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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Bern's Bookcase: The Last Time I Lied Book Review

5 Stars for Riley Sager’s campy summer mystery - 
The Last Time I Lied 


I was uneasy the entire time I read this book. Part of that was my own excited expectations/anticipation of the book but the other part was Sager’s writing. He knows how to create an elusive mood that leaves you full of dread, yet wanting more. You’re reading, turning page after page, just waiting for “that something” to happen. You know it’s coming. You’re creeped out and suspicious of everyone. You can’t put the book down because you simply have to know where its all going. That’s my reading experience with this book in a nutshell and I loved every minute of it.

Sager masterfully spun a tale that is told in two different times - the present & past (told via flashback from 15 years ago). It all began at Camp Nightingale 15 years prior when three girls disappear from Dogwood cabin. Emma, the youngest of the four girls rooming in the cabin was the only one left. She is deeply affected by the disappearance of her friends and is haunted by the girls throughout her life. Emma is unable to come to terms with the terrible tragedy because they never fully learned what happened to the girls that fateful summer night.

Flash forward 15 years and Camp Nightingale is once again opening its doors to campers. Emma has been invited to teach art at the camp for the summer and of course she accepts. It’s her chance to finally solve the mystery and hopefully put the events of that summer behind her.

Emma is a wonderfully sympathetic yet unreliable narrator. Can her memories be trusted when she herself admits to having had a nervous breakdown in the months after her first camp experience? There were so many secrets that it was nearly impossible to figure out what was true and what wasn’t. There were so many well crafted layers to this mystery! I literally suspected everyone, trusted no one & still had it all wrong in the end. I LOVE when I don’t see "it" coming. It was all there, the crumbs had been woven into the story but with Emma being such an unreliable narrator you simply don’t know what to think or who to believe.

The book had me riveted from beginning to end. I too was on a search for the truth with Emma amidst all the secrets, lies & guilt. I definitely recommend this read to fellow mystery fans and hope it will keep you second guessing just as it did me!

Thank you to NetGalley, Dutton, Penguin Books, and Riley Sager for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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