REVIEW: SURVIVE THE NIGHT, BY RILEY SAGER

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.

 

curl up and read thoughts

With an intensity that never lets up, Survive the Night carries the reader along for a bumpy and unforgettable ride.

Charlie’s POV alternates between the movies in her mind and a distorted view of reality, but which one will keep her safe? Can she get through this very terrifying ride with a man called Josh, or will she discover how to save herself?

Along the road, she goes back and forth in her mind, both the movie version and the real one, trying to figure out what to do next. Can she find a way to escape, or can she send a message to a passerby or even her friend Robbie, back at campus? The coded messages they arranged beforehand might bring him to her rescue. Or she might realize, finally, that nobody is who she thought he was and there is no easy way out of her dilemma. A story that kept me thoroughly engaged, this one definitely earned 5 stars.

***

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