The Escape - CL Taylor - taut page turner
A thoroughly entertaining and gripping psychological suspense story by the wonderful CL Taylor, author of The Accident The Lie and The Missing all taut, suspense filled Domestic Noir/ psychological thrillers.
In The Escape we follow the life of Jo, our main protagonist, who is the Mother of a little girl Elise, and is married to an investigative journalist Max. Jo is suddenly approached and threatened, by a stranger, a woman called Paula who warns Jo that she needs to keep a closer eye on her daughter and that her husband has taken something that belongs to Paula.
Now if Jo's reactions to this encounter seem a touch extreme this is explained when we realise that she is agoraphobic, in fact as we immerse ourselves deeper in her story it is revealed that she has several mental health issues, is somewhat unstable and doubts begin to creep in. My empathy for her began to waver slightly as she becomes the atypical unreliable narrator around which many psychological thrillers are woven and the ideal breeding ground for mistrust and red herrings.
Then more facts about her home life are revealed and I'm back in her corner, rooting for her, but maybe I was right to be sceptical? and so on, the wavering, is she behaving logically or is she a fruit loop keeping me on a knife edge. Who IS this Paula and what is her story? Is husband Max as devoted as he would at first appear?
But it is never in doubt that Jo loves her daughter deeply and it becomes clear that she will stop at almost nothing to protect her. There is a parallel storyline, that of Mary, an older woman who is also battling stress and the prolonged effects of grief after losing a child in terrible circumstances. Coincidence puts these 2 women on a collision course.
I won't reveal too much more about the story, suffice to say that if you loved CL Taylors earlier thrillers you'll devour this one. It's dark and twisty and very clever and its a damned good read to keep you turning the pages late at night.
"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.