Survive the Night by Riley Sager
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.
Survive the Night was almost impossible to put down once I picked it up. I can’t tell you how many times I did the “one more chapter” to myself when I had things to do. I am pretty sure I could have read this in a day if I had more time. I know that this book gets a lot of mixed reviews and I can see why some won’t like it. It’s different than Riley Sager’s other books, but it was still obvious to me that it was his writing. While I did figure out the killer very early, there were still a lot of twists throughout the book and it never took away from the suspense. The twist at the end wasn’t one I expected at all. That’s always something that I love in a thriller/mystery. I love being surprised by something.
I won’t talk much about the plot. I really liked Charlie, even though she was pretty messed up with her choices. She was still a tough girl. Everything she’d been through was enough to mess up anyone, so I could forgive her at times. I felt bad for her at times and proud of her at other times. She could be tough to like for some readers, but I kind of understood why she was the way she was. I loved all the film references and the 90’s timeline. I was a teen at the time, just starting my freshmen year in 1991. It was kind of fun to read a book without cell phones and all the technology we have now.
Overall, this was just super fun. Riley Sager continues to be a favorite of mine. I gave this book 5 stars.
Have you read this? Is it on your TBR?