Book Review

Five Total Strangers

Five Total Strangers

  • Author: Natalie D. Richards
  • Genre: Mystery/Thriller
  • Publication Date: October 6, 2020
  • Publisher: Dreamscape Media

CONTENT WARNING: grief, blood, mention of cancer, car accident, violence, stalking, murder

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

A hitched ride home in a snow storm turns sinister when one of the passengers is plotting for the ride to end in disaster.

When Mira flies home to spend Christmas with her mother in Pittsburgh, a record-breaking blizzard results in a cancelled layover. Desperate to get to her grief-ridden mother in the wake of a family death, Mira hitches a ride with a group of friendly college kids who were on her initial flight.

As the drive progresses and weather conditions become more treacherous, Mira realizes that the four other passengers she’s stuck in the car with don’t actually know one another.

Soon, they’re not just dealing with heavy snowfall and ice-slick roads, but the fact that somebody will stop at nothing to ensure their trip ends in a deadly disaster.

I listened to the audiobook version of this, and Devon Sorvari was a fabulous narrator. Her characterization of Mira was believable and I could feel the tension rising throughout the story to an almost hysterical pitch.

Mira is desperate to get home for Christmas. It’s an important holiday for her family, especially since her aunt, who was her mother’s twin sister, had passed away, and it’s the first year without her. And when she finds out new information about her family, she is even more desperate to get home. But when her travel plans get derailed, she takes the only option available — a ride with four people who seem to be friends through a major blizzard. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, as it turns out, basically everything that can go wrong does. She finds out that the four friends don’t actually know each other. As the weather conditions worsen, the situation worsens as well, with tension creeping up and more being revealed. With the new information, it’s clear that this isn’t just a coincidental situation, but rather some kind of elaborate plot that makes things seem even creepier. And it was hard to figure out exactly who was behind the plan, even with a limited pool of suspects. 

Each of the people in the car has secrets, but I struggled to put my finger on the villain. There was one loose end that I was waiting for the author to wrap up, but it just seemed like she forgot about it in the end. Overall, it was a quick and intriguing read.

People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn’t an upper limit.

Gasp Factor: 6

7 replies »

  1. Great review! I also had a hard time putting my finger on the villain. I had 2 who were on the top of the list, but was also still very unsure about. I love the gasp factor, that is such a neat idea!

    Liked by 1 person

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