Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: October 6th, 2020
Synopsis: 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 the weather conditions become more treacherous, Mira realizes that the other four passengers that she’s stuck in the car with don’t actually know each other.
Soon they’re not just dealing with heavy snowfall and ice-slick roads, but that somebody will stop at nothing to ensure their trip ends in a deadly disaster.
Natalie Richards is a popular YA suspense/thriller author, but I have to admit I’ve been somewhat disappointed by most of her previous books. When I saw the cover and premise of Five Total Strangers, I decided to try her one more time and I’m glad I did, because this really sucked me in. Granted, the idea that an eighteen-year-old would willingly get into a car with a group of strangers, seems at first glance ridiculous, but given Mira’s desperation to reach her mother, it becomes more understandable. Every character is hiding something, but one of them is a dangerous predator. While I had my suspicions as to the who, almost from the beginning, Richards casts just enough doubt into the mix that I wasn’t completely sure of my deduction until right before the big reveal. The main weakness of the story is the number of coincidences the reader is expected to accept, but the suspense and mystery are so tension-filled, I wound up willingly letting go of my scepticism. There’s also a gaping plot hole regarding a superfluous character which was quite annoying, but overall this was a nail-biting read which kept me guessing right up to the end.