No Way Out by Andrea Kane
Pros: Not a whole lot – the ending was exciting is about all I can say
Cons: Dull story, dull characters, horrible romance, eye-rolling required
No Way Out by Andrea Kane is a ho-hum “thriller”. I put that word in quotation marks because this book is not particularly thrilling. Throughout, I kept waiting for the giant shoe to fall – something that would turn this story around – but it never happened.
Julia Talbot is a second-grade teacher. Loves her students, especially Brian, one of her favorites. Brian comes from the wealthy, up-and-coming Stratford family. His father is the mayor, the apple of the town’s eye, well on his way to the state senate.
So when Brian starts showing changes in his personality, when the bright, excited boy turns sullen, Julia is understandably concerned. Unbeknownst to her, the Stratfords are hiding a secret. In particular, the Mayor is keeping a secret, something that could blow up his political career. And when the wrong person finds out and blackmails him, things get naturally tense at home.
Brian’s uncle Connor has been in the business of taking care of his brother, his whole life, cleaning up after his messes. So once again he steps in. But as Julia continues to poke her nose in the Stratford’s business, she becomes part of the mess. Connor decides he needs to “distract” her, in the only way he knows. Pursue her romantically, get her off the trail, do whatever it takes to protect the family’s honor.
But Julia’s not so easily distracted, and the situation goes from bad to worse when Brian disappears.
There you have it. A political family that’s hiding something. A blackmailer wanting a ton of money to keep silent. And a little boy that gets caught in the crossfire. While I wouldn’t want a kid to get hurt, and kept hoping that he would be OK, the rest of the story had me yawning. I felt like we were watching a bunch of supposed adults acting like little kids. The mayor’s big secret that he was hiding was ridiculous; I felt it was something he could have “fixed” easily enough. His reasons stated for letting it get so out of hand were the type that had me rolling my eyes. I felt like playing a violin and repeating “Oh, poor baby, it must be rough being rich, loved by your family, and well on your way to greatness… no wonder you need to ensure it all blows up“. No matter how many ways they tried to get me to see the forces driving him to self-destructive behavior, I just didn’t buy it.
Then there was the romance angle in the book. Connor initially dates Julia just to distract her from digging into the family’s business. But five minutes later, they’ve hopped into bed, and now they’re madly in love with each other. It was ridiculous. Considering that the entire book other than the epilogue spans less than a month, you wouldn’t believe the path that their relationship takes. Eyes rolled, once again.
Most of the book was just plain dull. For most of the pages, very little happens. It’s only at the end when it finally gets a bit more exciting. When there’s finally a bit of action and suspense. Not really any surprises, though. There’s a small twist regarding the identity of the “bad guy” but nothing that an experienced reader wouldn’t have seen coming from a mile away.
So, there you have it. A ho-hum thriller that wasn’t very thrilling. No way should you read No Way Out.