‘Welcome to the escape room. Your goal is simple. Get out alive.’
In the lucrative world of Wall Street finance, money is aplenty and morals are scarce. This is especially true of business partners and corporate high-flyers Vincent, Jules, Sylvie, and Sam, who have clawed their way to the top of the corporate ladder with little regard for who they had to step on to get there. Their lives are what many of us can only imagine – billion dollar deals, exorbitant pay cheques, and outrageous luxury. With money comes power, and to these wealthy elite, it seems like nothing (and no one) will ever bring them down.
That is, until they enter the escape room.
Things start to go terribly awry when the four business partners are lured into an elevator under the guise that it is a work-related team-building exercise – it is everything but. The four have been trapped in the elevator for a reason – to pay for the things they have done, the people they have hurt, and the lies they have told. If they want to survive, one of them will have to come clean and confess…to murder.
Relationships become strained as the four must put aside their differences to solve a host of clues that will release them from the room. But it isn’t long before dark secrets are laid bare, and people are made to answer for profiting from a workplace where intimidation, deception, sexual harassment, and abuse thrive.
The Escape Room is Megan Goldin’s second thriller novel, and delivers just as much of a punch as the first. Tapping into the innate human fear of being trapped, helpless, and claustrophobic, Megan uses this tension to expose the lack of ethical and moral integrity that Wall Street is built upon. It’s a confronting read, and one that really makes you question financial institutions and the ways in which money can change people, often for the worse.
Cleverly constructed, The Escape Room shifts between the perspectives of the four corrupt business partners, and Sara, an ex-employee who witnessed first hand the abuse and corruption prevalent on Wall Street. With a much stronger moral compass than the other characters, Sara injects the novel with empathy and emotion, allowing the reader to understand the severity of the issues at hand, and the emotional and mental damage that such corporate environments can inflict.
The Escape Room has all the trademarks of a captivating, suspenseful thriller – it is well-written and paced, there are mysteries to be solved, and the characters are deceitful and untrustworthy, leaving you clinging to every page, wondering how it all will end. It stands out more than other thrillers, however, because of its strong social commentary, and the way it leaves the reader questioning what we, as humans, prioritise in our lives, and the inherent selfishness of our shallow pursuits.
If you are looking for a psychological thriller that not only gets your heart racing but also gets the cogs in your brain turning, look no further – The Escape Room is for you. But, beware – as the name suggests, you won’t be able to escape this book once you pick it up. Expect to read it cover to cover in one sitting.
Megan Goldin worked as a foreign correspondent for the ABC and Reuters in Asia and the Middle East where she covered war zones and wrote about war, peace and international terrorism.After she had her third child, she returned to her hometown of Melbourne to raise her three sons and write fiction, often while waiting for her children at their sports training sessions. The Girl in Kellers Way is Megan Goldin’s debut novel.