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One of the books that I read last year that really stuck with me was Taylor Adams’ No Exit. In case you’ve never heard of it, it’s about a young woman stranded at a service station in the middle of a blizzard who notices a child in a cage in one of the other vehicles parked there. What follows is an intense pacing explosive thriller. I would have given it a 5 stars if not for the fact that it was so incredibly gory at times that it made me feel sick. Even thinking about it now gives me the same reaction. But I digress.
So when I saw that Hairpin Bridge was available on NetGalley as a ‘Read Now’ title, I knew I had to give this author a second chance. And I actually didn’t enjoy this one as much as No Exit. But it was still an enjoyable read and a great mystery. So let’s get into my review of Hairpin Bridge by Taylor Adams.
Many thanks to Joffe Books for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
by Taylor Adams
Publisher: Joffe Books
Date of Publication: 15th June 2021
Format: eBook (325 pages)
Three months ago, Lena Nguyen’s estranged twin sister, Cambry, drove to a remote bridge sixty miles outside of Missoula, Montana, and jumped two hundred feet to her death. At least, that is the official police version.
But Lena isn’t buying it.
Now she’s come to that very bridge, driving her dead twin’s car and armed with a cassette recorder, determined to find out what really happened by interviewing the highway patrolman who allegedly discovered her sister’s body.
Corporal Raymond Raycevic has agreed to meet Lena at the scene. He is sympathetic, forthright, and professional. But his story doesn’t seem to add up. For one thing, he stopped Cambry for speeding a full hour before she supposedly leapt to her death. Then there are the sixteen attempted 911 calls from her cell phone, made in what was unfortunately a dead zone.
But perhaps most troubling of all, the state trooper is referred to by name in Cambry’s final enigmatic text to her sister: Please Forgive Me. I couldn’t live with it. Hopefully you can, Officer Raycevic.
Lena will do anything to uncover the truth. But as her twin’s final hours come into focus, Lena’s search turns into a harrowing, tooth-and-nail fight for her own survival—one that will test everything she thought she knew about her sister and herself…
- Child injury/death
- Body horror/gore
Let’s start by addressing my 3 star rating. I do feel that Hairpin Bridge is a good book and one that I enjoyed reading. However, there were some issues that I had with it that meant that I couldn’t justify a higher rating. Most of these issues were purely down to personal preference but I’ll explain in a little more detail now.
First of all, the big one was that the set up felt too similar to No Exit for me. Both books follow a vulnerable 20-something female MC who winds up in an isolated location fighting to survive against career criminals. There are, naturally, a lot of differences with the finer details. But the overall similarities were a little jarring at times.
Other than that, I had some issues with the level of gore/body horror. It wasn’t as gory as No Exit which was a plus as I had some concerns going in. But basically there’s a lot of blood, injury and body horror so if that kind of thing makes you uncomfortable, then this might be one to skip.
As for the plot, I felt like the majority of it was this gunfight on a bridge. And that didn’t really work for me. I did, however, really enjoy Cambry’s story. The mystery of Cambry’s death was incredibly compelling for me so I think maybe the book overall would have worked better with a slightly different set up.
Now that I’ve addressed what I didn’t like about Hairpin Bridge, let’s take a look at what I did like about it. First of all, Lena is an awesome kickass protagonist. I could read a dozen books about her. There was a lot of depth to her character. As the story progresses, all these layers get peeled away which was done incredibly well. And the same can be said for her recently deceased twin, Cambry. Even though we only ever hear her perspective through others, she’s very much a main character and likewise has a lot of layers.
Adams challenges both our assumptions and those of the characters throughout. Nothing is black and white, nothing is exactly what it seems. And that’s part of what makes Hairpin Bridge an effective mystery. I didn’t have any idea where it was going and even if I did, it would have been way off the mark.
And finally, I really enjoyed the writing style here. The book has three distinctive styles; Lena’s perspective, her blog and the story she’s writing about Cambry. Each of these is formatted differently (at least in my version) which made it really easy to follow.
All in all, I did enjoy reading Hairpin Bridge by Taylor Adams and would recommend it to anyone looking for a tense mystery and doesn’t mind some graphic body horror.
Read This If You…
- Enjoy twisty mysteries with strong, independent female main characters
- Don’t mind a fair amount of violence and body horror
- Want complex characters with strong development
Will you be adding Hairpin Bridge to your TBR? Let me know in the comments below!
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