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Monday, July 17, 2023

Newest Miranda Thriller Not Very...Thrilling

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Ten years ago, two vans full of high school students ran off the road in the middle of a raging storm, plunging down a ravine into a swiftly-moving river. In the chaos, eight students managed to scrabble to safety. Ten of their classmates and two of their teachers did not. Wracked with guilt not just for surviving when so many others didn't, but also for some of the questionable actions they took that fateful night, The Eight reunite every year to mourn, to commiserate, and to ensure that their vow to never speak of what really happened that night remains unbroken.

A decade later, Cassidy Bent has had enough of wallowing in the past. The 28-year-old has a job she loves, a great new boyfriend, and a future that looks brighter than it ever has. After deleting the numbers of the other survivors, she has no intention of traveling to the Outer Banks for their annual reunion. Then, she receives devastating news: one of The Eight is dead. Not only that, but someone is talking to the press about the accident, hinting about dark deeds. With no other choice, Cassidy rushes to the North Carolina coast to meet up with the other survivors.

The Eight's reunions have always been melancholy; this one's turning downright sinister. Not only does Cassidy find a dead man's phone on the beach, but she also receives notes warning her to leave while she still can. And then there's the distinct feeling that someone is watching all of them...Who is targeting The Eight? Which of them is talking to reporters? What will happen when the truth about the accident gets out? With another vicious storm bearing down on the survivors, who will make it out alive this time?

I've read and enjoyed all of Megan Miranda's adult thrillers, so I always get excited when I hear she has a new book coming out. The premise of The Only Survivors sounded right up my alley, too. (In fact, it fits perfectly with the theme of my last Top Ten Tuesday list.) Unfortunately, Miranda's newest is just not up to her usual standards. To begin with, it's boring. Although the story toggles between past and present, hinting at sketchy decisions made ten years ago to ramp up the suspense, not a lot happens in the present, making the tale feel quite dull. In addition, Cassidy and her friends aren't the most charming bunch. They're not exactly unlikable, but they're not all that appealing either. I didn't feel connected to any of them. Also, the identity of the "bad guy" tormenting the survivors isn't much of a surprise. Although The Only Survivors kept me engaged enough that I finished it, I considered DNF'ing it a few times. I'm not sure why I bothered finishing it, honestly, because the ending wasn't any more satisfying for me than the rest of the book. Bummer.

(Readalikes: Reminds me of other books by Miranda as well as those by Carol Goodman, Riley Sager and Gilly Macmillan)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for strong language, violence, blood/gore, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love: Another library fine find


  1. Well, I won't be rushing out to read this one. Boring is never good in a thriller. And I am getting tired of books with unsympathetic and unlikable characters. Especially when the ending isn't satisfying. I'm sorry this one wasn't better.

  2. Pity you didn't like this one, but I don't blame you. Boring is not a good thing for any book, least of all a thriller.

  3. Thanks for the honest review.

  4. The basic plot you describe sounds a whole like the Ann Cleeves title from 2022 called The Rising Tide. Cleeves made a great novel out of it; maybe the difference is talent level of the writer.

  5. Bummer! Boring with unappealing characters is not good. I have heard other readers say the same about this book. I got this one from BOTM, but I'm not in a rush to read it.

  6. Bummer that this one isn't so good. But, I see you are reading Boys in the Boat. I LOVED that book and recommend it to all sorts of people. I can't wait to see what you think of it.

  7. Good to hear your thoughts on this book. I've found that not every book by authors works well for me. I think I find it more surprising when that happens in a series book. I listened to a podcast author event with Miranda and that was interesting. You know, I'm not a big fan of unlikable characters or maybe it's just that I need at least one character that I 'can' like. Anyway, I will say that I'm beginning to get slightly tired of the 'previous longtime friend group gets together and something bad happens'. Publishing does get a little fixated at times on certain themes. LOL

  8. That's too bad this didn't work for you. I don't like a full cast of unlikable characters. Sometimes it works if the plot is fast paced enough but usually I find it makes it hard to connect to the book.

  9. I'm sorry you did not like this one! I hope your next read is a winner!


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