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Escape Rooms and A Night to (Not) Remember: I Ranked All of Megan Goldin's Thrillers

Updated: Mar 31, 2023

1.The Night Swim
WHAT THE BOOK IS ABOUT:
Rachel Krall is a true crime podcaster who is reporting on a rape trial in a seaside town. While there she gets letters from a woman named Hannah who is seeking help getting justice for her late sister’s murder.
MY REVIEW:
Of all four of Goldin's books this is the only one that reads like a mystery more than a thriller. I figured out how some of the past and present day cases were connected but not all of them. The connective tissue between them was very smart and lent the story this sense of haunting karma. I loved having the actual podcast in the narrative because if an author is going to use a popular gimmick in their book then they should use it to their advantage and actually utilize it. The social commentary in this book is so important. It shines a light on how not only are women victims blamed but how the onus is on the victim when it comes to convicting which is so twisted. I liked both main characters but Hannah's chapters genuinely chilled me. She's a very well written character as someone who has been frozen in time by tragedy.
WAS IT WORTH THE READ?: Absolutely!
FINAL RATING: 4.75⭐️

2. Stay Awake
WHAT THE BOOK IS ABOUT:
A woman, Liz Reese, wakes up every day unable to remember the last two years of her life. She finds herself being pursued both by police detectives who suspect her of being a killer and a mysterious stranger with dubious intent.
MY REVIEW:
This book kept me tense (especially so during the stalking/break in scenes and the ominous phone calls) and for me there’s nothing more important than atmosphere when it comes to the success of a thriller book. I never figured out who the killer was. I spent a large part of the novel debating if it was Liz herself or someone else (I’m not going to spoil anything here; it could be Liz or it could be someone else, you’ll have to read to find out). Even as I wondered if Liz was a killer I still found her to be a sympathetic character. I was hoping she was innocent or that if she wasn’t she managed to escape. I also liked the detective characters in the novel and their partnership (though for me they weren’t as much of a focus as Liz was). The pits of this novel are that due to Liz’s amnesia it can be repetitive which may frustrate some readers. Also, there is a plot hole where a certain character should have been able to figure out who the killer is (I can’t say more without spoiling things) but it didn’t reveal the killer to me the reader so I’m willing to forgive it.
WAS IT WORTH THE READ?: Yes.
FINAL RATING: 4.25⭐️

3. The Girl in Kellers Way
WHAT THE BOOK IS ABOUT:
A body is found on the remote forest road of Kellers Way. The murder is investigated by Detective Melanie Carter, and jogger Julie West may hold the key to finding answers.
MY REVIEW:
This book is quite similar to Stay Awake in that both feature the dual perspectives of a police detective and an unreliable narrator with memory issues. Compared to the main character in Stay Awake, though, I found Julie West to be less sympatric. I do recognize that she was a victim too as she was being gaslit and abused by her husband, Matt. Speaking of Matt, he made my skin crawl. The writing in this book made me uneasy, repulsed, and confused. That may sound like a bad thing, but for me it’s actually a positive because I believe that’s the reactions the author was going for. The reveals were a bit of a mixed bag for me. There were some moments when I was properly surprised and times I questioned my assumptions and that sent my suspicions spinning. On the other hand, the final reveal was pretty easy to see coming. As a debut novel, it’s pretty solid.
WAS IT WORTH THE READ?: I don’t regret it but I wouldn’t read it again.
FINAL RATING: 3.75⭐️

4. The Escape Room
WHAT THE BOOK IS ABOUT:
A group of coworkers at a finance firm participate in an escape room inside of an elevator where damning secrets come to life.
MY REVIEW:
Compared to Goldin’s other three books this one had a sharp decline in quality. The characters were meant to be corrupt and unlikable and so in that way they were well written. The downside there is no matter how high the stakes are I quite literally didn’t care about if any of them lived or died. Half the chapters took place in the elevator and half in the past dealing with the day to day operations of the firm. The past chapters were mundane and snooze inducing. The reveal about who was controlling the elevator was obvious from very early on and thus was very anticlimactic. The ending was also rushed and sloppy. The only thing I really liked about this novel was how claustrophobic the elevator chapters were. Also, the way the clues were distributed in the elevator was well done. Those are really the only positives though.
WAS IT WORTH THE READ?: Nope.
FINAL RATING: 2⭐️



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