Confused and depressed, Charlie can’t stand staying at Olifant University. Not because her best friend died after being stabbed by a serial killer known as a campus killer. So she got out, packed her bags, said goodbye to her college friend, and posted a lift on the school bulletin board.
It leads them to Josh, Josh, a slightly older man who says he’s on his way. Charlie isn’t sure he can trust him, but the need to escape is so strong that he gets in the car on a long drive from New Jersey to Ohio.
For thrillers that start with two beats, Riley Sager’s “Survive the Night” turned out to be a first-class read. Strike? First, Sager asks readers to believe that a young woman obsessed with the murder of her roommate gets into a car with a stranger. Second, a young woman stuck in a car with a creepy stranger is a worn-out metaphor for a detective novel. I’ve seen this movie before.
That may be, as Sager seems to be telling us, you’ve never seen anyone do it this way.
The author (Riley Sager is the pen name of New England writer Todd Ritter) is weaving his thread at a desperate pace. As soon as Charlie gets in the car, fear comes and the construction of the building never stops. And the twists and turns, which readers will seldom see, are so abundant that they turn their heads.
From time to time, neither Charlie nor the reader is convinced how at risk they are, whether Josh (if that’s his real name) or maybe someone else is a person to be feared.
What makes the problem worse is that Charlie, whose story is told from this perspective, has an easy grasp of reality.
As a film major, she is prone to hallucinations that suddenly wake up. Hallucinations usually take the form of the noir movie scenes that she loves.
She was prescribed some medication to stop her, but she no longer took them. Hence, neither she nor the reader can be sure which event in the story is real.
The story came to a violent end, or at least it appeared to be. But on the last four pages, Sager reveals a surprising, but somehow accurate, final surprise.
Bruce Decilva, Edgar Award winner from the Mystery Writers of America, is the author of Mulligan’s detective novels, including “The Dread Line.”
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Review: “Survive the Night” is a fast-paced, twisted thriller | entertainment
Source link review: “Survive the Night” is a fast-paced, twisted thriller | entertainment