Book Review Tuesday: Hairpin Bridge by Taylor Adams #psychologicalthriller

Warm and cozy window seat with cushions and a opened book, light through vintage shutters, rustic style home decor. Small cat on window seat, along with coffee cup by pillow, Words Book Review Tuesday superimposed over image

I’m back! Hubby and I spent a long weekend in Virginia for a family wedding—a wonderful event that left us with many great memories. I’m so happy for my niece and her new husband, who are now enjoying a long, leisurely honeymoon.

For myself, I’m settling back into my regular routine which includes blog posts and visits. To start, I’m kicking off the week with a NetGalley review on a book that releases today. Taylor Adams blew me away with No Exit, his debut novel. To this day it remains one of my favorite reads, and a book I easily see myself devouring again. Requesting an ARC of Hairpin Bridge, his latest was a no-brainer. Surprisingly, I found this one difficult to review. You’ll see why below.

BLURB:

From the author of the “full-throttle thriller” (A. J. Finn) No Exit—a riveting new psychological page-turner featuring a fierce and unforgettable heroine.

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…

MY REVIEW:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

I loved Taylor Adam’s No Exit and counted it among one of my favorite reads when it was released, so it was a no brainer to request an ARC of Hairpin Bridge. Thank you NetGalley and Joffe Books for my ARC. I was so excited and couldn’t wait to devour it. Unfortunately, unlike No Exit, this wasn’t a homerun. 

Lena Nguyen’s estranged twin sister, Cambry, has committed suicide by jumping from Hairpin Bridge, an old suspension bridge located on a remote section of highway in Montana. Unconvinced her sister truly killed herself, Lena asks the cop who found her body—Ray Raycevic—to meet her and answer questions. The two eventually end up on the bridge where the bulk of the story takes place. 

The narrative alternates between the present, flashback sequences from Cambry, and blog entries and thoughts about Cambry from Lena. Had the story stuck with flashbacks and action in the present, it wouldn’t have floundered. I found the blog entries and Lena’s thoughts about her sister draggy and, at times, confusing. 

The book takes a while to get off the ground. There’s a lot of talking back and forth between Lena and Raycevic with nothing happening. And the near-constant use of first names between two people who had never met grated on my nerves. There was even a point I found myself skimming. 

And then . . .

The Taylor Adams novel I expected kicked in. From the moment a third party is introduced into the story, it’s a freight-train ride until the end. The second half is an anxiety-fueled rollercoaster brimming with twists, turns, and nail-biting action. I encountered things that repulsed me and things that had me on the edge of my seat. Part cat-and-mouse, part explosive confrontation, the conflict kept me glued.

As with No Exit, this book would make an exceptional movie (fingers crossed and hoping). The ending was stellar, tying up multiple threads along with a surprise I didn’t expect. Were it not for the slow start and the intrusive blog entries I’d give Hairpin Bridge 5 stars. As it stands, I’m going with 3.5 rounded up to 4 for review purposes. 

To read or not to read: READ!!! The last half makes the whole thing worthwhile. 

Release Date is Today | Purchase from Amazon

40 thoughts on “Book Review Tuesday: Hairpin Bridge by Taylor Adams #psychologicalthriller

    • The first half of the book was not what I expected from this author, Harmony, but the second half made the whole thing worthwhile. A good book, but it could have been better. That, however, won’t stop me from reading Taylor Adams again. No Exit was phenomenal!

      Liked by 1 person

    • No Exit is a grand slam home run, Mischenko. I did enjoy Hairpin Bridge, but the first half requires a bit of slogging through. And most of the blog entries left me with a “meh” kind of reaction, although the reason for them becomes clearer at the end. I do recommend this author for thrillers and psychological suspense. I’ll definitely pick up his next book without hesitation.

      Liked by 1 person

    • It’s definitely a good read, Joan. You just have to slog through the first half. The ending was awesome and made it worth sticking it. For Taylor Adams at his best, I recommend No Exit. That one was a home run. Both books would make exceptional movies.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. You need to read Tessa’s review of this. It’s also 4 stars (not rounded up from 3.5, though), but almost exactly opposite of yours. She thought the blog posts helped and struggled with the horror of the second half.

    That’s why I love reviews.

    I had this on my radar. I’m still on the fence because of one key element that she mentioned, but after reading your review, I’m leaning toward reading it. Thanks, Mae.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, I need to look up her review. I’ve been out of the pocket with the trip to Virginia for the wedding. I knew she was reading it, and can’t wait to see her thoughts. I’m also curious about the key element you mentioned.

      It’s so weird how what works for someone doesn’t for another. The blog posts had my eyes glazing over, but I found the second half riveting. If you give it a try, I can’t wait to see what you think, Staci!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I usually skim through when the action gets too much (too gory, too violent, too intense) but I couldn’t do that with this one since that would have meant skimming through the whole second half of the book. Lol. The first half really does drag, though. It literally put me to sleep. And that ending. I couldn’t have imagined a better ending ❤️. It’s interesting that are perspectives on the blog posts were completely opposite – such is the marvel of subjectivity. Excellent review, as always!

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    • Believe it or not I have to skim violence and gore, too. There are some things I just can’t read, but I wasn’t outside my comfort zone with this one—though it was definitely intense. Well, the second half anyway. Like you said, the first half was a bit of a snooze fest, LOL. It’s interesting that most of our thoughts (blog posts, intensity of the second half) were so opposite, and yet we both enjoyed the book.

      I completely agree about the ending—so unexpected and so perfect!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I would generally do that too, Jacqui–dump the book if it wasn’t working for my by 20-25%. In this case, I loved the author, but more importantly, it was a NetGalley read, so I was more or less obligated to finish. I’m actually glad I did, when the second half exceeded my expectations!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Mae, I usually drop the book if it fails to capture me in the beginning. However, some books hold a promise despite their slow start. Inconsequential chat in the books really puts me off! Skimming is not my style of reading. I like to experience the situations and savor the style. I am glad you continued reading and found it good. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Balroop, the chatting at the beginning of this book really put me off. I had to grit my teeth to get through it, but I am so glad I did, because the second half was outstanding. If this hadn’t been a NetGalley read (which I felt obligated to review), I probably would have ditched it. I’m so glad I didn’t. Like you, I prefer to savor rather than skim!

      Liked by 1 person

    • The fact that Taylor Adams delivered such a grand slam the first time out really kept me glued, Judi. That, and the fact Hairpin Bridge was a NetGalley read and I felt obligated to review it. In this case, I was fortunate that the second half more than made up for the slow start. I still love this author!

      Liked by 1 person

    • If it hadn’t been NetGalley (and Taylor Adams) I might not have made it through the “dragging,” Craig. I’m so glad I stuck with it to reach that spectacular second half. You would love it!

      Liked by 1 person

    • If Hairpin Bridge finds its way onto your TBR, Kim, I can’t wait to hear what you think of it.

      And thanks about the wedding, It’s always great to connect with family—now especially, after the pandemic!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. An interesting review, Mae. I remember reading somewhere that Robert Jordan gets his wife to read all his books at an early stage for an ‘ordinary reader’ test. She then helps him make his ideas more understandable to others. It sounds like this book could have used an ordinary reader test.

    Liked by 1 person

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