THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
One of New York Times Book Review's "summer reads guaranteed to make your heart thump and your skin crawl"; An Amazon Best of the Month Pick; Named a must-read summer book by The Washington Post, USA Today, Vulture, BuzzFeed, Forbes, Entertainment Weekly, CNN, New York Post, Good Housekeeping, E!, PopSugar, CrimeReads, Thrillist, and BookRiot.
It’s November 1991. Nirvana's in the tape deck, George H. W. Bush is in the White House, 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 shocking 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.
The longer she sits in the passenger seat, the more Charlie notices there’s something suspicious about Josh, from the holes in his story about his father to how he doesn’t want her to see inside the trunk. As they travel an empty, twisty highway in the dead of night, an increasingly anxious Charlie begins to think she’s sharing a car with the Campus Killer. Is Josh truly dangerous? Or is Charlie’s jittery mistrust merely a figment of her movie-fueled imagination?
One thing is certain—Charlie has nowhere to run and no way to call for help. Trapped in a terrifying game of cat and mouse played out on pitch-black roads and in neon-lit parking lots, Charlie knows the only way to win is to survive the night.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
As the heroine of Riley Sager’s unsettling thriller learns, you should always follow your gut when something just doesn’t feel right—because the consequences could be deadly. After her roommate Maddy is murdered, bereaved college student Charlie heads home to see her grandmother. When she meets a friendly, good-looking stranger named Josh at her school’s ride board, she jumps into the car with him, even though the little voice in her head says, “Run!” But Charlie is grieving, guilt-stricken, and plagued by vivid hallucinations. She doubts herself…and so do we. Plus, because it’s 1991—an era Sager nails in its little details—she can’t whip out her smartphone for help. Some of Sager’s previous women-in-peril thrillers, like Lock Every Door, have supernatural overtones, but Survive the Night is a good old-fashioned Hitchcockian game of cat and mouse. Buckle up!
Thriller Award finalist Sager (Home Before Dark) elevates a standard suspense trope a young woman trapped in a car with a stranger she fears is a serial killer in this stellar nail-biter set in 1991. Charlie Jordan blames herself for the death of Maddy, her best friend and roommate at New Jersey's Olyphant University. A day after Charlie let Maddy walk back from a bar to their dorm on her own after an argument, Maddy's corpse was found. She was stabbed multiple times and one of her teeth was removed, the hallmark of a two-time murderer dubbed the Campus Killer. Wracked with guilt and self-loathing, Charlie resolves to leave in the middle of the semester, and finds a ride home to Ohio with Josh Baxter, a janitor employed by Olyphant driving to the state to tend to his ill father. Charlie soon suspects Josh has been lying to her about who he is. Her tendency to create movies in her mind makes her perceptions unreliable, even to herself. Sager excels at playing with reader expectations and in concocting plausible, gut-wrenching twists. Fans of Ira Levin's A Kiss Before Dying will be pleased. Agent: Michelle Brower, Aevitas Creative Management.
Not my favorite Riley Sager book
I was going to give this book 5 stars but couldn’t because of just too many “on movie blackouts”. It’s still a good book, just not my favorite of Riley Sager’s.
It was kind of improbable in theory and not enough about the killer in the story to be able to solve the crime.
Gripping thriller that surprises
It is hard for an author not to follow the classic tropes seen in horror send thrillers but Riley keeps you on your toes with great character developments and twists/turns that you do not expect. Human nature and knowing that fragile, dynamic nature is a constant theme in his novel with odes to classic songs and movies. A must read …..10/10