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Riley Sager's New Thriller Book Breaks A 7-Year Author Trend (& It Pays Off)


  • Middle of the Night
    breaks a seven-year Riley Sager trend that started with his debut novel,
    Final Girls.
  • Unlike Sager’s prior thriller books,
    Middle of the Night
    features a male main character.
  • Sager takes other risks in his 2024 thriller book, and they pay off, making it one of the best additions to his lineup yet.

Riley Sager’s new thriller, Middle of the Night, breaks a seven-year, seven-book author trend that started with Final Girls. Sager is a well-known writer in thriller and horror spaces, and his novels range from more standard mysteries to supernatural tales, with some even blending the two types of narratives. The author has released one book per year since Final Girls debuted in 2017, and his 2024 release is among June’s most-anticipated thriller books.

The fact that Middle of the Night is written by Sager automatically puts it on readers’ radars, but there’s another reason this novel is so exciting. Although Sager’s stories differ in terms of themes and setups, they all have one thing in common. However, the author breaks this trend for the first time in Middle of the Night, making it a standout addition to his lineup. The change-up has made Middle of the Night one of the most-anticipated thrillers of the entire year — and after picking it up, readers will likely agree that trekking new territory pays off.


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Middle Of The Night’s Male Protagonist Breaks A 7-Book Riley Sager Trend

The Author Is Known For Writing Female Main Characters

The covers of Final Girls, Lock Every Door, and The Only One Left by Riley Sager

All of Sager’s books before Middle of the Night feature female main characters, and it’s become a noticeable trend for the author over the past seven years. Many of Sager’s female leads have similarities, too, with all of them making dubious decisions and raising questions about their reliability. While Middle of the Night does call the reliability of its male protagonist into question, it still changes Sager’s typical script. By following a man named Ethan — and placing two male characters at the center of its narrative — it sets itself apart from the author’s previous works.

By following a man named Ethan — and placing two male characters at the center of its narrative —
Middle of the Night
sets itself apart from the author’s previous works.

Middle of the Night follows Ethan Marsh as he returns to his tight-knit hometown and uncovers the truth about his best friend’s disappearance 30 years ago. Ethan has a lot of guilt surrounding the event, as Billy vanishes from a tent in Ethan’s backyard while they’re sleeping side by side. Ethan’s efforts to learn what happened to Billy feature several hallmarks of Sager’s writing, including his tendency to make the reader question whether things are really unfolding as Ethan says. However, Middle of the Night also covers new ground, taking risks in a way that proves satisfying.

Riley Sager’s Risks Pay Off In Middle Of The Night

The 2024 Book Stands Out As 1 Of His Best Thrillers

Middle of the Night Cover featuring the title in lime green and a small-town street as the background

Having a male main character isn’t the only way Sager switches things up in Middle of the Night, even if it’s the most surprising development. While the author has jumped between past and present storylines before, his 2024 novel uses the opportunity to inject more than one POV into the story. Sager puts readers into the heads of many different characters when he returns to the summer of Billy’s disappearance. The choice to include so many perspectives also keeps readers guessing, and it does a great job of building up to Middle of the Night‘s ending reveal.

Middle of the Night is a thriller with an ending that doesn’t disappoint, and the risks Sager takes to get there largely pay off. Sager’s latest digs deeper into its themes than many of the author’s prior releases, making it as thoughtful and engaging as it is thrilling. There are poignant revelations and emotional moments scattered throughout Middle of the Night. These elements make Sager’s latest thriller a bit slower than some of his other works. Fortunately, they also cement it as one of his best stories.

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