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
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 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!!!
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
A Double Review of Home Before Dark by Riley Sager
Today Kim and I bring you a double review of Home Before Dark. I gave it 5 stars and she gave it 4 stars. This is the perfect book to get you in the mood for Halloween if you haven’t been yet!
Home Before Dark
Author: Riley Sager
Published: June 30, 2020
Audiobook/ 340 Pages
What was it like? Living in that house?
Maggie Holt is used to such questions. Twenty-five years ago, she and her parents, Ewan and Jess, moved into Baneberry Hall, a rambling Victorian estate in the Vermont woods. They spent three weeks there before fleeing in the dead of night, an ordeal Ewan later recounted in a nonfiction book called House of Horrors. His tale of ghostly happenings and encounters with malevolent spirits became a worldwide phenomenon, rivaling The Amityville Horror in popularity—and skepticism.
Today, Maggie is a restorer of old homes and too young to remember any of the events mentioned in her father’s book. But she also doesn’t believe a word of it. Ghosts, after all, don’t exist. When Maggie inherits Baneberry Hall after her father’s death, she returns to renovate the place to prepare it for sale. But her homecoming is anything but warm. People from the past, chronicled in House of Horrors, lurk in the shadows. And locals aren’t thrilled that their small town has been made infamous thanks to Maggie’s father. Even more unnerving is Baneberry Hall itself—a place filled with relics from another era that hint at a history of dark deeds. As Maggie experiences strange occurrences straight out of her father’s book, she starts to believe that what he wrote was more fact than fiction.
Jessica’s Rating: 5 Stars
Dates Read: August 18-24, 2021
Format Read: Audiobook
This is the perfect novel to be read around Halloween! We are dealing with the multiple tragedies of the past and is this house haunted or not? Only time and reading Home Before Dark will tell!
Maggie Holt was just 5 years old when her family fled Baneberry Hall, the house they stayed in for just three weeks. After the family’s ordeal, her father Ewan wrote a book based on their experiences and the book became a spectacle that Maggie has dealt with her whole life. Being she was just five years old, and has no memories of the house and what may or may not have happened, she never believed her father. It has now been 25 years and Ewan has died and left Baneberry Hall to Maggie. Not even knowing that he still owned the home and not believing her father’s ‘non-fiction’ book, she decides she can fix up Baneberry Hall and then sell it. But what Maggie gets is more than she bargains for when she returns to town.
We get two narrators with Home Before Dark: We get Ewan’s narration through the book he wrote and we also have Maggie’s narration in present day. And let me just say that Baneberry Hall is definitely its own character in this novel: In fact it is really the star!
There is definitely the horror element throughout this novel! Is it ghosts of the past still haunting or something else? Let me just say, if you don’t like snakes, then there is a part of this book that you must avoid! We do get full conclusions to everything that has happened at Baneberry Hall and we end up with a satisfying yet scary novel from Sager!
Home Before Dark is recommended!
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
This was a pretty interesting one. I’ll admit that I knocked a star off the rating because it felt a little like a rehash of The Haunting of Hill House show on Netflix, but there were enough differences that I’m still happy with it! I also feel like this is one of those books that you need to read more than once to actually get everything. Maggie annoyed me a little, in that “rich kid always complaining even though they’re rich” kinda way, but she was a hard worker and she actually tried to fix things she was unhappy with. The mystery definitely kept me going till the very end and I will say that I didn’t see the ending coming! And it was definitely creepy! There were some places where I was legit freaked out!
Baneberry Hall is a place that I’d like to buy … and live in. It added so much to the story and Sager made it feel like a living character! Overall, this was a great horror book, without being full on horror. Sager walked the line of scary and fascinating well! I definitely recommend this a something to scratch the horror itch!
Book Review: Lock Every Door By Riley Sager
Lock Every Door
Author: Riley Sager
Published: July 2, 2019
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: September 1-5, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars
No visitors. No nights spent away from the apartment. No disturbing the other residents, all of whom are rich or famous or both. These are the only rules for Jules Larsen’s new job as an apartment sitter at the Bartholomew, one of Manhattan’s most high-profile and mysterious buildings. Recently heartbroken and just plain broke, Jules is taken in by the splendor of her surroundings and accepts the terms, ready to leave her past life behind.
As she gets to know the residents and staff of the Bartholomew, Jules finds herself drawn to fellow apartment sitter Ingrid, who comfortingly, disturbingly reminds her of the sister she lost eight years ago. When Ingrid confides that the Bartholomew is not what it seems and the dark history hidden beneath its gleaming facade is starting to frighten her, Jules brushes it off as a harmless ghost story—until the next day, when Ingrid disappears.
Searching for the truth about Ingrid’s disappearance, Jules digs deeper into the Bartholomew’s dark past and into the secrets kept within its walls. Her discovery that Ingrid is not the first apartment sitter to go missing at the Bartholomew pits Jules against the clock as she races to unmask a killer, expose the building’s hidden past, and escape the Bartholomew before her temporary status becomes permanent.
Jules is down on her luck and gets the opportunity of a lifetime: To apartment sit an empty apartment for 3 months for $12,000. It seems like a dream come true with the easiest job in the world… until this dream job becomes a nightmare.
The rules seem a little strange, and she meets a couple more apartment sitters in the building, and fan girl moment: the author of her favorite book lives in the Bartholomew (which didn’t go as she hoped). Jules gets to know fellow apartment sitter Ingrid a little bit, but then out of nowhere, she disappears. And then things start not feeling right for Jules. Jules becomes determined to figure out what is going on. And she starts learning about the Bartholomew’s infamous history.
Let me just say this: Riley Sager is a frickin’ genius! For most of the novel this was a solid 4 star read for me…And then we get to the last 20% and HOLY CRAP! This is the third of Sager’s books I have read, and will soon read his other two, and so far Lock Every Door is my favorite of his! I never would have guessed what was coming in that final act of the novel! That last 20% becomes the horror I was waiting for in this one! Sager is fast becoming a new favorite author of mine! He looks to become an autobuy author that soon as I find out he has a new book coming out I will order it, not even knowing what it is about!
You can’t really say much about Lock Every Door other than what I already said without spoiling that last act. This is one where you need to know next to nothing going into reading. Do yourself a favor and pick up Lock Every Door now!
Lock Every Door is very highly recommended!