The Last Time I Lied is the latest book by Riley Sager, famously known for the prior thriller, Final Girls. Sager’s newest book follows Emma Davis, a now-successful artist in the NYC scene who was involved in a terrible tragedy fifteen years ago at a summer camp. At one of her art shows, Emma runs into someone from her past who lures her back to the same camp to be a counselor and teach art. She agrees because she sees this as an opportunity to find out what exactly happened fifteen years ago to three of her friends (or “friends,” – you can be the judge of that). Upon her return, she realizes things have not totally improved and the camp has just as many mysteries now as it did when she was a teenager.
I am not even going to make anyone wait to know my final rating of this one: FIVE STARS! This book immediately hooked me when I realized it was a summer camp thriller/suspense/horror novel. They will always been a favorite of mine. I read this book in two and a half days; it would have been one and a half probably but I went to a mini-pool party with friends and then a birthday celebration for my sister-in-law that night. While I had tons of fun, you better believe I was dying to go back to Sager’s world and Camp Nightingale.
The story blends aspects of Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew with elements of Mean Girls/Pretty Little Liars and, at times, even some vibes of the Sleepaway Camp movies! In a lot of thrillers these days we can predict the outcome. And while I was certain TWO different times that I had the answer picked out, I was completely wrong and thus shocked and surprised whole-heartedly! This book was a roller coaster of pure suspense and eerie drama.
While some authors abuse the different timelines when telling a story, Sager definitely gets it right with The Last Time I Lied. He knew when to keep you in the present and when to take you back fifteen years prior to events that happened to Emma when she was a teenager. It never felt forced and no matter which time you were in, you didn’t want to leave it but then you also loved going to the other time period. Sager writes these differing times so well that they weave together as needed and you aren’t overwhelmed with uncertainty and confusion like a lot of other books that split narrators or times.
If you enjoyed Final Girls, I know you will love this story. If you didn’t enjoy Final Girls, I think you will still love this story! Where some people were turned off of Final Girls at certain times, I do not think anyone won’t have fun and enjoy this story the whole way through. There are just so many elements in this story that I loved and I love how Sager blended them all: camps (and camp games, mess halls, cabins/bunks, etc), art, past vs. present, psychological disorders, urban legends/campfire tales, insane asylums, lots of water, etc. I just can’t go on enough about all the things I enjoyed about this one!
A huge thank you to Dutton Books and NetGalley for providing this advanced e-book to allow me to fall in love with this book. I have read ~80+ books this year so far and this has firmly solidified itself into the top five favorites thus far! If you didn’t see it earlier and can’t tell based on this review: FIVE STARS! This book is released July 3rd ,2018!