My Favorite Road Trip Books by Samantha Downing


[Note from Frolic: We’re so excited to have author Samantha Downing guest posting on the site today. She’s talking all abut her favorite road trip novels. Take it away, Samantha!]

Road trips are all about freedom. Get in the car, drive wherever you want, for as long as you want, and end up someplace you didn’t know existed.


Road trips can also be filled with cranky relatives, whiny children, and a car that feels like a cage. 

Either way, a road trip has all the makings of a great crime or thriller novel. These are some of my favorites.

No Exit by Taylor Adams

When Darby gets stuck at a rest stop during a snowstorm in Colorado, she finds herself with no cell reception and surrounded by strangers. Nothing about it feels normal because, as it turns out, nothing is normal, including the kidnapped child in the back of a van. Scary, claustrophobic, and unnerving.

The Other People by C.J. Tudor

The last time Gabe saw his little girl, she was in the back of car. He’s been searching for her on the same highway for years, and he’s about to learn there was a lot more to her disappearance than he ever could have imagined. This is a creepy story with a lot of twists and turns, guaranteed to keep you up all night.

Perfect Days by Raphael Montes

Not just one of my favorite road trip books, this is one of my all-time favorites. Teo is absolutely positive that Clarice is the girl for him. She may not believe that, but he does, and he’s very sure he can convince her that they are perfect together. And this is just the beginning of this insane road trip. It’s funny in a dark, crazy way—which is what makes it impossible to put down.

The Passenger by Lisa Lutz

Who doesn’t want to get in a car, leave your old life behind, and start a new one? Tanya does, so she leaves town, gets a new name and new life. She also leaves behind the body of her dead husband, which means she is on the run and never stays in one place for too long. This compulsive road trip isn’t about having fun, it’s about staying hidden.

If I Die Tonight by Alison Gaylin

A stolen car is at the center of this book. Or at least, a car someone claims has been stolen by a local teenager—who then ran over another local teenager. The victim just happens to be the town’s football star. But is that really what happened? It’s hard to know the truth in this twisty, domestic thriller. There are lots of viewpoints, lots of stories, and a ton of secrets. 

Here and Gone by Haylen Beck

When we first meet Audra, she is on the road with her children, fleeing her violent husband. After she gets pulled over and then put in jail, she loses the kids. Or rather, the sheriff claims she never had any. What follows is a heart-pounding and sometimes heartbreaking story about a woman trying to get her kids back. Written by award-winning author Stuart Neville using the name Haylen Beck.

She Rides Shotgun by Jordan Harper

Polly is eleven years old when she meets her father, who’s fresh out of prison. He’s made the wrong people angry and they’re out to kill Polly, which means she has to go on the run with a man she doesn’t know. This father/daughter road trip is dark and gritty with the most compelling teddy bear I’ve ever read.

About the Author:

Samantha Downing is the author of the Edgar Award-nominated novel My Lovely Wife. Amazon Studios and Nicole Kidman’s Blossom Films have partnered to produce a feature film based on the novel.

Her next book is called He Started It and will be released in 2020. She currently lives in New Orleans, where she is furiously typing away on her next novel.

He Started It by Samantha Downing, out now!

Beth, Portia, and Eddie Morgan haven’t all been together in years. And for very good reasons—we’ll get to those later. But when their wealthy grandfather dies and leaves a cryptic final message in his wake, the siblings and their respective partners must come together for a cross-country road trip to fulfill his final wish and—more importantly—secure their inheritance.

But time with your family can be tough. It is for everyone.

It’s even harder when you’re all keeping secrets and trying to forget a memory, a missing person, an act of revenge, the man in the black truck who won’t stop following your car—and especially when at least one of you is a killer and there’s a body in the trunk. Just to name a few reasons.

But money is a powerful motivator. It is for everyone

As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

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