Thrill for the Week: The Last Word and Hairpin Bridge by Taylor Adams

There is no better thrill than starting a book without wanting to put it down. One that captures your full attention, that you pause everything and are so excited you are turning the pages as fast as possible to see how it all turns out for your characters. That’s what an excellent cat-and-mouse game has me doing, and Taylor Adams is one of my favorite authors for that trope. He is the king of the cat-and-mouse game trope and knows how to turn out those exciting page-turners using it. I loved No Exit, and once I started it, I didn’t stop until I was done. No Exit sparked a bit of buzz, but his next book Hairpin Bridge didn’t, so I picked it up after reading and loving his newest, The Last Word. Hairpin Bridge didn’t quite have the thrilling elements of the other two, but it’s an exciting cat-and -mouse-game with something a little different.

One thing that makes Taylor Adams’ books unique is how he combines the trope and increases the tension by creating a claustrophobic, isolated setting that increases the danger to the story, making that the driving force of the game.

The Last Word

You might want to pause before posting your next 1-star review and read The Last Word before you do!!

No one-star review for me for The Last Word. I am giving it all the stars!! If there is one trope I might like better than a cat-and-mouse game, it’s the revenge trope. Taylor Adams has nailed it here by combining both tropes and creating a unique, intense, on-the-edge-of-your-seat, I can’t-put-it-down page-turner.

What is going on between the cover

Emma Carpenter is house-sitting in isolation with her golden retriever Laika in an old beachfront home on the Washington coast. She spends her days reading, and after reading a poorly written—but gruesome—horror novel, she posts a one-star review. Strange things happen, and she begins to wonder if the author is out for revenge for that review.

My Two Cents

Taylor Adams creates another unique cat-and-mouse game with a strong, resourceful mouse that the cat has underestimated. I love the story’s premise and applaud Adam for pulling it off and bringing something new to the table. I loved Emma, her golden retriever, and their taut, entertaining, enduring dialogue. That is enough to give it five stars but be aware that there is some danger for him as well.

Taylor Adams does a fantastic job of building the story’s atmosphere, creating a sense of danger, isolation, unease, and foreboding that drives the story forward. The tension rises with every page to the story’s climax with an exciting and rewarding payoff.

My Last Words, read it, be entertained, but it might have you rethinking a 1-star review.

I received a copy from the publisher on EW

Hairpin Bridge

What is going on between the covers

Lena’s sister, Cambry, supposedly drove to a remote bridge and jumped off, but Lena is convinced that’s not what happened. She is determined to find out what really happened and goes to Hairpin Bridge to meet Officer Raycevic, who found her sister’s body, to get answers.

My two cents

Hairpin Bridge is a heart-pounding, cinematic cat-and-mouse game with plenty of suspense and tension that kept me on the edge of my seat with plenty of twists and turns that had me wondering who the cat was and who the mouse was. The stakes are high for Lena when she faces off with Officer Raycevic, and she is willing to risk everything to find out what happened to her sister. Taylor Adams creates doubt with layers of uncertainty, and I went back and forth with who I was rooting for. Lena makes for an intriguing underestimate, resource opponent in this cat-and-mouse game.

The story is told through two separate timelines as we follow Lena facing off with Raycevic as he tries to convince her Cambry died by suicide, along with Cambry’s timeline leading up to her death. We see the discrepancies between what Lena is being told and what we already know, and it could be interpreted differently after seeing each timeline, creating doubt in both timelines.

Overall, Hairpin Bridge is an entertaining, thrilling story with characters you don’t know who to root for to keep you on your toes. The pacing could be a bit better, as to much time is spent going back and forth between Lena and Raycevic. The ending comes together well with a rewarding payoff, making it a satisfying read.

No Exit

My two cents

Colorado blizzard, stranded travelers, an isolated rest stop, a kidnapped child, a cat and mouse game between a young woman and a terrifying psychopath

No Exit is one of my favorite type of thriller. A thrilling fast-past, climatic, heart-pounding game of cat and mouse between two strong and very different characters who try to outwit each other. I even joined in on this cat and mouse game by yelling at the characters and rooting here for our young brave heroine who gives it her all to outwit a psychopath.

No Exit had me turning those pages as fast as I could. It’s intensely gripping right up to that climatic and emotional ending. There are some terrifying twists and turns that did get a bit graphic at times. We were feeling things were getting pretty intense here with some of those scenes and might not be able to think the same way about a certain thing used in this story without thinking about this story. Taylor Adams sure knows how to play that shock effect well here. We might even be thinking twice about stopping at any rest/visitors centers again. And I am going to stick to my “if it’s snowing I am not going rule.