“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.”
The Escape opens with a killer hook that grabs you on the first page, and from that point on the book is completely unputdownable! Bursting with suspense and intrigue, The Escape sinks its claws into you and won’t let go right until the end.
The author presents the reader with an unreliable narrator in the shape of main protagonist Jo, a wife to Max and a mother to toddler Elise, Jo has been increasingly struggling with her state of mind. Having suffered from mental health problems since losing her first child before birth, Jo is panicky, neurotic, paranoid and anxious. When a stranger asks Jo for a lift she is so startled by the request that she agrees, this is a decision she will regret. She doesn’t know the woman, Paula, but Paula seems to know her. After some indirect threats are made, and some nasty insinuations, Jo is left understandably terrified. Bit by bit, Jo’s mental health starts to deteriorate further. Things eventually come to a head when Jo feels she has no other choice but to flee with her daughter to her native homeland Ireland. But are things really as bad as Jo thinks, or is everything a figment of her imagination?
The story is narrated mainly by Jo, however there are some interspersed chapters from Max’s point of view, and some by an unknown narrator who quite frankly chilled me to the bone. It is not known who this person is who wants to hurt Jo so badly, or why, but these chapters give the book a seriously sinister feel to it. I was completely immersed in Jo’s character and the story, and the more Jo became anxious the more I became anxious with her. I had a sick feeling in my stomach for the whole of the second half of the book, which is testament to how good Cally Taylor’s writing is. The fear just radiates off the pages and completely engulfs you.
There are so many questions asked in this book. Who is Paula and what does she want? Is Max telling the truth when he says he doesn’t know Paula? Who is Mary and what secrets is she hiding? Why is Jo’s Mum so against her going to Ireland? And finally, is someone really out to get Jo, or is it all in her head? The author skillfully answers these questions when all the different threads of the plot are woven together to give a clever, well thought out, and solid ending.
The Escape really is one of those “hold your breath” psychological thrillers that will have you dangling on a knife-edge throughout. Overall rating five stars. Thanks to Cally Taylor, Avon UK and NetGalley for the advanced copy.