On Monday morning a security employee hears two gun shots coming from a largely unused elevator. He calls the police who manage to open the door…and retreat in shock at the amount of blood covering the small space. What exactly led to this situation? Who were the four people confined in this elevator and why did they hate each other to this extent?
To answer these questions we have to go back to Friday evening when four investment bankers Vincent, Sylvie, Jules and Sam receive identical e-mails requesting them to participate in a meeting outside their office. Things haven’t been going that well recently, the threat of losing their lucrative positions and being fired is real, and they all feel they cannot afford to miss this particular meeting, which turns out to be a kind of a team building exercise, known as an escape room. In a classic escape room scenario, you get clues to decipher, situations to show your leadership skills and promote team spirit and…what was the word…Trust (they have well and truly forgotten the meaning of this word)? If you manage to solve the mystery in 60 minutes, you get a round of applause and a pat on the shoulder. If not, the door opens anyway, you get a message of encouragement, a pat on the shoulder, and everybody is ready to go for a Friday drink.
If only this was a classic escape room! Or at the very least, if only the four people locked in it, could trust each other. Oh they do get a series of clues, but the aim of the game is different this time: try to stay alive and work out the mystery behind this set-up.
The Escape Room is an incredibly addictive read. You’d think that the ruthless world of ridiculuosly overpaid, overworked and overstressed bankers is something that has been described and discussed to death and there’s nothing new to add. Yet, the much more personal narrative of the second POV (there are two: one giving a blow-by-blow account of what was happening in the elevator, and the other one that gives you an insight into more distant past events that led to the deadly game) is what made this book so fascinating.
Well-written, compelling, gripping?– yes! Believable?– eh, no, not really. Oh, I do believe the descriptions of long hours, glass ceiling, gruelling work hours, sacrificed relationships and totally absent work-life balance, sexism, elitism, alcoholism and drug abuse. It’s the details of the revenge set-up that required me to suspend my belief. I didn’t care – it was way too entertaining.
Thank you to Edelweiss and St.Martin’s for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.
The Escape Room is out on the 30th of July 2019.
- Have you read The Escape Room or is it on your tbr? What did you think of it?