mackintosh: “A gripping and disturbing psychological thriller”, Rachel Abbott: “As with all her books, C.L. Taylor delivers real pace, and it’s a story that keeps calling the reader back” and more.
Most of my regular readers will know that I absolutely love C.L. Taylor’s novels, so it’s fair to say that I had very high expectations going into this. And I definitely was not disappointed! The novel essentially follows the couple Jo, Max, and their daughter Elise – a stranger threatens their family unit and Jo is forced to go on the run with Elise.
Jo Blackmore is mentally ill, and suffers with agrophobia and anxiety. She finds it challenging to leave the house and step outside her comfort zone, having only just recently returned to work after the birth of Elise – but when a stranger threatens the safety of her family, she is forced to confront her fears. Max is supportive of his wife and attempts to help her as much as he can, working hard as a journalist and providing all he can for his family. But he’s a much more complex character than we may first think. Their toddler daughter Elise needs lots of care and attention, and both parents must fight to protect her when Paula comes on the scene.
My favourite character by far is Jo. She’s definitely the most likeable character, and the most relatable too. The reader is immediately provoked to empathise/sympathise with her, as we see just how much she struggles – her anxiety is triggered from just leaving the house at times. She finds it very difficult to visit new places and prefers the comfort of her home, which is something that I feel a lot of readers can relate to. When challenges arise, she is forced to make some very difficult choices. Some of these aren’t necessarily the right choices, but that’s what makes her such a believable character. She has her flaws, but don’t we all?
The narrative is written in Jo’s first person voice, with some chapters following the other protagonists in the third person. The novel opens with Jo going to pick Elise up from nursery, but then she is stopped and confronted by Paula. Paula asks Jo for a lift and she refuses. Paula knows who Jo is and has a glove belonging to Elise. From then on, lots of little things happen and Jo believes Elise is in danger, and goes on the run with her. The setting changes to Ireland, but once there, issues are still definitely not resolved.
The narrative motors forwards, and more and more difficulties arise for the family. Just about everything that could possibly go wrong seems to go wrong for Jo – but her motherly instincts kick in, and ultimately she does everything she possibly can to protect her daughter. Nobody believes Jo when she claims that Elise is in danger, and she must fight, alone, for survival. It’s very unfortunate that nobody believes the mentally ill character, claiming she is crazy and unstable. This novel reminded me of the issue of mental health stigma, which is unfortunately still very much present in today’s society.
This is an astounding psychological thriller, full of loads of twists and turns and plenty of suspense. You think you know where the story is going, but then another curve ball is thrown in and the story takes a completely different direction. Taylor has a clear skill in creating mystery and suspense, forcing the reader to the edge of their seat.
So, let’s talk about the ending. That ending! There’s an amazing final scene in which all tensions reach their peak and everything comes to a head. All the characters are reunited and the pieces of the puzzle finally fit together. The setting of the beach is spooky and disturbing, heightening the darkness of the final scene. I’m not going to give anything away here…but events are concluded in the most shocking way, and the reader is given an unexpected final revelation. Personally, I was very satisfied with the ending, and was glad that things turned out the way they did.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of reading ‘THE ESCAPE’. Taylor, you’ve done it again! This is a novel filled with plenty of suspense, lots of twists and turns, excellently-constructed characters and a masterful ending. If you’re on the lookout for a new psychological thriller to read, then look no further! For me personally, I enjoyed ‘THE LIE’ and ‘THE ACCIDENT’ just a little bit more – simply because I felt like the plots were slightly more unique. However, this is an excellent novel, and it’s hard to fault it! I highly recommend this to all of you thriller lovers out there.
Happy reading 🙂