By Riley Sager
Published by Dutton Books
on June 29, 2021
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.
I am always excited to read a new Riley Sager book, and Survive The Night‘s synopsis really grabbed my interest, due to its 90s setting and taking place in one night.
Was there too much going on? Yes. Did I anticipate the big shocker within the first chapter? Also yes. BUT did I enjoy the wild ride this book took me on and finish it in two settings? Big yes!
This was a really fun, propulsive thriller that is up there with Final Girls as one of my favourite Riley Sager books. I loved the setting and the way that Charlie viewed the world (movies in her head) added an extra layer to this one, making me uncertain at times how much of her perspective I could believe or trust.
This is a really great summer read. Recommended!