A 5 star thriller!
I have been waiting for one of these for a while – it’s been so long since I’ve read such an amazing thriller like this! While I normally love thrillers, I don’t usually read ones that aren’t young adult as much as I should. I decided to get this as one of my Book of the Month club add-ons, though, because I want to start reading books that are a little bit out of my usual fare, and I thought this might be a good place to start, since it bridges the gap a bit (thrillers of YA and general thrillers).
I hadn’t heard of No Exit before, and it sounded really, really good, so I decided to take a chance on it and pick it, and once I started reading, I couldn’t put this book down. It was such an amazing thrill ride from the very beginning through to the last page (which had an ending that I did not see coming and absolutely loved).
“The easiest lies to tell are the true ones.”
Darby doesn’t have a good relationship with her mother. They argue, say things they don’t mean, and don’t spend much time together. The last phone call Darby had with her mother didn’t end on good terms, and now her mother has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Darby wants to go home from college to spend one last Christmas with her mother and tell her that she’s sorry for the things she said on their last call, so she sets out on a journey to get to her family. However, a snow storm interrupts her plans, and leaves her stranded at a rest stop.
The rest stop isn’t empty, though – there are four other people there with her – a man and his cousin, who seems like a nice enough lady, a chatty, almost quirky guy with an upbeat attitude who is Darby’s age, and a younger, strange man who Darby gets creepy vibes from.
When Darby slips outside to try and make a phone call to her mother, to let her know that she won’t be able to make it that night, she notices something strange about a locked van that is sitting in the parking lot. She doesn’t know who the van belongs to, but when she checks it out, she finds that there is a little girl locked inside a dog cage in the back.
Darby goes back inside, trying to convince herself that all she saw was a figment of her imagination, but she can’t shake the strange feeling that that isn’t the truth – and that one of the people in here with her are hiding something. She thinks it might be the guy who is creeping her out, with the rat-like features and demeanor, but she can’t be sure – until she breaks into the van to see if her instincts were right.
“Tonight, every decision would leave footprints.”
Darby has to carefully devise a plan to get the little girl out of the back of the van, so she takes it upon herself to get to know the others a little better so she can help her. Every action that she takes tonight, every person she talks to, will have consequences, so she has to make the right choices in order to make sure that the little girl survives. However, most of these people aren’t who they seem, and Darby will soon learn the hard way that getting involved isn’t always the safest thing, even if it’s for the best reasons.
Okay. So I can’t tell you much more about this book without spoiling it. It’s kind of predictable, at least in terms of who the “bad guy” is, but that’s when the plot throws a twist at you that you won’t see coming (at least I didn’t). It makes it a lot more fun and exciting, and when I tell you that I was at the edge of my seat throughout this whole book, I’m not kidding.
Darby’s character is one of the best, most developed characters I’ve ever come across in a thriller. Not only is she brave, strong, and independent, she’s so relatable. She’s the kind of character that is flawed in her own way but uses what she can to get through tough situations, like the ones she constantly finds herself in all night. I loved that. I loved Darby’s character and that hardcore determination that she possesses.
The other characters were pretty well written, too. They were all unique and brought something a little different to the story, and the mash-up of personalities really made for an electric tension between them all. I love when characters are really, fully fleshed out, and all of them in this book were.
The plot was so twisty and turn-y that I had no idea what was coming. The ending? I never would have guessed it, and I loved that!
There was no slow pacing in this book, either – it was broken up into sections depending on the time of the night, and told over just a few hours, but it was fast-paced and kept me turning page after page, saying “just one more chapter!” The chapters are told in time increments instead of actual chapters, which I thought was pretty neat. I don’t usually like books that take place in only a few hours like this, but this one did it in a great way and I have to applaud the author for his creativity here.
If you’re after an amazing thriller and want something with a great pace that will keep you guessing (and reading) well into the night, try this. I wasn’t bored even for a second, and the characters were the kind of characters I dream of when it comes to a book. This is one of the best thrillers that I have read in a long time, and I really want to check out any other book by this author – he is definitely going on my list of authors that I will automatically buy when they have a new book out!