Book Reviews · Mystery · Psychological Thriller · Thriller

The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager – Book Review

Goodreads synopsis:
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.

First of all, let me say that I was a huge fan of Riley Sager’s debut, Final Girls, primarily because I adore slightly cheesy and predictable teen slasher movies and it reminded me of some of my favorites. (Side note: if you’re anything like me and immediately wished the book was made into a movie – literally a first time for everything, y’allyou’re in luck.)  So when I saw Sager was releasing a new book, I was sold without even looking at the plot line. When I actually did read the synopsis, I was even more excited.  A summer camp with a dark past, a socialite that I know I won’t trust, and a young woman determined to get to the bottom of it?  What more could a girl want?!

The story is truly an atmospheric, psychological thriller. I felt the panic and isolation of being in the middle of nowhere with little cell reception (which, alone, is enough to craft a millennial horror movie *shudders*) and surrounded by people that I was convinced hated me for my actions 15 years prior. I also felt so incredibly confused, trying to sort through who the killer was, why they did it….until I started to question Emma as a narrator.  She was obviously relying on her own memories which could be skewed, but she also clearly had issues that arose from the traumatic events of that fateful summer.

Then I reached the end. OMG, the ENDING! It was shocking, yet almost poetic. I actually had to text Taylor (that has not and will not be reading this book) to give spoiler-laden obsessive statements because I couldn’t keep it in!  Just when you think you have everything figured out, you realize how much an individual perception can skew memories.

I will say, however, that the story was a bit slow and confusing during the developmental times. There were so many plots and angles to introduce, which could be a bit overwhelming.  Trust me: stick with it. The development had so many twists and turns that I truly had whiplash in the best possible way.

Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with an advance copy. It’s my pleasure to provide my honest review.

Xx,

Kaylie

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