Invited to participate in an escape room as a team-building exercise, four ferociously competitive co-workers crowd into the elevator of a high rise building, eager to prove themselves. But when the lights go off and the doors stay shut, it quickly becomes clear that this is no ordinary competition: they’re caught in a dangerous game of survival.
Goldin is an excellent storyteller with a terrific knack for setting the pace that keeps her audience unable to turn away, and The Escape Room is a must-read! ... Throughout the chapters that take place in the elevator, the reader can feel the fear, the growing panic, the explosions of rage, the growing hopelessness, and the sense of dread. These chapters display for the reader the constant, and constantly growing, terror of the escape room participants ... excellent storytelling and it constantly pulls the reader further and further inside ... Goldin has the infrequently seen talent of writing likeable and unlikable characters equally well ... engrossing, it’s exciting, and it is a great way to remember just how much fun it can be to 'escape' into a great book.
This all might feel predictable if not for Goldin’s talent. She brings a lovely complexity to what could be trite characters, and a sure hand at ratcheting up the tension. The pages turn themselves ... The relentless hours, the worshiping at the altar of money and the rank chauvinism of Wall Street feel all too real. One starts wanting to rescue these hapless capitalists, and perhaps take them home for some humble soup ... The writing is no frills. One can see Goldin’s background as a reporter in the eyes-to-the-road prose ... As a debut novelist Goldin has room to grow — it would be nice to see her connect more with the joy of language, and take more care with her descriptions, which can veer into cliché...Parts of the novel could have used more research, as credibility stretches to incredulity ... But as a light thriller, The Escape Room delivers all that it promises. It is a sleek, well-crafted ride to a surprisingly twisty conclusion, posing a satisfying and unexpected question at the end: What if escaping the escape room means changing who we are?
Australian novelist Goldin spent nearly two decades working as a foreign-affairs journalist but seems to know the corporate world cold, from its Ferragamo suits to the number of figures in a Wall Streeter's sign-on bonus. Her American debut is a shrewd, brilliantly structured thriller doubling as a takedown of corporate culture. While the four elevator captives initially appear to be types, especially philanderer Sam with his shopaholic wife, Goldin lavishes time on their stories, ultimately making them, if not entirely sympathetic, more than a quartet of Gordon Gekkos.