Fiction, Horror, Mystery/Thriller

Kayla Reviews SURVIVE THE NIGHT

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Summary from Goodreads:

It’s November 1991. George H. W. Bush is in the White House, Nirvana’s in the tape deck, and movie-obsessed college student Charlie Jordan is in a car with a man who might be a serial killer.

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.

My Take:

After reading FINAL GIRLS, I had to pick this one up. I’m so glad I did!

SURVIVE THE NIGHT might just be my favorite of Riley Sager’s novels. As the title implies, the book takes place over the course of one night, so the pacing is absolutely break-neck. I absolutely could not put it down, and when the twists started coming, I knew I was in for a long night. 

Most Riley Sager fans claim to love his books for the shocks and the twists, and though there are plenty of those, I personally think Sager’s strength is taking characters who are “victims” and making them into heroes. Charlie is one such character. She is awkward, broken, damaged, and maybe a little crazy, but when the road gets tough, she is exactly the hero this story needs. The way Sager uses the imagery of the movies in her head to get to the them of the story is absolutely brilliant, and it makes this survival story into much more that a thriller. 

If you like old movies, strong heroines, high stakes, and break-neck pacing, you’ll love this book.

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