Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Mini Reviews: Blackout by Emily Barr and The Escape by Lynda La Plante

Title: Blackout
Author: Emily Barr
Published by: Headline
Publication date: 6th February 2014
Pages: 97
Genres: Adult/Psychological Thriller/Mystery/Suspense
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from Quick Reads.

You wake up in a strange room, with no idea how you got there.

You are abroad, in a city you have never visited before.

You have no money, no passport, no phone.

And there is no sign of your baby.

What do you do?

Being a short story, I didn't expect to like this as much as I did. Blackout is bone-chilling, dark, and horrifyingly realistic. Written from the point of view of a woman who after giving birth suffers from mental illness, I found it fascinating to read, and some parts were just shocking. I'm glad to have finally found a book about a character with mental illness, though, as there don't seem to be many around. It seems like quite a 'taboo' subject, even though it shouldn't be.

Even though Blackout is only 97 pages long, it had a lot of substance. It's a story that keeps you guessing, and I was thoroughly creeped a good way. I haven't read many psychological thrillers before - although I would like to - but this is definitely a brilliant one! Haven't read it? You should! Don't have enough time? It's only 97 pages long, you have no excuse. ;)

The writing style is very simple and usually this irritates me, but for this book it worked well with the protagonist and the condition she was in. I loved this book, and I'll definitely be looking around for more of Barr's work.
Title: The Escape
Author: Lynda La Plante
Published by: Simon and Schuster
Publication date: 6th February 2014
Pages: 100
Genres: Adult
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from Quick Reads.

Is a change of identity all it takes to leave prison?

Colin Burrows is desperate. Recently sent to prison for burglary, he knows that his four year sentence means that he will miss the birth of his first child. With his wife's due date fast approaching, he had hoped that the prison authorities would allow him to be present for the birth, but they have said no.

Sharing a cell with Colin is Barry Marsden. Unlike most of the inmates, Barry actually likes prison life because he has come from a very difficult family and been in and out of a series of foster homes. In prison, he has three meals a day and he has discovered a talent for drawing. So he is upset that he will have to leave on parole soon.

Sad to see his cellmate looking depressed, Barry hatches a plan to get Colin out of jail for the birth. It's a plan so crazy that either it will fail and get both men in deeper trouble, or it might just work. 

The Escape is incredibly detailed considering it's only 100 pages long, and I literally could not put it down. The friendship between Colin and Barry was so sweet and I found myself feeling sympathetic towards them which might seem strange seeing as they're prisoners, but they hadn't done anything insanely bad. It broke my heart to think that the prison wouldn't let Colin be there for the birth of his son, and this book was genuinely a roller-coaster of emotions.

Do I recommend it? Yes. My only issue - the reason I rated this book 4.5 instead of 5 - was that it didn't have any big twists or a climax. I'm all for simplicity, but sometimes a book needs something like that. Still, it's a great book!


  1. Oh, wauw.. normally I don't really read short stories but 'Blackout' by Emily Barr sounds really great! Sure I'll give that a try! It's only 97 pages ^^