In the latest thriller from the bestselling author of Final Girls, a young woman returns to her childhood summer camp to uncover the truth about a tragedy that happened there fifteen years ago.

Camp Nightingale is more than just a place for games and fun — it also holds dark secrets, some carried by its inhabitants years after their temporary stay there. When Emma Davis goes back, now as an instructor, she’s greeted with familiar faces and the same haunts. This time around she’s determined to get some answers — even if it comes at a deadly price.

First Look Club reviewers Jody and Jed dive into the mystery of Camp Nightingale. Read their thoughts below.


Sinister Setting

Jody says: The setting of the camp sets the tone for the whole story to unfold, allowing a Pandora’s box of creepy scenarios to be opened. There’s a murky lake that hides far too many secrets, and then there’s the forest with its twisting tendrils pulling you deeper in as a reader too. […] The book does shine in its ability to paint a vivid picture of mystery.

Jed says: The Last Time I Lied gets mileage out of some genre savvy on the reader’s part: the missing girls, the lakeside camp (jokingly referred to as “Crystal Lake” by a character early on), the secretive proprietress, and the old mansion on the campgrounds — The Lodge — that the campers are forbidden to enter. The prose does not really go out of its way to paint the sinister undercurrent that flows through Camp Nightingale, but that undercurrent manages to make itself known all the same.

A Slow Burn

Jody says: One of the things that immediately drew me into the book was its careful interplay of page-flipping mystery and mind-boggling psychological thriller. […] It’s a long and slow journey, but one that makes complete sense as the story begins to unravel. Hidden secrets from the past are opened up slowly with each chapter (sometimes rather agonizingly slow), keeping you focused on the inner struggles of guilt and fear that seize the main character instead.

Jed says: The flow of information slows to a trickle as Emma begins ending each chapter quantifying how horrible that thing she did was without actually talking about that thing she did. […] Emma’s maddeningly slow reveal can be frustrating, but the different threads that make up the plot remain interesting during the middle act: the central mystery is always the fate of the three missing girls from Emma’s past, but other side mysteries are introduced along the way.

The Verdict

Jody says: Overall, the book was a change in pace from the novels I’m used to sloughing through that I really appreciated. The Last Time I Lied builds up tension in slow and steady increments, and digs deep into both the mystery and the troubled girl at its very core.

Jed says: The Last Time I Lied is a well-crafted mystery. It’s also a fine psychological thriller, although it cannot count among the genre’s best. Some of the slower parts in the middle may annoy readers, but the final steep metaphorical drop at the end is one worth experiencing. Mystery lovers will find a lot to like here.

 

The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager is available at Fully Booked stores and Fully Booked Online.


Jed has worked as an animator, web designer, and college instructor, but he continues to dream of writing for a living. Read his full review here

Jody is currently an undergraduate student taking up Education and is discovering everyday the greatest bits about reading and learning that fuel our thinking. Read her full review here.

[Thoughts and views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Fully Booked. Then again, we love our authors anyway.]

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