A regular reader of my Storied Charlotte blog recently asked me how I find out about the new books that I feature on my blog. Well, in the case of Megan Miranda’s new thriller, The Only Survivors, I learned about the publication of the book from an announcement that I received from the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library about their Around the World in 21 Branches Festival Tour: https://foundation.cmlibrary.org/events/around-the-world/
This year-long festival kicked off with an event on May 6, 2023, at the North County Regional Library, and Megan served as the featured author. During the event, she talked about The Only Survivors, which Simon & Schuster published on April 11, 2023. It seems fitting to me that Megan spoke at this event held at the North County Regional Library since she lives near this branch of the public library. For more information about Megan and her novels, please click on the following link: https://meganmiranda.com
After seeing the announcement, I decided to find out more information about The Only Survivors. I immediately became intrigued when I discovered that much of the novel takes place in and around a beach house located on the Outer Banks. I have visited the Outer Banks many times over the years, so the setting appealed to me. However, in Megan’s new novel, the Outer Banks is not a place to kick back and relax. It’s a place where the water surges ominously and danger lurks around every corner.
The novel focuses on a group of former high school classmates who survived a tragic event during their senior year. These students were participating on a school trip when their two vans crashed into a ravine, killing all but nine of the students. The survivors decide to have an annual reunion on the anniversary of the tragedy, and they always meet at the same beach house.
On the tenth anniversary, the reunion takes a frightening turn. The seven remaining survivors are isolated in the beach house because of terrible storm, which results in the roads being closed. As the survivors huddle together in the beach house, it gradually becomes clear that there are secrets related to the original tragedy that cause the survivors to mistrust one another. Things are made worse when one of the characters finds a washed-up cell phone on the beach. Once the phone is dried out, it starts working. The information retrieved from phone increases the tensions in the beach house.
As the novel progresses, the focus alternates between the events surrounding the original tragedy and the escalating tensions in the beach house. These two plot lines converge in an unexpected way. The Only Survivors is a fast-paced thriller, full of intriguing plot twists.
The setting plays an integral role in The Only Survivors. This is a story about the dark side of the Outer Banks, a side most tourists never see. Still, if you have ever spent time on the Outer Banks during a bad storm, Megan’s portrayal will resonate with you. I remember once arriving at our hotel in Nags Head at 2:00 in the morning in the middle of a drenching rain with high winds. It seemed so ominous that I had an impulse to get back in the car and drive back to Charlotte. The next day the sun came out and we had a great vacation, but I can still recall the sense of dread that I felt during that truly dark and stormy night.
For readers who enjoy thrillers, The Only Survivors is a great book to read while vacationing on the Outer Banks or anywhere else for that matter. Megan is one of Storied Charlotte’s bestselling authors, and the success of The Only Survivors helps explain why she is such a popular author.