Before I Go To Sleep by S J Watson

Before I Go To SleepChristine Lewis suffers from anterograde amnesia. Every morning when she wakes up, she has no recent memories – sometimes, all she can remember is her childhood. She can’t remember what caused this trauma – she can’t even remember her husband, Ben. Every day, she has to re-learn who she is.

But one day she is contacted by a psychiatrist, Dr Nash, who is determined to help her regain her life, and she starts to keep a journal for herself. By using this, she starts to find things aren’t quite as she thought. She had a son who died in the army. She wrote a novel. And she wrote herself a very clear message – “DON’T TRUST BEN”. But is there anyone that she can trust? Can she even trust her own words?

I first encountered this book tangentially a while ago when, just as I was starting to use NetGalley as a resource. As a result, I managed to review S J BOLTON’s first Lacey Flint novel, thinking it was the same author. Glad I did, as that is a great book. Must get round to book three sometime soon. I digress…

My wife bought this a while ago – brief review “It was alright, I suppose” – and I’ve been sort of avoiding it as I tend to avoid popular stuff. But with The Cuckoo’s Calling last month, and The Monogram Murders coming soon, plus a film with Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth and Mark Strong coming out, I figured it was time to take a look.

The existence of the film doesn’t help, to be honest. There’s a meta-element to trying to work out what is going on based on the casting, meaning that I was dismissing one possibility straight off. I’ve not seen the film, I should say, and, now I’ve read the book, probably won’t bother.

Oh, that’s not a snub of the book, by the way. I really liked it – just figure that there’s no need to see the film now. It’s an interesting set-up and, although it dragged a little in the middle section, it’s a very effective thriller, building up the tension nicely. I won’t say too much, but it fooled me in a couple of places – although I was looking in the right direction for one aspect of the plot, I still completely missed the point of what was going on, and one line had me totally looking the wrong way. The finale is very effectively built up and contained, for me at least, a genuine surprise.

I’ll keep the review brief as I think the less you know, the more that you’ll enjoy it. Well worth a look.

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