Riley Sager is one of those authors whose reputation precedes them. All of my favourite bookish creators rave about Sager’s thriller novels. And so last year, I jumped at the chance to read and review an ARC of Home Before Dark. Having enjoyed that one, I quickly picked up Sager’s backlist which are all, alas, still on my TBR waiting to be read. But even so, Survive the Night became one of my most anticipated releases of the year and I am beyond grateful to have been given the opportunity to review it because it was AMAZING. Honestly, this book was so SO good. And although it’s not out in physical until December, eBook readers can rejoice in the knowledge that it’s out NEXT WEEK.
So without any further ado, here’s my review of Survive the Night by Riley Sager!
Many thanks to Hodder & Stoughton for providing me with an advance reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review.
Survive the Night
by Riley Sager
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Date of Publication: 23rd December 2021
Format: eBook (264 pages)
NOTE: You can buy the eBook from the 29th of July!
Charlie Jordan is being driven across the country by a serial killer. Maybe.
Behind the wheel is Josh Baxter, a stranger Charlie met by the college ride share board, who also has a good reason for leaving university in the middle of term. On the road they share their stories, carefully avoiding the subject dominating the news – the Campus Killer, who’s tied up and stabbed three students in the span of a year, has just struck again.
Travelling the lengthy journey between university and their final destination, Charlie begins to notice discrepancies in Josh’s story.
As she begins to plan her escape from the man she is becoming certain is the killer, she starts to suspect that Josh knows exactly what she’s thinking.
Meaning that she could very well end up as his next victim.
A game of cat and mouse is about to play out. In order to win, Charlie must do only one thing . . . survive the night.
- Death & grief (parents and friend)
- Suicide & suicide ideation
- Violence (gun and physical)
- Emotional manipulation
- Mental illness with hallucinations
- Some body horror
Survive the Night is a masterpiece. Full of twists, turns and red herrings, proving that Sager has mastered the art of misdirection. You’re left constantly second guessing what you think you know and whether it’s actually real or not. I did eventually figure out who the Campus Killer was (around the 75% mark) but even then, I wasn’t absolutely certain until events started to unfold.
Charlie was a fantastic main character. Her character development was flawless. She rose to every new challenge presented to her and towards the end, she emerged a femme fatale more than worthy of leading lady status. There were times when her mental illness made her seem like an unreliable narrator. This isn’t a trope that I’m particularly warm towards as I feel that it stigmatises mental illness but I liked that Sager used this as an opportunity to address trauma and the many different types of coping mechanisms that can kick in as a response to trauma.
Initially, I wasn’t sure that I would like the way that the book was styled like a movie with noted directions for each setting. However, it worked incredibly well and managed to get across the classic Hitchcockian thriller movie vibes that I think Sager was going for.
Overall, Survive the Night was easily one of my favourite thrillers, if not books, of the year so far. It’s a book that I’ll be thinking about for a LONG time and one that I’ll be recommending to anyone and everyone who will listen to me rave about how good this is.
Read This If You…
- Enjoyed Sager’s previous books
- Are a fan of classic thriller movies including those directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Soooo… what do you think? Is Survive the Night the kind of book that you’d pick up and read? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.