On the 27th of April 1997, four contestants make it to the final cell of the Quigley House, a full-contact haunted escape room made famous for its monstrosities. If the group can endure its horrors without shouting the safe word, ‘reprieve’, they’ll win a substantial cash prize – a startling feat accomplished only by one other group in the house’s long history. But before they can complete the challenge, a man breaks into the cell and kills one of the contestants. As each character’s journey unfurls, deceits and misunderstandings fuelled by obsession and prejudice are revealed, forcing all to reckon with the ways in which their beliefs and actions contributed to a horrifying catastrophe.
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An autumn 2021 pick for New York Times * Observer * Esquire * O Quarterly * Chicago Tribune * Shondaland'[A] gripping piece of storytelling' GUARDIAN'Brilliantly conceived and unsettling' SUNDAY TIMES'Clever, insightful and unnerving' OBSERVER Most people didn't make it to Cell Six, he said. Most called out the safe word - reprieve - after the first Cell. It was that intense.When Bryan, Jaidee, Victor and Jane team up to compete at a full-contact escape room, it seems simple. Hold your nerve through six terrifying challenges; collect all the red envelopes; win a huge cash prize.But the real horror is unfolding outside of the game, in a series of deceits and misunderstandings fuelled by obsession and prejudice. And by the end of the night, one of the contestants will be dead.A startlingly soulful exploration of complicity and masquerade, Reprieve combines the psychological tension of classic horror with searing social criticism, and seamlessly threads together trial transcripts, evidence descriptions, and deeply layered individual narratives to present a chilling portrait of American life.