Krystyna’s life is brutal. It has always been.
Forced into prostitution by Edvard, a violent Prague criminal and pimp, Krystyna struggles to survive. Worse, her younger sister, Anna, whom Krystyna has protected and loved since childhood, has naively followed Anna to Prague and into Edvard’s clutches.
Desperate and reckless, Krystyna gambles her life and her sister’s to become the concubine of four Englishmen.
A virtual prisoner in a remote house near Manchester, and powerless to help Anna, Krystyna becomes increasingly guilty about leaving Anna.
While Krystyna endures the men’s perverse demands, she undertakes a dangerous plan to free herself and Anna from Prague forever.
But for the plan to work, she needs Anna’s cooperation.
Can Anna make it to Manchester to help Krystyna?
Will Krystyna’s plan work, or will her captors discover what she is doing and make her pay the ultimate price?
As pimp and clients join forces to exact revenge, will Krystyna and Anna survive or, like so many other anonymous sex-trade victims, will they simply disappear?
Now-now... while I didn’t find the cover of the book the most appealing at first glance, I have to say, after I finished reading, it kind of fits the book perfectly. The haunted feeling mixed with a sense of foreboding transfuses from cover to story, and from story to cover.
In Prague, as a street-level prostitute, Anna discovered that vodka was much more than just a way for teens to get drunk. Vodka served Anna as a mouthwash, an agent to clean and sanitize, a way to calm nerves, dull pain, and to forget.
As is the case with thrillers, mysteries and crime books, there isn’t a whole pile I can reveal about the story without ripping away those elements of surprise. I have to say though, the blurb is a good starting point because the full story delivers so much more.
Krystyna’s plan to escape from Edvard’s clutches in Prague and get a foot in the door at a chance of new life in Manchester, England is pretty much a case of from the fire to the frying pan. Now a prisoner of four Englishmen in a house in Manchester, Krystyna has to endure their specific demands. The men of course think everything is dandy: she has a roof over her head, food on the table and she’s being paid. The vile – married, I may add- pigs think that this is definitely better than her previous life in Prague. But Krystyna is a fighter and a survivor and she’s really not stupid at all. While Krystyna’s heart bleeds with the knowing that her younger sister Anna has to endure pimp Edvard’s demands, she believes she can devise a plan to free them both from their unprivileged life.
Anna needs to escape Prague and find her sister somewhere in Manchester. Sounds simple enough, but with limited phone contact and without Krystyna’s exact address, the task is not quite so straightforward. It’s easy to get lost is a big city, and even easier to lose yourself in the whole country. With the dirty breath of a pimp hanging over Anna, she will just have to think. And think fast! But first she has to put in another day’s work at the Wenceslas Square and get away with the money she makes without Edvard and his goons getting to her.
I have to say- more often than not I found my feet bouncing- this is how engrossed I was, this is how much the book made my blood pump. Add to this the fact that while it felt like Krystyna had everything under calm control, Anna tended to bring the air of panic and helplessness with her. I thought it was great to have the opposite characteristics to the sisters personalities. In fact, in certain moments it definitely enhanced the suspense effect.
I was positively grossed out by Edvard and also by the 4 Englishmen. What bloody pigs! I was 100% on board with Krystyna’s plan, however, and her ingenuity and attention to detail added a small wow-factor. I wanted to know how her plan was going to work out and if anything, her ability to think on her feet was something a dunce criminal could be jealous of.
What I truly liked about the story and its characters was the fact that nothing seemed far fetched. In fact, everything read as if it could be an episode of reality TV crime show. The councilmen can stay home because in this book I didn’t find any plotholes that needed to be filled.
So the questions I will leave you with are these:
Will Anna manage to escape Prague to go and find Krystyna in UK? What is the great plan of escape Krystyna has planned? Is Edvard just going to accept losing two of his ‘girls’ or will his influence reach from Prague to Manchester? … and just to tease you a bit more… These questions are only just the beginning of the story!
Last year I read Knight’s ‘Bad Analysis‘ [my review on Goodreads] and having now read ‘Escape From Prague‘, I want to read more of his books. Knight pulls true and dark inspiration from society and delivers it in a fashion that makes you grab for popcorn and devour the book as if it was the latest action movie. FYI- I discovered there’s a Goodreads giveaway ongoing until the 16th of March for another of his titles ‘Some People Deserve to Die‘ with two copies available. I’m in!
Overall: ‘Escape From Prague‘ is fast paced and as such offers a quick, thrilling reading experience with a raw use of crime and prostitution elements. With great execution, being equal parts riveting, chilling and harrowing, it certainly kept my adrenaline levels high throughout and in the end… I think the outcome of the story was the best. It wasn’t disillusioned when it came to certain relationships and at the same time it left just enough up in the air to leave me pondering… For full disclosure,the Amazon Kindle copy I purchased had a handful of really teeny tiny, unimportant editing issues, however these didn’t affect my reading experience to grant a full star deduction. 4.5 stars.