Book Review: Survive the Night by Riley Sager

Survive the Night
Author: Riley Sager

Published: June 29, 2021

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: July 16-20, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

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.

Jessica’s Review:

Survive the Night is Riley Sager’s fifth novel and a first for me, and I cannot wait to read the rest of his! 

At first when I realized that Charlie was going to be an unreliable narrator, I rolled my eyes because most of the time those novels do not work for me, but then something occurred and I was 1000% pulled in and absolutely had to know what was going to happen! 

Survive the Night is a very fast paced novel that takes place just overnight on a long and tedious drive.  Nothing is as it seems… Or is it?  Who or what should the reader believe??? 

Again, Charlie is our very unreliable narrator and a bit obtuse.  If you are thinking your life is in danger, and you had several opportunities to get away, why not do it?!?!?  The way Charlie is unreliable is a different type of narrator, so I did welcome this versus the typical unreliable narrator who is an alcoholic.

For many reasons, this story would not be able to take place today, so Sager set it in 1991, which was perfect: There are references to this time period including Nirvana’s Come As You Are (which is referenced multiple times for a reason) and also phone booths!! 

I had convinced myself that I figured out the ending, and I can say I am very glad I that I was wrong!!  It was an ending I would not have been happy with and I really enjoyed the many twists that just kept coming. 

I am ready to read more of Sager’s novels (which I have three of his four others) and see what else he can write!

Survive the Night is definitely recommended for thriller lovers!!! 

Review Update:
I wrote these reviews as I listened to the novels by Riley Sager which were out of order over several months. Now that I have listened to them all, my order of preference of the books are:

-Lock Every Door

-Survive the Night
-Home Before Dark
-The Last Time I Lied
-Final Girls

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK