I was lucky enough to read an ARC of Riley Sager’s latest book, The Last Time I Lied, in March, and it exceeded my expectations in every single way. It’s a taut, well-paced thriller with a compelling main character and layers upon layers of mystery and suspense. If you’re looking for a chilling beach read, look no further — and definitely check out Sager’s first book, Final Girls, while you’re at it.
Not sure what this book is about? You can find a short synopsis here!
What I Liked: One of the things that initially drew me to this book was its setting. In many ways, Camp Nightingale reminded me of the summer camp I worked at six years ago. While I only spent one summer there, it was a memorable experience, and it really did feel like its own little world, much like Nightingale. Sager includes specific details that will resonate with readers who have spent time at a summer camp — the peculiar scent of a wood cabin, the way the sky looks in the early morning hours, before anyone else is awake, how it feels to glide across the surface a lake on a canoe, peering down into its depths… And I have to say, the descriptions of the food served in the dining hall were TOO REAL. 😂 Not to mention the campers/staff behaving badly. Smoking, drinking, and shower sex, oh my! I can neither confirm nor deny that all of these things happened at my summer camp… But you’re welcome to guess. 😜
The setup of this story might sound familiar — the main character is drawn back to a place from her past where something truly terrible occurred — but it’s full of tension, and the twists and turns will leave you dizzy and wondering what just happened! Emma is clearly still haunted by the disappearance of her three friends fifteen years ago, and she isn’t the only one. Sager introduces plenty of characters who have been touched by the tragedy — and who may all still be suspects. I found Emma to be a very likeable, sympathetic main character, and her desire to find out the truth is like a real, living thing, growing more desperate and wild as the book nears its conclusion.
What impressed me most about this book was the fact that I could never have guessed how it all ends. Every suspicion I had led to another, and another, and another… and then I was blindsided. And blindsided again. 😱 By the time you put this book down, you’ll be questioning everything you’ve read and thinking about all of the clues you never knew were there.
What I Disliked: I can’t think of much that I disliked. I do hope that, in the finished version of the book (which I plan on picking up soon), the chapters are more clearly separated. While there was an effort to let the reader know when a flashback was occurring, the structure was sometimes confusing, and I think page breaks will be an immense help. Story-wise, I did feel like the events at the end of book happened very, very quickly, and some things seemed to happen almost too conveniently. But I also felt that the ending was earned and extremely satisfying.
Publication Date: July 3rd
**Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin for providing me with a free eARC in exchange for an honest review.