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.
I sympathised with Charlie throughout the course of the book. I honestly can’t imagine what she has gone through, losing her parents and then having your best friend murdered. It is just so tragic and I can see why she would choose to flee and want to go back home to recuperate, especially after we find out she tried to kill herself. She just makes a few choices in this book that just didn’t sit right with me, and I get that she couldn’t really trust her own mind but there were I feel various times when she was with Josh that she could of escaped before her epiphany in the diner.
Of course we are immediately told to be untrusting of Josh and I for sure thought he was the killer. He really played on Charlie’s fragile state of mind in the car and really did a good job convincing her and the reader that he was the one who did it. The flashback as well I feel really reinforced the idea in my mind that he was the Campus Killer.
I know that grief takes many forms but I think that its quite despicable that Maddy’s family would blame Charlie and abuse her on the phone the way they did. Obviously given the twist where we find out who’s behind the whole hostage situation that Maddy’s family isn’t capable of making sound decisions. It was definitely surprising when we find out that Marge is in on the whole thing but then once she tells Charlie who she is I was more disgusted that she would stoop to that level. The fact that she would maim and torture a twenty year old girl in order to force her to conjure an image in her mind really displays just how far some people are willing to go to find the truth, especially when they have nothing left to lose.
The format of the book with the time being displayed as almost a countdown was a great way to keep me invested and eager to read on. There are several twists in the story that I didn’t see coming at all and happened at just the right intervals of the plot to keep the pace consistently fast. This was entertaining, gripping and had me on the edge of my seat throughout!
⭐️4/5 stars Riley Sager has done it again for me!