It’s always a treat to review a book from one of my auto-buy…auto-read authors! Riley Sager has writing talent in buckets, so of course I jumped at the chance to review ‘Survive The Night‘. This thriller is set in the 90’s…and I felt that definitely added another level of ‘eerie’ to this book!
What is Survive The Night about?
Josh Baxter, the man behind the wheel, is a virtual stranger to Charlie. They met at the campus ride board, each looking to share the long drive home to Ohio. Both have good reasons for wanting to get away. For Charlie, it’s guilt and grief over the murder of her best friend, who became the third victim of the man known as the Campus Killer. For Josh, it’s to help care for his sick father. Or so he says. Like the Hitchcock heroine she’s named after, Charlie has her doubts. There’s something suspicious about Josh, from the holes in his story about his father to how he doesn’t seem to want Charlie to see inside the car’s trunk. As they travel an empty highway in the dead of night, an increasingly worried Charlie begins to think she’s sharing a car with the Campus Killer. Is Josh truly dangerous? Or is Charlie’s suspicion merely a figment of her movie-fueled imagination?
What follows is a game of cat-and-mouse played out on night-shrouded roads and in neon-lit parking lots, during an age when the only call for help can be made on a pay phone and in a place where there’s nowhere to run. In order to win, Charlie must do one thing–survive the night.
Characters and Story Line
Charlie needs a ride to Ohio from College, and takes a lift with Josh, a stranger to her, for a night time road trip. A while after their 6hr journey begins, Charlie starts suspecting that Josh is a serial killer! More specifically, THE Campus killer, the same person that killed her best friend, Maddy, about 1 month ago.
I am a fan of Riley Sager’s books and writing, so let me tell you, I will read every book he writes. His writing flows and reads well. There’s no unnecessary repetition or descriptions of the most mundane things. I would imagine on a road trip, it’d be easy to describe all the trees and the roads, etc. So I really appreciated that the author did not subject us to that. I also found the storyline really interesting and for 2 people to be the main characters….in a car as the setting for most of the time, to keep me turning the pages, is quite indicative of the skilled writer that Sager is.
I didn’t mind that Charlie ‘zones’ out during scenes due to her mental health issues. This has her seeing movies in her mind, and these in turn embellish actual events happening in her life. So…warning…. this makes Charlie a bit of an unreliable narrator, something I feel Riley is known for and it’s something I do enjoy in a book.
Charlie as a protagonist though, she makes the most BIZARRE decisions! We need to remember though, that the book is set in 1991, which was a totally different time. I was 10yrs old and I know, life just felt a whole lot safer back then….but when your gut is screaming at you…I don’t know if the year you’re living in should ever matter….you listen Charlie!!
Personally, I found one of the plot twist to be a tad bit predictable, but there was one I didn’t see coming. The ending though, had me wondering….what did I actually just read??? I didn’t enjoy that feeling, because I felt duped. I know some people LOVED this twist though!
Survive the Night has a 3.8 star rating on Goodreads and I see the ratings vary. People either loved this book, or they didn’t. I’m somewhere in the middle…due to author loyalty??? Maybe….but I’m giving this book a solid 3 stars. I think if you’re a fan of Sager, you’ll want to read this no matter what the reviewers say!
In case you missed the review of one of my favourite Riley Sager books, check out my review for The Last Time I Lied.
Thank you Netgalley for the eBook and the chance to review this book!