From the book jacket:
When Stephanie moves to a deprived neighborhood of North Birmingham, she’s just happy to find an affordable room for rent that’s large enough not to deserve her previous room’s nickname, “the cell.” The eccentric–albeit slightly overly friendly–landlord seems nice and welcoming enough, the ceilings are high, and all of the other tenants are also girls. Things aren’t great, but they’re stable. Or at least that’s what Stephanie tells herself when she impulsively hands over enough money to cover the first month’s rent and decides to give it a go.
But soon after, she becomes uneasy about her rash decision. She hears things in the night. Feels them. Things…or people…who aren’t there in the light. Who couldn’t be there, because after all, her door is locked every night, and the key is still in place in the morning. Concern soon turns to terror when the voices she hears and presence she feels each night become hostile. It’s clear that something very bad has happened in this house. And something even worse is happening now. Stephanie has to find a way out, before whatever’s going on in the house finds her first.
No One Gets Out Alive will chill you straight through to the core–a cold, merciless, fear-inducing nightmare to the last page. A word of caution, don’t read this one in the dark.
No One Gets Out Alive is Adam Nevill’s sixth novel, but only my first to read of his, and I loved it. I finished all 628 pages in one week and looked forward to it every single evening. Now that I’m finished, I’m floundering a bit and wishing I’d ordered some of his other books earlier so there wouldn’t have been a reading gap.
What makes it so good, Melissa?
I’m glad you asked.
It’s scary. It’s really and truly scary, and the thrills it gives the reader don’t rely on gore. Now, don’t get me wrong, I can handle gore. But I don’t find it very scary. Paragraphs about blood and rolling heads and the like just leave me wondering if it really does do that and how does the writer know that anyway? Is the author a good researcher? And why am I now pulled out of the story and wondering about the writer’s research skills?
Part of what is horrific in this story is only tangentially related to ghosts and haunting issues. Real live humans can make a hell for you if you’re unlucky. Or gentle. Or too trusting. Or poor. I could go on. There are characters here who do just this, and provide just as much fright as anything that might come drifting out from under your bed.
It’s descriptive and the descriptions are excellent. At no time did I come across a poorly used word or an awkward metaphor that jarred my involvement in the story.
The characters felt real. The protagonist, Stephanie, is both weak and strong, smart and gullible. Because Nevill takes his time in laying the groundwork for who she is and what will happen to her, you eventually realize that there was no need for her to do anything differently at any early point. You won’t find yourself thinking something like, “Oh, don’t run in high heels. You’ll fall and then…oh there you go.” Stephanie won’t be running in high heels.
I’ve ordered two of his other novels: Lost Girl (dystopian/apocalyptic) and The Ritual (demons! or the devil! Dunno, haven’t read it yet!). The Ritual is a movie now, which will be released this fall.
Couple of links:
In this beautifully made short film, a father and daughter have survived an unnamed apocalyptic event and live together in a secret location safely hidden away from a nearby city. When the daughter develops an infection and is in need of antibiotics, they are forced to venture out in search of medicine for her.
They discover both what they do and do not want to find, and in the end, the film delivers a powerful message about fear and love.
The acting is genuine and the characters endearing. The setting is beautiful. The story will stick with you.
The next time you have a half hour to spare, click below: