Goodbye reading slump, hello Riley Sager!
For the last few months, for various reasons, my reading (and posting) has completely slipped. I should have realised sooner – all I needed was a true edge-of-your-seat, popcorn thriller to get me racing through the pages again. And this was it.
No, this book isn’t perfect – it’s not deep, it’s exaggerated and unrealistic in places. But what a ride. This is by far the most addictive, unputdownable book I’ve read this year – and for saving me from a reading slump, I have to give it five stars.
I think part of the reason this book worked so well for me is that it’s set over a short period of time – around six hours in total, with a clever epilogue at the end. The story unfolds in real time, scene by scene – movie style.
We meet Charlie – named after a character in a classic thriller movie. After her best friend and college roommate was murdered by The Campus Killer, traumatised Charlie needs to get out of University fast. She doesn’t drive since her parents’ tragic car accident years before. So, she arranges a car share with a stranger she meets at the campus Ride Board, and they set off in the snowy night for a long ride.
This is a book you need to go into with as little information as possible – and it seems to be dividing reviewers. Because, in general, it is pretty formulaic. It reads like a thriller movie you might catch on TV. The heroine doesn’t always make the wisest decisions but I was rooting for her all the way. It’s littered with references to classic movies – Charlie is obsessed with them and studies film theory, not to mention she’s got the small problem of seeing ‘movies in her mind’ – hallucinations where she disassociates with reality due to the trauma in her past.
And not being able to trust your own mind really doesn’t help when you think you might be on a road trip with a serial killer. Or is she?
She’s Ellen Ripley.
She’s Laurie Strode.
She’s Clarice Starling.
She’s Thelma and Louise, kicking up dirt in a final fuck-you as they choose freedom over life.
You’ll have to read it to find out.
I’ve noticed this is one of the author’s least popular releases to date. I’ve read three of his novels and I rate this one the highest purely because I was glued to the pages.
So, go into it with an open mind, embrace the classic thriller movie vibe, and enjoy the ride.
I received this book in exchange for an honest review. 5/5.