Am pretty happy that I got to finish around five books so far. I wonder when I began to read so quickly but its definitely a credit to the writers who write such interesting books! Also I confess am a bit on the ‘edge’ as I have quiet a list to tackle, what with participating in few challenges and all. Though am doing it at my pace still the thought nags at the back of my head – so many books, so little time😆
Anyhoo, again like so many of my recent posts, Riley Sager has been on my radar since I discovered Final Girls. I wanted to read it last year but never got around to it. I was not so ‘conscious’ of reading a lot of books then as am now. So when I heard of his new book (released last year) I decided I am going to read it for sure.
Did you miss my last post? Check it out here The Wife’s Secret by Kerry Wilkinson #1
Coming to the review. The story begins by introducing us to the protagonist, Emma Davis. She is a painter by profession. Her life doesn’t include much except that she is single and currently hosting an exhibition of her paintings, some 30 of them with the help of her best friend Marc. But her paintings hide a secret. A secret thats been haunting her for fifteen years. 15 years ago something tragic happened when she was attending Camp Nightingale. 3 girls died and not just any three but the ones she was camped with and who had come to be really close to her – especially Vivian.
The story follows the pattern of the game Two Truth and One Lie. Something the four girls played a lot and weaves in their lives inadvertently. Emma was the last to see them leave the cabin that night before they never returned. Now fifteen years later Emma is a rising star coping with her past through the paintings. So when they catch the attention of Francesca Harris-White, the wealthy owner of Camp Nightingale, she implores Emma to return to the newly reopened camp as a painting instructor.
Emma does one better. She decides its time to finally figure out what really happened that night and in turn hope for closure. Once back at the camp, she relives all those memories but something sinister is going on, one she can’t put her finger on but slowly she pieces together whatever clues (or bread crumbs as Vivian says) Vivian left behind. But then the unthinkable happens, once again the girls she was camped with have disappeared and now the suspicions are on Emma. What will she do now?
I thought the book was fantastic in terms of the atmosphere the author managed to capture. The writing is crisp. And nothing is revealed. I had so many theories as more secrets were revealed and I couldn’t trust anyone not even Emma. I suspected everyone yet no one stood out. It was so frustratingly good that for once nothing was predictable. We know Emma underwent therapy, and so I thought she is probably delusional especially the end of part one had me pulling my hair out. The story is told in alternating time line – The past (fifteen years ago) and present.
I can definitely see this been adapted to a movie, if not then it must. At least a web series or tv movie or so. Those vivid ‘visions’ Emma had of the girls made me nervous and it makes you wonder what’s real and what’s not. The writing has an almost supernatural element to it especially by infusing urban legends the campers told each other.
The pacing isn’t exactly fast but kind of a slow burn and not in a negative way cause I was hooked in right from the start but we are dealing with Emma’s past in a more haunting manner so it makes sure the stakes are set in the beginning. And when the reveal is finally made you have absolutely no clue what’s going to hit you. I both loved and hated that part – It was like when you finally hit climax and you are satisfied but not really.
Pros: Characterisation, Storyline, Atmospheric (almost cinematic)
Cons: Slow burn for some, Anti-climatic (not necessarily a con), overhyped (plot wise)
Bibliogyan Verdict – A deliciously good suspense thriller that may leave you wanting more
if you liked my review then please consider buying a copy from here