The Team: A #psychological #thriller of wilderness survival by JL Raven #AudiobookReview #DebutNovel

Author: JL Raven

Released on Audible: April 2020

Category: Psychological, Thriller, Survival, Audiobook Review


The opportunity of a lifetime might get her killed.

When her boss comes down with a bout of food poisoning, lowly corporate accountant Lauren gets an offer she can’t refuse: Take his place at an exclusive team-building retreat with senior management. 

The retreat is held at a remote lodge, and the rules are strict: No cell phones, no computers, and no contact with the outside world. Events take a sinister turn when a freak snowstorm leaves them trapped far from civilization…and Lauren discovers they aren’t alone in the wilderness. 

An unavoidable last minute change of plan means Lauren Alexander joins a corporate team building retreat at a remote lodge in the middle of a national forest. It’s the chance to further her career if she can ingratiate herself into the tight circle of senior management. The four founders—Adam, Melissa, Yasmine and Rick—had built Agonarch Herbal Supplements into a successful company and were long standing friends since their college days. In charge of activities, catering, allocating the individual cabins for sleeping and basically anything else that was needed is Tiffany.

Things don’t exactly go as planned and arguments break out, rules are ignored, team spirit disintegrates as secrets and lies rise to the surface. And to top it off there seems to be someone out there somewhere, watching them. Lauren thought she’d seen someone the first day they drove up to the lodge.

As the trees closed back in, I sat forward suddenly, pressing my nose against the cold glass. “Wait, did you see that?”

“See what?” Rick asked.

“There was someone standing alongside the road, just inside the trees.”

“I didn’t see anyone.”

I looked around, but everyone else shook their heads.

We see events unfold through Lauren’s eyes and it becomes obvious the other four are trying to rebuild their relationships. Something had happened to divide the team and not knowing what had gone on previously made Lauren nervous. There are definite undercurrents and inflated egos, one in particular. An unexpected snow storm brings things to a head.

This was an easy and enjoyable listen at just under six hours, and I was drawn in from the start. The descriptions of the location give an immediate sense of place and atmosphere, the remote wilderness, the feeling of being watched and the seemingly encroaching forest, especially after the storm. Writing and characterisations are good, even though several of the characters are unlikeable to say the least.

At first, I assumed it would be a regular sort of survival story—a group of people trying to get through the storm and past obstacles to safety—and in a way it was but nothing was as it seemed and there was much more as the story unfolded, with several clever and unexpected twists which racked up the suspense. The Team was a very good debut and it’ll be interesting to see what the author comes up with next.

Book links ~ Amazon UK / Amazon US

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