Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Book Review: Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

Book: Last Time I Lied

Author: Riley Sager 

Pages: 368

Read on: Kindle 

Read in: 3-4 hours 

Plot Summary: It was Emma's first summer away from home. She made friends. She played games. 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.

Things I Liked: 
  1. The premise of this book seemed really interesting as it was set in a summer camp. Summer camps, in the horror genre, have a special significance given that one of the most iconic, cult classic horror movie franchises- Friday the 13th- is set in a summer camp. Also, there is just something about a summer camp- the wilderness, loads of unsupervised young people- that lends itself very well to mysterious and supernatural events. So, when I read that this book is based on the disappearance of three girls from a summer camp, obviously, I had to immediately get it and start reading it! 
  2. This book is very interestingly written. The narrative shifts between Emma's present day life as she prepares to return to and then returns to Camp Nightingale and the events from the summer of 15 years ago, when three of Emma's roommates in her cabin go missing one night. This makes the book pretty un-put-down-able and a very pacy read. Also, the author has done justice to both narratives- the present day and past events are well fleshed out. 
  3. The events from 15 years ago at the summer camp were much more interesting than the present day ones. The characters of Emma's three cabin-mates are pretty well etched, especially, that of Vivian- the queen bee and leader of the pack. Vivian dictates what the girls do and how much they eat etc., while Natalie and Allison just follow her lead. Emma, at  much younger 13 to the three girls' 16, is mostly awestruck by Vivian and her "coolness". The sudden disappearance of the three girls and Emma's guilt at something she holds herself responsible for are quite nicely done. 
  4. The present day events in the camp are also fairly interesting, though, slightly predictable and could have benefitted from some sharper editing. There are two twists that are revealed about Vivian, Natalie and Allison's disappearance that are quite interesting. 
  5. There is an interesting backstory of the land where Camp Nightingale is based, which is supposed to have some connection to the girls' disappearance. This backstory is quite eerie and very interesting to read about as Emma delves into that particular mystery.
  6. For a book which has multiple characters in both timelines, the author has done a great job in establishing each character well and writing them clearly so that the reader does not get muddled. Always a good thing in a pretty tightly written murder mystery/ thriller. 
  7. There is a nice little twist in the end, which is quite interesting as well. (Sorry about being vague, don't want to spoil the book for you by giving you more details!) 
Things I Didn't Like:
  1. The final twist, though nicely done, leaves a lot of unanswered questions on how the perpetrator did what they did and so successfully at that! There are way too many loopholes to fully explain how this person pulled it off and got away with it for so long! I wish there was a chapter from the killer's perspective to see how he/she pulled it off. I was left with way too many questions, which is not the best thing after reading a murder mystery! 
Rating: 3.5/5 
This is a perfect rainy afternoon read. Very atmospheric and quite a page turner as well. 

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