Last Time I Lied

Last Time I Lied


Emma is thirteen years old when she first arrives at Camp Nightingale. Along with her three new friends she learns how to lie during a game of Two Truths and a Lie.

A few weeks later the camp is closed after Emma's friends disappear one night.

15 years later Emma is asked to come back to the camp and thinks that doing so might bring her closure. But is Emma's innocence the biggest lie of them all?

Our Review

Riley Sager has some serious skills as a writer. She lulls you into thinking that Last Time I Lied is just a run of the mill thriller before throwing in a handful of surprising twists that the reader will never see coming.

Emma Davis is thirteen years old when he parents decide to send her to Camp Nightingale for the summer. Emma’s father is an investment banker who doesn’t have a lot of time for her and her mother is an alcoholic whose previous attempts to please her daughter have failed miserably.

Emma is very excited at the prospect of going to Camp Nightingale, otherwise known as Rich Bitch camp. She refuses to let her mother know quite how pleased she is to be spending time at the exclusive camp and that is her first lie of the summer, but it won’t be her last.

As a latecomer to camp Emma is placed in Dogwood cabin with three girls who are much older than her because that is the only available bed. Vivian, Natalie and Allison are not particularly friendly initially but when Emma stands up to Vivian she is impressed, and they soon become friends.

Emma is in awe of Vivian and the elder girl agrees to act like a surrogate older sister to her. Emma even choses to ignore warnings from other campers that Viv is not as nice as she may seem. Emma feels that Viv is just troubled after the death of her sister by drowning.

Just a few weeks after it opened the camp is closed as Emma’s three new friends have gone missing.

Fifteen years later Emma is attending the first gallery show displaying her work, work with a strong connection to her past at Camp Nightingale.

“I paint the girls in the same order.

Vivian first.

Then Natalie.

Alison is last, even though she was first to leave the cabin and therefore technically the first to disappear.”

The people who buy her paintings will never know the girls are there though because once she has painted the girls into the pictures she always paints over them until they are invisible behind the vines and leaves of her forest scenes.

Her best friend Marc is the only who knows of the girls’ existence in the pictures, but he doesn’t know the full story of why she renders them invisible. He doesn’t realise that she obsessively paints them and that every attempt to paint something different has failed.

“I return to the girls every damn time.

I know I can’t keep painting them, losing them in the woods again and again.”

That night at her show she sees an unexpected figure from her time at Camp Nightingale – the old camp director Francesca Harris-White. Franny invites her to lunch the next day telling her she has a proposition for her.

She is reopening the camp after its closure 15 years earlier. Emma is surprised she is considering reopening because Franny’s family were vilified in the press when it closed after what happened thirteen years earlier. The camp was THE camp to go to at the time and was known among the girls at Emma’s school as ‘camp rich bitch.’

“The coverage was brutal, articles about how Lake Midnight was an unsafe place for a summer camp, especially considering that her husband had drowned there the year before Camp Nightingale opened. Claims that the camp was understaffed and undersupervised. Think pieces blaming Franny for standing by her son when suspicion swirled around him. Some even insinuated there might be something sinister about Camp Nightingale, about Franny, about her family.

I probably had something to do with that.

Scratch that. I know I did.”

Franny want’s her to teach painting to the campers and although Emma is initially reluctant to go but is convinced by her best friend that it might provide the closure she needs. There was no closure for her at the time as the girl’s bodies were never found despite them being declared legally dead.

“I was the last person to see them alive. I could have stopped them from doing whatever the hell it was they had planned to do. Or I could have told Franny or a counsellor as soon as they left. Instead, I went back to sleep. Now I still sometimes hear Vivian’s parting words in my dreams.

‘You’re too young for this, Em.’

Before she goes back Emma looks at a Facebook group for the former campers and the rumours surrounding that time.

“Only one of the responses is the absolute truth. What happened to Vivian, Natalie and Allison wasn’t an accident. I know because I am the one who caused it.

Although their eventual fate remains a mystery. I’m certain that what happened to those girls is all my fault.”

Emma goes back hoping to discover what happened all those years ago but when strange things happen she wonders if she has put herself and others in danger by returning.

This was a brilliant book. Unputdownable. I couldn’t get enough of it.

Our Final Rating...

Our Rating

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