The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager– Review

36626748Summary: 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.

 

Review: 4 stars 

The Last Time I Lied is about how 3 girls disappeared years ago at a camp. Emma, the only camper who didn’t disappear from that cabin, returns to the camp when it is reopened years later as a painting teacher. Memories of the summer 15 years prior come up around every corner as she tries to discover the truth of what really happened to her friends that summer.

The characters in this book are so interesting. The teenage girls were so manipulative, yet I found myself drawn to them anyway. The characters are no where near perfect, which makes them feel real and helps the story come to life. Piece by piece each layer of the story unfolds and the lies are unraveled, revealing the truth about that summer and the missing girls.

This book was slow paced. In novels about cold cases I always find that my attention wavers. The characters were interesting, but the plot moved too slow, so I continuously lost focus. The plot was cool enough that I kept reading though. It was well written and the plot had a few twists, but I feel like the pacing could have been done better.

As for the mystery, I didn’t figure it out. I always love to guess what happened or who was at fault when reading any kind of mystery I like to play detective and puzzle out these kinds of books. Sometimes there isn’t enough information given to figure it out, while that wasn’t the case in this book, I still got it wrong. There was a twist at the very end that I completely didn’t see coming. I always love when an author pulls something like that off.

Overall I enjoyed this one a lot, but did lose interest at times in the middle. I liked the manipulative teenage girls, especially Vivian, she felt so real. I liked that none of the characters were perfect, but done well enough that I liked them despite some pretty bad flaws. This wasn’t a page turning thriller but it was still a compelling psychological mystery. I would suggest it to mystery lovers who are looking for something a little slower paced.

I received an advanced review copy from Netgalley and Dutton.

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