My Rating ~ Four Stars
RELEASE DATE: 23 December 2021
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
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.
Thank you so much to Hodder & Stoughton for sending me a copy of this book, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review!
After her best friend at college was murdered, Charlie wants nothing more than to get away and go home immediately. She could wait ten days for her boyfriend to drive her, but she doesn’t feel like she can wait that long, so finding someone to ride share with seems like the best option. While putting an advertisement up on the ride share board, she meets Josh. He’s driving the same way as her and they arrange to leave together the next night. But as they start the drive, Josh says some things that make Charlie think he’s not the person he says he is. However, she often sees movies in her mind that warp reality – so, is what she’s seeing real?
I mean, I don’t want to victim blame here, but could Charlie be any dumber? Your best friend has been murdered by a stranger near campus, but you get in a car with a complete stranger you met there? And honestly, how many perfectly good opportunities can you possibly miss, to get yourself out of a situation, and instead just do NOTHING? It honestly made it hard for me to sympathize with her. The whole time I just kept thinking Just 👏 tell 👏 someone 👏 and don’t get back into the damn car! However, this turned out to be a fun story with a ton of twists that was reminiscent of 90’s teen thriller flicks. Despite my frustration I couldn’t stop reading, because I needed to unravel exactly what was going on and who these characters were.
This was the type of thriller that didn’t have me thinking too hard but still had me intrigued, and to be honest, sometimes that is exactly what I’m in the mood for! I read for entertainment after all. So, I wouldn’t say it was anything amazing, but it was an addictive read to curl up with for sure.
The epilogue was…I don’t know….a bit unnecessary? The plot was already asking us to suspend our belief in reality a little far and it almost felt like the author realised this and tacked the epilogue on. I don’t want to spoil anything but, yeah, I felt like those last few pages detracted from the story a bit.
This was my first Riley Sager book and I’ll definitely check out more to see what I think!
Image from my Instagram account