The Drift – CJ Tudor

Published By: Michael Joseph
Pages: 400
Released On: 19/01/2023

Survival can be murder . . .

Hannah awakens to carnage, all mangled metal and shattered glass. Evacuated from a secluded boarding school during a snowstorm, her coach careered off the road, trapping her with a handful of survivors.

Meg awakens to a gentle rocking. She’s in a cable car stranded high above snowy mountains, with five strangers and no memory of how they got on board.

Carter is gazing out of the window of an isolated ski chalet that he and his companions call home. As their generator begins to waver in the storm, the threat of something lurking in the chalet’s depths looms larger.

Outside, the storm rages. Inside each group, a killer lurks.

But who?

And will anyone make it out alive? . . .


Right, first things first. Everyone go to Amazon, Waterstones, WH Smith’s, Blackwells, your library, your independent bookshop…however you can, get a copy of this book. It’s absolutely fantastic. Horrifying but in the most wonderful way.

It’s hard to believe but I haven’t actually read a CJ Tudor book before. I believe I owned The Chalk Man a number of years ago, but I lent it to someone before I’d had a chance to read it and that was the end of that.

It is the mother of all thrillers. In fact, you basically get three thriller stories in one. It is the very epitome of what a thriller is. It is bone chilling.

This book is creepy and grim and scary and bloody and isolating and claustrophobic and riveting and captivating and thrilling. It makes you hold your breath, you cannot believe what’s happening, and you can’t wait to see what’s on the next page.

Strangely, given it’s horror elements, there were moments I found quite humorous and some I found rather sad. It makes it a more well rounded story and you realise the characters are very human and very vulnerable.

We have three points of view. Firstly we have the people stuck in an overturned coach. Then the people stranded in a cable car. And finally those living in an isolated chalet. Each situation Is as uncomfortable as the next. I expected to like one situation better than the others, but I didn’t. They were all brilliant in equal merit. They all exposed human nature, what we do when we’re afraid, whether we’re willing to kill, the sacrifices we’re happy to make if it means we survive.

There are some very dark moments. Moments that take you just to that line of comfortable, or palatable, but that’s what makes it such a thrilling read.

There are so many amazing characters, too many to dedicate an appropriate amount of time to, especially as I’m bound to forget someone and then I’ll feel bad. But I’ll say there is not one wasted character here. They’ve all got their flaws, their skills, secrets, loves, pasts and futures, morals, survival instincts, fear. No one is safe. We have heroes and we have villains, and it’s not always clear which is which.

It is expertly plotted. I won’t say if and how and why any of the stories are linked, but you do get this feeling that they’re intertwined. It’s so cleverly done. It’s not obvious. But nothing is quite as it seems and it’s fascinating to discover why.

It never feels slow or rushed, perfectly placed. I don’t usually like to reread thrillers as I feel the excitement is gone, but I think this is the kind of book where you’d notice things on a second read that you missed on the first.

In the acknowledgements, she says that she had the idea before covid, but ended up writing it during covid. It’s interesting to think how the pandemic may have, even on a subconscious level, affect what was written, and how different the book might have been if we hadn’t gone through that. Yes, this book is a work of fiction, but living through – albeit a slightly less serious version – a similar situation, it gives you a different appreciation for the characters.

It’s not very often that I read a book in one sitting, let alone one that’s about 400 pages long. You need to ignore everything else, tune out, and focus. But this book gives you no choice. It sucks you in. You’re absorbed and the outside world just melts away.

It’s mind boggling, full of twists and turns, shocks and surprises, red herrings, truths and lies. You don’t know who to trust or who to believe. Who is the good guy and who is the bad.

She also mentions in the acknowledgements that her next book will be slightly different from this one, as were her previous. But that doesn’t matter to me whether it’s the same genre or not. Her writing is so skilled that I’m sure it could be used to maximum effect in every work, and I cannot wait to read more.

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