Tag: suspense

Book Review: Survive the Night by Riley Sager

Survive the Night
Author: Riley Sager

Published: June 29, 2021
Audiobook

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

 

Book Review: Lock Every Door By Riley Sager

Lock Every Door
Author:  Riley Sager
Published: July 2, 2019
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: September 1-5, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

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.

Jessica’s Review:

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!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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Book Review: Save Me by Lisa Scottoline

Save Me
Author: Lisa Scottoline
Narrator: Cynthia Nixon

Published: April 12, 2011
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read:  September 9-15, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars     

Book Description:

Save Me will have readers wondering just how far they would go to save the ones they love. Lisa Scottoline is writing about real issues that resonate with real women, and the results are emotional, heartbreaking and honest.

Rose McKenna volunteers as a lunch mom in her daughter Melly’s school in order to keep an eye on Amanda, a mean girl who’s been bullying her daughter. Her fears come true when the bullying begins, sending Melly to the bathroom in tears. Just as Rose is about to follow after her daughter, a massive explosion goes off in the kitchen, sending the room into chaos.

Rose finds herself faced with the horrifying decision of whether or not to run to the bathroom to rescue her daughter or usher Amanda to safety. She believes she has accomplished both, only to discover that Amanda, for an unknown reason, ran back into the school once out of Rose’s sight. In an instance, Rose goes from hero to villain as the small community blames Amanda’s injuries on her. In the days that follow, Rose’s life starts to fall to pieces, Amanda’s mother decides to sue, her marriage is put to the test, and worse, when her daughter returns to school, the bullying only intensifies. Rose must take matters into her own hands and get down to the truth of what really happened that fateful day in order to save herself, her marriage and her family.

In the way that Look Again had readers questioning everything they thought they knew about family, Save Me will have readers wondering just how far they would go to save the ones they love. Lisa Scottoline is writing about real issues that resonate with real women, and the results are emotional, heartbreaking and honest.

Jessica’s Review:

I am a Lisa Scottoline fan, and will read anything written by her. I have read books I love and others that were just ok for me.  Save Me was just an ok read for me, though this will be a book for all the parents out there to read. 

Rose McKenna has volunteered as a lunch mom at her daughter Melly’s school.  Melly was born with a large birthmark on her face and has dealt with bullying; so much so that Melly just switched schools. But the bullying continues, especially from one specific girl: Amanda. One day during lunch Rose is trying to talk to Amanda about the bullying when there is an explosion in the kitchen, which causes chaos.  Rose escorts Amanda and a couple other girls to the door to go outside then goes back to find Melly, who has locked herself in the bathroom.

Rose ends up on the news as a “mother hero” saving her daughter, until it is found out that Amanda went back inside and was severely injured. Then Rose becomes a pariah to the small community.  As information unfolds Rose realizes she faces several legal battles in addition to being determined to find out what actually happened to Amanda and what caused the explosion.

Anyone can say that they would do this or they would do that in an emergency, but you don’t truly know until you are in said emergency.  We see what Rose does and you can make your own conclusion as to what she did.  Some things that Rose did came off as naïve to me: I mean if your husband is a lawyer, wouldn’t you take his advice to do or not do certain things??? Ummm yes, but did Rose listen to her husband?  No, and thus made things worse for herself.

I am giving Save Me a solid 3 stars, which is a decent read, but I had issues with many things that Rose did. I was into the story and was fully invested on if Amanda was going to survive or not.  I adored Melly, she is a sweet child who loves reading and Harry Potter. The actual cause of the explosion was a bit of left field for me and it seemed like Scottoline was running out of ideas and wanted a happy ending.  For the most part the ending did work for me with everything being tied together.

I listened to the audiobook which was narrated by Cynthia Nixon who did a great job!  Though this is not my favorite written by Scottoline, I do say to look into her library of many novels! For me her legal dramas/thrillers series of Rosato & Associates  and Rosato & DuNunzio are my favorites and I look for more of those novels to come. 

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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