"Debut author Morris offers a timely novel about a food safety crisis. An E. coli outbreak. A product recall. For most people, such events trigger a cursory check of the refrigerator or a doctor’s appointment, at most, but this novel shows how, for those working in the food industry, they’re a storm on the horizon and that even the most basic, everyday choices can dramatically alter fate. Read more ...
A dynamic, multifaceted treat." -Kirkus Reviews
"It is apparent that Morris conducted extensive research while writing this novel as it is crafted with knowledge and perception; however, the narration lacks drive, the dialogue is often forced and uninteresting, and the random documents like emails, a recipe, newspaper stories, etc., are jarring. The first half of the novel especially moves slowly; the large amount of background detail laid out by the narrator interrupts the flow of the story.
It’s not until much later in the novel that the reader is thrust into the messy lives of Morris’s characters. Only then, when the realness of the characters is realized, does the reader become invested in their future. Eventually Morris exposes the heartbeat of her main characters and, in doing so, conveys an honest, desperate emotion that expresses the seriousness of E. coli as well as other situations that the novel explores, including the struggle of low-income families and the dreadfulness of sexual harassment and abuse.
While Morris’s sympathetic characters evoke an emotionally charged story, the novel as a whole would be much more powerful if it were saturated with rich and compelling adjectives, adverbs, and figurative language. There is little here that engages the senses. However, readers looking for a straightforward book that delves into the advantages and pitfalls of corporate farming will not be disappointed by this fictionalized account of three tenacious females who discover the positive effects of adversity."
Reviewed By: Mandy Nevius, San Francisco Book Review
"Exit Strategy" is a compelling anatomy of a corporate crisis in the organic food industry. Morris constructs her plot by weaving together narrative threads of the stake-holders, from the owners of the company, to the families that consume the food. It is written with energy, wit, and empathy. Women take center stage here, and whether they occupy corporate suites, the wash line, or traditional female roles, these women are portrayed with strength and dignity. -Mike Barrett, Professor of Language & Literature Moberly Area Community College
"Julie Morris' debut novel "Exit Strategy" is a fast-paced, page-turner. Using multiple narrators to illuminate pieces of a complex puzzle, Morris gives readers a rare peek behind the curtain at the decisions that go into ensuring our food and worker safety -- or not. " - Diana Donlon, Center for Food Safety
"Captivating! I could not put this book down. Exit Strategy takes us front and center into the facility where the deadly E. coli breakout that brought on panic across the nation about bagged spinach was born, and into the lives, hearts, and minds of the people closest to this tragedy. Morris balances tough subjects like unfair labor practices, sexual harassment, and the epitome of grief, alongside hope and humor, drawing us into the characters and suspenseful drama of this real life catastrophe. This book is especially relevant today amidst the farm-to-table and home gardening movements, yet timeless for all of us who consume mass produced food. I laughed and I cried, and I reread sentences just to enjoy their artistry. Two thumbs up!! I highly recommend this book."
- Val Strain
"Exit Strategy' takes the reader into the all-too-real world of food safety in a compelling novel that is well-told and clearly grounded in eye-witness detail. Julie Finigan Morris gives you a 360-degree look at a tragedy that is too common. A thoroughly enjoyable read that will have you questioning what's on your plate." Peter Roper, Reporter and Author of The Romeo Boys
"I read Exit Strategy in almost one sitting. I was compelled to continue reading after each chapter so I could learn more about the unfolding lives of each of the main characters and the underlying story that ties them all together. It's a character-driven novel with a suspenseful and scary, all-too-real story. Julie Finigan Morris has obviously done her research for this book. It's eye-opening, heartbreaking, humorous, and uplifting. What a great read!" -Mary March
"I loved this book. I could relate to many of the characters and found parallel in real life situations. Excellent read for anyone interested in the integrity of the food system, food safety and social justice. You won't be able to put it down."
- Doniga Markegard, Author of Dawn Again
"I couldn't put this book down last night! Read about 80 pages (including a 4am session). So many people I want to share it with-my friends in agriculture, all things foodie, you'll really appreciate and be totally entertained."
- Stephanie Hourigan Delaney
"I was very impressed by this book. Julie Finigan Morris has made the leap from journalism to fiction quite successfully. Her character development was solid, with a believable contrast drawn between her highly sympathetic protagonist and the company owners. I thought I would take my time reading the story but found the book a real page turner that I finished in one day! I would like to see her develop a series that revolves around Stella Gonzalez. Nicely done, especially for a first novel." - Constance Parker