The Last Time I Lied: A Review

Spoilers ahead! I did it, I blazed through my BOTM pick for the month and I am almost a little bummed about it because they haven’t had much of an interesting selection these past few months. I chose The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager, I mostly liked his first book under this pseudonym, Final Girls and did a review on it here if you are interested! His second offering is a departure from the cheesecake horror genre which surprised me since the setting is at a summer camp a la Camp Crystal Lake and I was expecting somebody to get slashed.

Emma Davis finds herself back at Camp Nightingale 15 years after three girls from her cabin went missing and were never found. Emma returns to the camp as an art instructor but her real mission is to figure out what happened to her bunk mates all of those years ago. She starts to follow the cryptic clues left behind by the leader of the girl squad, Vivian. The reader is convinced that Vivian somehow unearthed a murder that the camp owner may have committed and/or the possibility that the camp owner and her husband were involved with the tragic events that happened at a women’s hospital that is now under the lake that the camp resides on. Confusing, right? In all honesty, I could take or leave the women’s institution story-line and have no idea why it was even thrown in as a possible motive for murder. I mean, how would a group of teenage girls even figure out that these events occurred and who would kill them over that? I digress, the reader is taken back and forth between current events at Camp Nightingale and the events of 15 years ago, I have to say that I am still a fan of this storytelling technique even if it has become a tad overused. Vivian, Natalie and Allison are pretty much what you would expect of teen girls away at camp, Vivian is the total alpha female and the other girls just do her bidding. We learn more about Vivian after modern-day Emma discovers her diary but I felt that there was less and less motive for murder as the contents of the diary were shared. I figured that it was going to be discovered that some maniac was just loose on the premises that summer until the point that three more girls who just happen to be bunking with Emma go missing. The story feels a bit rushed at this point, Emma is suspected of not only having something to do with the recent disappearances but the the past ones too. This didn’t make a lot of sense as Emma was the youngest of the girls who first disappeared and honestly, the most harmless seeming. Everyone just assumes that she has lost her shit and the disappearances of 15 years ago has compromised her sanity which, is a bit of a leap. We know that she blames herself for the disappearances but I never suspected that she was involved in them. Anyway, we find out that actually nobody had anything to do with the disappearances and the girls accidentally drowned while trying to find the underwater women’s hospital – tragic but pretty anti-climactic. Then we find out that the whole thing was a frame-up and one of the sons of the camp owner blames Emma for accusing his brother of having something to do with the original disappearances and thus ruining their family. Again, it’s a leap. But then we find out that none of that is the case and that Vivian actually murdered the other two girls because they had a hand in her sister’s accidental drowning. Have I lost you yet? Oh, and Vivian isn’t dead after all. What…?

I dunno, the book had the makings of being a good thriller but was all over the place with some of the details. I had to go back and re-read sections trying to determine what events I had missed that lead up to different twists and turns. I enjoyed Final Girls much more, this seemed lazy and like the author was just tossing in everything we love about slasher flicks and the kitchen sink. It had a lot of potential but fell a bit short and wrapped up way too quickly, I’d recommend for a light read if you have some time to kill but I’m not saying it’s good.

What are you reading? Thanks for stopping by <3


  • Tiffany

    Sounds like Pretty Little Liars, in rush novel. Actually, the author could have made the storylines into sequels. Sometimes writers think filling a book with different dramatic storylines sells, but it can be a nuisance. Lol, I may pick it up just to fill quota for my yearly book goals. I’ll be posting soon on what I’m reading.

    • quitesimplystella

      Yes! I thought that it was just too much, I would much rather have preferred one, well-developed storyline over the three different ones that were packed into the book. Haha! It’s an easy read, I am still interested in the author but this book was a mess.

    • quitesimplystella

      It was, I like this author and I hope that he keeps writing this horror/slasher/thriller type of book. I haven’t read anything quite like it. Same, summer is when I get most of my reading done 🙂

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