ShortBookandScribes #BookReview – The Escape Room by L.D. Smithson

The Escape Room by L.D. Smithson (aka Leona Deakin) is published by Bantam Books and available now in hardcover, eBook and audiobook. My thanks to Chloe Rose for the proof copy.

Everything is a clue.
Bonnie arrives on a remote sea fort off the coast of England to take part in a mysterious reality TV show. Competing against seven strangers, she must solve a series of puzzles to win the prize money, but this is no game – and the consequences of failure are deadly.

No one leaves.
Under scrutiny from the watching public, the contestants quickly turn on one another. Who will sacrifice the most for wealth and fame? And why can’t Bonnie shake the creeping sense that they are not alone?

The only way out is to win.
When the first contestant is found dead, Bonnie begins to understand the dark truth at the heart of this twisted competition: there’s a killer inside the fort, and anyone could be next. If Bonnie wants to escape, she needs to win…

Are you ready to play?

Wow, what a ride I’ve just been on! I often enjoy reading a psychological thriller but every once in a while one comes along that totally blows me away and The Escape Room is one such book.

The story begins when Bonnie is getting ready to join her fellow contestants on a new reality show. She doesn’t know where it will take place, who the contestants will be or what it will entail, only that puzzles must be solved. All seems to go reasonably well until somebody dies and Bonnie realises that this is no ordinary reality show. To survive she needs to escape, and to escape she needs to outwit everyone else.

This is a super fast-paced and exciting story but I read it fairly slowly as I wanted to take in all the clues. I’m not saying I came anywhere close to solving them and it became abundantly clear to me that I would be completely useless in an escape room situation, but I loved the complexity of it and all the little hidden details that the group had to decipher.

Bonnie is a great main character. She’s fair, clever and kind and I did wonder sometimes if she was just too good to be true. The other contestants were mostly decent people until, of course, they had to fight for their survival. The fort stuck out at sea is an inspired setting and I found it eerie and disconcerting. L.D. Smithson’s plot work is superb and the pace never lets up, making this one brilliant, exhilarating read and definitely the best locked room thriller I’ve read.

L. D. Smithson was born in Staffordshire and now lives in Ilkley with her husband and their three children. She is an occupational psychologist and a crime writer.

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