Review of Five Survive, by Holly Jackson

Five Survive

by Holly Jackson
read by Emma Galvin

Listening Library, 2022. 10 hours, 33 minutes.
Review written February 28, 2023, from a library eaudiobook.
Starred Review

Okay, Holly Jackson knows how to write a thriller. When I was in the middle of this book, there was no way I was going to give this book a star, because it was all too terrifying. The situation was too horrific, and the situation was bringing out the worst in many of the characters. And the main character simply had it way too hard. But by the time I finished listening, I’m just convinced the author is brilliant.

Mind you, the situation is terrifying, so please know what you’re getting into. There are six friends traveling in an RV from Philadelphia to Spring Break in Florida. And the title is Five Survive, so you get to thinking if that is supposed to be comforting?

They get lost in an area where there’s no cellphone service and get an unexpected flat tire. They come through and change the tire, but as they turn around, all four tires go flat. It takes them some time to realize that someone shot all four tires with a rifle. The realization is helped along when they also shoot a hole in the gas tank.

We’re seeing all this from the perspective of Red Kenny. She’s got a difficult life, and it was her fault the group chose the cheaper way to travel, by RV instead of jets, because her family doesn’t have much money. Her mother, a police chief, was killed years ago, in an execution-style killing that still hasn’t been solved. Her father drowns his sorrows in alcohol. But her friend Maddy always looks out for Red. Maddy’s 21-year-old brother came along as chaperone, and their mother, an assistant D.A., is about to take down a leader in the mob with a secret star witness.

The attack on their RV has clearly been planned, and they’re told someone among them has a secret. If they reveal the secret, the rest will be released. So maybe the mob is involved? It’s all a set-up for a terrible night.

And we don’t find out which one doesn’t survive until the very end of the book. Pick up this book if you want some incredible tension.

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Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

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