Welcome to my turn on the blog tour for Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager. My thanks also to Anne Cater and Penguin Random House UK, Ebury Publishing for the opportunity to be part of the tour.
Have you ever played two truths and a lie?
Emma has. Her first summer away from home, she learned how to play the game. And she learned how to lie.
Then three of her new friends went into the woods and never returned . . .
Now, years later, Emma has been asked to go back to the newly re-opened Camp Nightingale. She thinks she’s laying old ghosts to rest but really she’s returning to the scene of a crime.
Because Emma’s innocence might be the biggest lie of all…
I really loved how original and suspenseful Riley Sager’s first novel, Final Girls, was. It was in my top 10 of 2016 for good reason. Well the impossible is possible, he’s done it again! Riley Sager wrote a brilliant follow up novel that holds one’s own phenominally. If you liked Final Girls, you will like this one too, and that’s no lie!
When girls are disappearing without a trace, you can color me intrigued! Last Time I Lied was eerie, sinister and very very atmospheric thanks to the setting of Camp Nightingale. The summer camp mentioned in the novel is buried in the woods (think no cell phone reception!) with wooden cabins planted here and there and each cabin houses 3-4 summer guests. Lake Midnight, situated on the domain, was so ominous and dark, it felt like a character all on its own and I loved its own interesting and legendary past.
One night, Vivian, Natalie and Allison disappear without a trace, leaving 13 year-old Emma behind in the cabin. They disappear into the night, never to be seen again and it’s funny yet a genius idea to resurrect the feel of his first novel by making Emma a Final Girl or sole surivor in his sequel. Now – 15 years later – camp Nightingale is reopened. Some come back to forget what happened in the past and replace it with more pleasant memories but Emma comes back to remember, find out what happened and get rid of some of her guilt. Guilt for what exactly is something that’ll certainly eat at you as well when you’re following in Emma’s wake. I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt, she’s easy to sympathise with when they look at her like she’s a pariah, but I had to hold back a little bit and couldn’t give her my all because she didn’t show all the cards in her hand either.
Sager then expertly weaves two time periods with unmistakable similarities together. Before she knows it Emma is bunking with 3 young girls, Miranda, Krystal and Sasha and history seems to be repeating. Just like Vivian in the past, Miranda is also a leader type and the other two seem to parallel the girls from the past as well. There are 6 girls to keep track of apart from Emma but I didn’t have any problem following sporty spice and the others. It was pretty obvious as well who was really important and who wasn’t.
The author managed to keep the mystery going for a very long time without letting my attention wane for even a second. Last Time I Lied is a spooky story with suspects and red herrings aplenty. I was led astray numerous times and just when I thought I could reach my own conclusion, he had me tick off another name from my suspect list without a pardon. This happened multiple times and with every new suspect exonerated, I actually worried who would be the last one standing. I thought I knew better all the time and I actually knew nothing at all :-). I shouldn’t have been so surprised that I was completely unprepared for the way it ended. I was hit so hard when I found out what happened to the girls. The denouement came with a pretty big bang and I hung onto every word!
Riley Sager definitely knows what he’s doing and how it’s done right. He knows how to write a novel that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat!
I liked how the story was written but I loved the setting and the atmosphere. Last Time I Lied wasn’t too scary but I still consider it as bordering the horror genre. It’s so easy to imagine yourself at that summer camp yourself. If you enjoyed reading Six Stories, you should definitely add this one to your readlist.
I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.
*** Don’t forget to check out the other stops of the blog tour ***