Trigger Warnings: descriptions of extreme violence, torture, insinuations of rape, sex trafficking, and pedophilia, animal cruelty
It’s a cold, snowy night when Darby is making the trip she never imagined herself taking — she’s driving home to tell her mother she loves her. Darby and her mother have never gotten along, but now, her mother’s been diagnosed with cancer, and Darby has to make amends for all the horrible things she said to her mother on Thanksgiving.
So, that’s why Darby is driving through the worst blizzard she’s seen in her life. That’s why Darby is forced to pull over and wait out the storm at a highway rest stop with four strangers. And that’s where Darby’s life changes for ever, because that’s when she spots a little girl being kept in a cage in the back of one of her fellow traveler’s. vans.
This is no longer just a long night Darby must survive, but a life-or-death situation where she must figure out who, if anyone, she can trust to save this little girl from certain death.
Despite Adams’ writing style being honest and direct, No Exit was a wild ride from beginning to end.
If you’re a regular connoisseur of thrillers, you’ll pick up on a few hints dropped throughout the book guiding readers on the path, but it still makes you want to turn the page over and over again to see how the story unfolds.
Adams’ greatest strength is his ability to write a completely dislikable character with relatively little backstory and make you root for her from page one because all she wants to do is this right thing. Darby is a bit of a brat when we meet her. She’s driving home out of obligation, but all she wants to do is say sorry to her mother for the horrible things she put her through as a child. And now, Darby’s been thrust into a situation with an abducted child that she could have chosen to ignore but is determined to remedy. Readers are shown, not told, how tenacious, determined, brave, and caring Darby can be through her actions.
Most thrillers slowly build up their characters from little dropped anecdotes here and there, but Adams has a special way of revealing his characters backstories. His writing will make your skin crawl as he depicts his villain. He does it with just enough humanity that you understand why things have ended up this way, but it still makes you sick to your stomach.
This book is not without faults. There’s a bit of a structural deviation at the very end of the book that was a bit cheesy — email formatting to reveal an ending — but all in all, this was a page-turner that kept my attention and left me speechless when I hit the final word on the page.
No Exit is a thriller like never before. Trust is just a game, and the unexpected is bound to happen.