Book Review: Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

The Last Time I Lied - Riley Sager

Last Time I Lied is the latest novel from Riley Sager, author of Final Girls.


Have you ever played two truths and a lie?

Emma has. Her first summer away from home, she learned how to play the game. And she learned how to lie.

Then three of her new friends went into the woods and never returned . . .

Now, years later, Emma has been asked to go back to the newly re-opened Camp Nightingale. She thinks she’s laying old ghosts to rest but really she’s returning to the scene of a crime.

Because Emma’s innocence might be the biggest lie of all…


Last Time I Lied is a fantastically plotted mystery, one of the strongest I’ve come across in a while; full of suspense and this lingering feeling of unease. Everyone at Camp Nightingale has secrets, who can you trust? Gather round, let’s play two truths and a lie.

The camp setting was the perfect landscape to create this mystery, whilst the camp was full, there was still this feeling of isolation, this element of danger in being away from the town centre. This really enhanced the mystery, the atmosphere Sager managed to create was perfect for the story told.

As a main protagonist, Emma was quite a bland character, in the sense that I neither liked nor disliked her. She doesn’t display any characteristics that make you warm to her, except offering her empathy for her previous time at Camp Nightingale. However, I don’t think you needed to connect with her for this plot to succeed. The strongest characters in this novel were absent throughout, Emma’s three friends that never returned, you really felt the presence of their absence.

However, the mystery itself was much stronger than the characters. Last Time I Lied is very much a mystery-driven novel; laced with red herrings, one that keeps you glued to the pages. You know a mystery is strong when you suspect everyone, multiple times! And, it doesn’t disappoint in its ending, it was brilliantly concluded.

Last Time I Lied is just so damn readable! There’s a simplicity to Sager’s writing that makes the plot easy to follow, but it also shows how cleverly thought-out everything was, because, while the writing style can be described as easy/simple, the mystery itself was complex, in the secrets, in the lies we tell ourselves and others! This is one novel I have no issue recommending, it’s dark, it’s tense at the right times; it starts of a little slow, laying the foundation, but the psychological thrills build as the pace quickens.

While the majority of the novel is set in the present day, interspersed are snapshots of Emma’s time at the camp 15 years ago. Including these snapshot was the right move, because the mystery is so unsolvable, you’re looking for clues in these sections – wondering if the answers are weaved in, what dreadful secret Emma could be hiding.

Last Time I Lied is a brilliant follow up novel to Final Girls, though both standalone novels, if you liked one, you’re almost guaranteed to like the other! I’m looking forward to reading Sager’s next novel, Lock Every Door.

This book is available to buy from: Amazon UK / Book Depository

*My thanks to the publisher (Ebury Publishing) for granting me access to a digital copy of this title via Netgalley*

32 thoughts on “Book Review: Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

  1. Your review is perfect on so many levels. I enjoyed this book but couldn’t quite figure out what bugged me about what was missing. I had my “aha” moment when I read your statement about Emma being a bland character you neither liked or disliked. The story flows through her like she’s just a vessel. It just worked! Brilliant, Janel.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! I love the way you phrased that “the story flows through her like she’s just vessel.” I may have to bookmark that exact phrase for when I come across another character like her! I think when you have protagonists like her, it’s essential that the mystery is strong and enough to pull the reader in, which it was here! I’m looking forward to reading Sager’s next novel!


    1. Thank you! I think it shows the strength of Sager’s writing, in terms of the mystery he created, that so many people found Emma to be a ‘meh’ character, yet still enjoyed this novel! I’m looking forward to seeing what mystery he plots in his next book 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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