Working on Wall Street is definitely not a job for the timid. Many try to make it but few are successful. For four of these individuals, Vincent, Sam, Jules and Sylvia, success will come at a high price. After a year of more failures than successes, they each receive an email one Friday directing them attend a team-building exercise known as an âEscape Roomâ that weekend. Attendance is mandatory, according to the email. It is on the way up in the elevator that the nightmare begins. They are trapped, with no way out and no way to call for help. Because of the cutthroat world in which they work, each of them begins to suspect the motives of the other and the tension only worsens when the lights go out and the heat comes on. As the hours pass, they each begin to wonder if they are able to do what it takes to get out alive.
The Escape Room by Megan Goldlin is a thoroughly enjoyable novel. Although it does not appear connected to the upcoming movie, the plots are remarkably similar. This book is a study of human behavior, examining how far someone will go to gain an advantage, even against someone they are close to. The story alternates between past and present, something that is essential to understanding how the main characters ended up where they did and to how the novel concludes. It also presents what I find to be a very realistic picture of how a group of people who routinely compete against one another will be have in a situation requiring cooperation. I have read few novels as well-written as this one and for that reason, I give it 5/5 stars.
*A copy of the ebook is the only compensation received in exchange for this review.*
Sylvie, Sam, Jules, and their boss, Vincent, receive a generic meeting invite to an escape room challenge on the eightieth floor of a large building. All come with little question, as they have a slavish devotion to their firm, Stanhope and Sons. They make a lot of money for the firm--and in turn, they make a lot of money for themselves. But lately, their team has failed to secure two major deals in a row, both of which have gone to a key competitor, who had inexplicably undercut them each time. The team is trouble. Their revenue is lower than it has been in years. They know their jobs are in trouble, and bonuses are being issued next week (along with notices). However, it quickly becomes clear this may be more than a typical team-building escape room challenge. The group solves a clue related to Sara Hall, a former analyst on the team who died. Locked together in an elevator, the competitive quartet starts to turn on each other.
"There was only the message on the television monitor. 'Welcome to the escape room. Your goal is simple. Get out alive.'"
This was a really fun, bizarre read that I very much enjoyed. I had no idea where it was going for much of the book, but that was totally okay. It's told in very short, quick alternating chapters between members of our elevator group and then Sara Hall herself, back when she was alive and well and working at the firm. The result is a fast-paced read, as you wonder what on earth happened to Sara, whom actually seems like a human being compared to the four others. Our four trapped analysts, however, range across various levels of despicable--liars and cheaters all devoted to making money at any cost.
Truth be told, you can only feel so sorry for them to be trapped in this elevator in the dark, at the mercy of a screen doling out clues. Once in the dark, they turn violent at times: empowered against their boss, Vincent. You realize that they've sacrificed so much for their company that they basically have nothing left on the personal front.
It's a fascinating, gripping tale of what people will do to succeed, for revenge, and what they'll do when pushed to the brink. It's a really fast read. Is it a plausible story? Probably not. Is it fun, enjoyable, and full of twists and turns? Oh yeah. I could see this one as a movie, for sure. Definitely just a thrilling read to get lost in a for a couple of hours, especially if you enjoy the dark and twisted world of finance. 4+ stars!
I received a copy of this novel from St. Martin's Press and Netgalley in return for a honest review.