So recently I found the time to read ‘The Escape’ by Cally Taylor which is a mixture of suspense, thrill and fear.
Why I read The Escape.
I watched a talk the author, Cally, conducted at London Book Fair in March and received an excerpt of ‘The Escape’. The first page sets us up nicely for the suspense and twists and turns that befall us in the book so I knew it was something that I would enjoy reading. I wouldn’t get bored! Cally also handed out some great advice and tips for budding authors and she was really inspiring; I liked her immediately. Maybe I’ll do another post on all of this later.
What is it about?
The Escape focuses on Jo, her husband Max and their young daughter Elise. You immediately get drawn in as Jo is being followed but of course you don’t know that at first. It all seems innocent until the end of the first chapter after which you are compelled to carry on reading. Jo has been followed by a stranger and asked for a lift and the woman knows a lot about her. Jo has experienced a life of anxiety and agoraphobia. The story builds up to to everyone and anyone around her falling foul of her apart from possibly her friend Helen, mum and a stranger she meets later. Her mistrust of them matches their suspicion of her and she runs away with her daughter.
Why is it good?
‘The Escape’ is a story told by an unreliable narrator, written from Jo’s first person point of view. I found myself relating to her a lot but sometimes wanted to shake her and shout at her to deal with something in a different way. As the story develops you never quite know whether Jo really does have cause for concern or if her mental health is just declining. I liked this because not only do you want to continue to read to find out but you want to find out who is actually causing the main problem.
Every few chapters the first person point of view switches to another person. It is who this is at the beginning. You are inclined to think it may be the stranger Jo gave a lift to but it does start to become clearer as the book progresses.
I think it’s great how the book’s tone completely does an ‘about turn’ as Jo is forced to battle her fears and paranoias and you really feel like you grow and change with her and her small triumphs. The scene nearer the end with Max, Mary and Jo (you’ll need to read to know more!) is a real climax of the suspense and fear that’s been building all the way through. There’s a moment you fear the worst which drives you to the ending of the book.
The epilogue serves as a satisfying conclusion of ‘The Escape’ as it essentially mirrors the beginning in a clever way which ties it all up. The tables have well and truly turned and I was glad and happy for Jo.
There is an interesting part where it is revealed at the beginning that Jo has her husband’s boss’s phone number programmed in to her phone. The boss, Fiona, at one point even says that Jo needs to remove her number but it actually serves a very useful purpose. I don’t want to provide too many spoilers but I was glad the power was passed to her in the moment she chose to do one thing involving Fiona’s voicemail.
As the book progresses, the power struggle between Jo and her husband becomes further apparent. It feels as if he is later losing the control as Jo continues to triumph. He gets drunk, he gets targeted and he can’t penetrate and manipulate people like he once could. This is quite ironic as Jo believes all the way through that she is the one losing control and reinforces the whole ‘escape’ theme as she runs from everything. She runs at the beginning by grabbing her daughter and ‘escaping’ from her daughter’s nursery and continues to run throughout the book.
I highly recommend it. Have you read it?