survive the night a book review

Title: Survive the Night

Author: Riley Sager

Genre: Mystery Thriller

# of pages: 320

Published by: Hodder & Stoughton

Published on: 23 Dec 21

Source: NetGalley

Survive the night follows the story of Charlie, who travels with a stranger, Josh. She met Josh near a rider board. Charlie is beyond distraught. Reeling from the death of her best friend Maddy, Charlie is untethered and grief-stricken. She takes a break from her relationship with Robbie and thinks going back to her grandma Nana Norma will calm her. Josh is going back home to take care of his father.

Alongside, a serial killer on the loose who is on a killing spree. The campus is on high alert and, the college advised the students to walk back to their dorms in a group. 

With disturbing thoughts and confusion, she gets up in the car with Josh. But once inside the car, she has an eerie feeling. A stranger in the car, and a serial killer on the campus, Charlie hardly has any options and nowhere to go.

“With someone you know and trust, silence doesn’t matter. With a stranger, it could mean anything. ”

from survive the night

The book starts with an exploding prologue and, the way it’s written will pull the reader into the book like iron to a magnet.

“…. a young woman in the passenger seat and a man behind the wheel. Both stare through the windshield to the road ahead, uncertain.”

from survive the night

The story starts with Charlie’s perspective. She is struggling and sad that she has to leave her boyfriend, yet her pain and grief overrides her other feelings. When she was young, the police informed her grandma that her parents were killed in a car accident while she was eavesdropping. In the movies, she found her reality more tolerable. Every real-life event has a corresponding scene from the movies she watched as a kid. But Maddy’s death has put her in a different headspace. She could not clear her head from the sadness and, she feels responsible for her death. Maddy and Charlie’s personalities were poles apart but, her friendship with Maddy kept her grounded and loved.

“Maddy had once told her that movies were her version of wine coolers. “They really loosen you up”.”

From Survive the night

 The choice of movies people made around her made it easy for her to talk to them.

Once in the car, Josh comes into the picture. He is elusive, but one cannot pinpoint anything in particular.

It takes a bit of time to get to move across Charlie’s rants, but once readers cross that section, the book picks up the pace.

The book plays out the scenes of one night set in the early 90s while reminding the readers of the classic crime movies genre. The author subtly highlights the technological issues of the period.

It has a mention of a lot of movies of Hitchcock movies without giving out the spoilers. The author creates a lot of tension throughout the book. As a reader, you will sit at the edge of your seat.

We usually see movie adaptations of books but, this book is the other way. The uniqueness of the book comes from its storytelling right from the 1st page. I have not read books that have such a writing style. It keeps the reader hooked and, to say the ending will surprise the reader is an understatement. 

The finale is fabulous, and it will leave the reader either with a smile on their face or a surprising look. No matter which looks you get on your face, you will re-read the last few pages.

Survive the night is not just a mystery thriller from a fabulous author but, it is also an homage to the Hitchcockian movie genre.


Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Thank you, NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton, for the copy of the ebook in exchange for my honest review.