Book Review: “The Last Time I Lied” by Riley Sager
“The Last Time I Lied” is a psychological thriller written by Riley Sager. Sager is a former journalist who has gained a reputation for writing page-turning psychological thrillers. “The Last Time I Lied” is Sager’s second novel and has been praised for its atmospheric setting and gripping plot.
Main Themes and Ideas
“The Last Time I Lied” is a novel about memory, guilt, and the ripple effects of trauma. The protagonist, Emma, is haunted by the disappearance of her three cabin mates at summer camp fifteen years ago. As an adult, Emma returns to the camp to work as a painting instructor, hoping to uncover what really happened to her friends.
The novel explores the ways in which people cope with trauma and the lengths they will go to protect themselves and others. It also examines the ways in which memory can be unreliable and how guilt can shape our perception of events.
Sager’s writing is atmospheric and engaging. The setting, a rundown summer camp in the woods, is vividly described and adds to the sense of tension and unease throughout the novel.
The plot is carefully constructed and full of twists and turns. While some of the reveals may be predictable to seasoned thriller readers, Sager manages to keep the tension high and the pace brisk.
That being said, the characterization felt somewhat thin. Emma, the protagonist, is sympathetic but somewhat generic. The other characters, particularly the other counselors and camp staff, are mostly portrayed as one-dimensional, which detracts from the impact of the novel’s themes.
Overall, “The Last Time I Lied” is a well-written thriller that is sure to keep readers engaged. While it may not break new ground in terms of characterization or plot, it is a solid addition to the psychological thriller genre.
Strengths and Weaknesses
One of the novel’s strengths is its setting. The abandoned summer camp in the woods creates an eerie and unsettling atmosphere that elevates the tension of the story. Additionally, Sager’s writing is engaging and easy to read, which makes for a quick and enjoyable reading experience.
However, as previously mentioned, the characterization felt somewhat thin. While Emma is a sympathetic protagonist, she does not feel particularly unique or original. Additionally, some of the twists and reveals in the novel may be predictable to seasoned thriller readers.
Comparison to Other Works
“The Last Time I Lied” is a solid addition to the psychological thriller genre, but it may not stand out from other works in the genre. It shares some similarities with other novels such as “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn and “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins. However, Sager’s unique setting and atmospheric writing style help to set it apart from some of its competitors.
“The Last Time I Lied” is a gripping psychological thriller that is sure to keep readers engaged. While it may not break new ground in terms of characterization or plot, Sager’s engaging writing style and atmospheric setting make for an enjoyable read. Fans of the psychological thriller genre will find much to enjoy here.
Is “The Last Time I Lied” a standalone novel?
Yes, “The Last Time I Lied” is a standalone novel that does not have any sequels or spinoffs.
What age group is “The Last Time I Lied” appropriate for?
“The Last Time I Lied” is recommended for readers 18 and up due to its mature themes and language.
Does “The Last Time I Lied” have any trigger warnings?
Yes, “The Last Time I Lied” contains themes of trauma, guilt, and memory that may be triggering for some readers.