Book Title and Author: The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager
Publication Date and Publisher: July 03, 2018 by Dutton Books
Genre: Fiction, Thriller, Mystery, Horror
Pages: 384 pages
Buy on Amazon.com
Date Read: June 22, 2018 (e-arc)
Two Truths and a Lie. The girls played it all the time in their tiny cabin at Camp Nightingale. Vivian, Natalie, Allison, and first-time camper Emma Davis, the youngest of the group. The games ended when Emma sleepily watched the others sneak out of the cabin in the dead of night. The last she–or anyone–saw of them was Vivian closing the cabin door behind her, hushing Emma with a finger pressed to her lips.
Now a rising star in the New York art scene, Emma turns her past into paintings–massive canvases filled with dark leaves and gnarled branches that cover ghostly shapes in white dresses. The paintings catch the attention of Francesca Harris-White, the socialite and wealthy owner of Camp Nightingale. When Francesca implores her to return to the newly reopened camp as a painting instructor, Emma sees an opportunity to try to find out what really happened to her friends.
Yet it’s immediately clear that all is not right at Camp Nightingale. Already haunted by memories from fifteen years ago, Emma discovers a security camera pointed directly at her cabin, mounting mistrust from Francesca and, most disturbing of all, cryptic clues Vivian left behind about the camp’s twisted origins. As she digs deeper, Emma finds herself sorting through lies from the past while facing threats from both man and nature in the present.
And the closer she gets to the truth about Camp Nightingale, the more she realizes it may come at a deadly price.
Final Girls was one of my top ten reads in 2017 so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on The Last Time I Lied and see what Riley Sager had in store for us next. I admit that while I had no doubts his newest novel would be excellent, I didn’t think anything could surpass the brilliance of his debut novel since it is one of the most psychologically intense, chilling, gripping, and compulsively perfect books that I have ever read. Wow, was I wrong!! THIS BOOK!!!! Out of the over 100 books that I have read this year, The Last Time I Lied is by far the best psychological thriller that I’ve read yet; I have not stopped thinking about this unputdownable, captivating novel since I finished reading it three weeks ago because it just blew me away that much! I honestly cannot tell you how much I love this fabulous book! This is going into my reread pile I love it so much!
The Last Time I Lied is narrated by the main character, Emma Davis, who is a completely unreliable narrator, but I liked her even though I wasn’t sure to trust her! The story is told in both the present and in flashbacks to fifteen years in the past.
In the present, Emma is now a successful artist painting nothing but forests of trees (with secrets hidden behind the trees that no one knows about but her), but she accepts a position teaching art for the summer at Camp Nightingale for its reopening after 15 years. Emma desperately hopes that being back at the camp after all these years will help her deal with what happened to her friends, Vivian, Natalie, and Allison since she’s never stopped being haunted by their disappearance.
In flashbacks to the past, Emma is 13 years old and first arrives at Camp Nightingale. She befriends the much older girls, especially Vivian who treats her like a younger sister, and the girls teach her to play their favorite game: two truths and a lie. When the three girls sneak out one night, Emma watches them leave from her cot never thinking they won’t return. No one can explain what happened to the three girls and Emma becomes the “final girl” of the four girls from Dogwood Cabin. During this time, accusations are made about what happened to the girls, secrets are kept, lies are told, and you are left wondering what is the truth! The game of two truths and a lie truly plays out in the novel while leaving you on the edge of your seat with all the twists and turns!
There are so many riveting layers of secrets, deceptions, mysteries and lies that unfold and every little detail is cleverly woven together and connected in a way that Sager gives you clues to help solve the mystery of what happened when the three girls disappeared that night. Yet even with the puzzle pieces Sager gives, none of your theories or guesses will be right because of all the smart and shrewd twists and thrills he throws in along the way! I’m usually able to solve the “whodunit” and the “why’s” in 97% of the psychological thrillers and suspense novels that I read, so I was absolutely thrilled that Sager baffled me all the way from the beginning to the end! The ENDING….holy smokes…what a shocking, fabulous ending!
Sager’s newest book is absolutely brilliant and cleverly written, and I do not say that lightly. It is atmospheric, cinematic, eerie, creepy, and leaves you with a sense of unease and tension the entire time you are reading. Thrilling and suspenseful indeed! The novel definitely needs to be made into a movie! If you liked Final Girls, you are going to LOVE The Last Time I Lied! I’m not lying when I say that I think this is going to be the thriller of the summer and that it deserves way more than 5 stars! I highly recommend it to every contemporary fiction, suspense, thriller, and mystery fan!
**Thank you Edelweiss, Dutton Books, and Riley Sager for a review copy in exchange for my fair and honest review.**