No Exit

"There's a child locked inside this van." The realization sends a shot of fear through Darby Thorne's body, as she peers through the back window of a vehicle parked at a snowed-in rest stop located in the middle of nowhere Colorado. There are four others there to sit out the blizzard: two young men and a middle-aged couple. But which is responsible for the young girl locked inside the van?

That's only the first question that Darby must answer in Taylor Adams's heart-thumping thriller, No Exit. A filmmaker as well as a novelist, Adams (Our Last Night) delivers a story that moves at breakneck speed with more suspenseful twists and turns than an icy mountain road. Set over the course of a single night, its chapters are broken up by the hour, making the events seem to pass in real time.

Darby, meanwhile, is an unexpected hero: a sheltered but cunning college sophomore with a history of stealing her mother's car and lying with a straight face, skills that come in handy when trying to outwit a crafty kidnapper. She's also immensely likable; her comebacks when facing off against the enemy are hilariously withering. Humor is everywhere in this novel despite its dark premise. The trapped nine-year-old possesses an equally sharp wit, and the strangers in the rest stop all have their own clever moments. Suspense is still the dominating mode, though, and from beginning to end, it never lets up. --Amy Brady, freelance writer and editor

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