Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me:

1. I’m in a coma.
2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore.
3. Sometimes I lie.

Christmas Day, 2016. Amber Reynolds lies in a hospital, the victim of an unknown incident. Unresponsive to treatment, but she is aware of everything around her. Except what happened to her.

Early December, 2016. Amber’s life seems to be falling apart. Her job is at risk, her husband may be cheating on her. As her memories start to return, events start to lead to the incident that put her in the hospital – an incident that is nothing that she could have expected.

And in the less recent past, a diary begins to tell of the dark events that made Amber who she is, that made Amber do what she has done and that will lead to tragedy – many, many times over…

I get a lot of general mailshots to review books and generally I ignore them – often, they’re not even mysteries. But occasionally, I get lured onto Netgalley and this was one of those times. I’m not entirely sure why – I’m hardly the target audience for “The Next “The Girl On The Train”” (The Girl On The Next Train?) as I wasn’t desperately impressed by that one. In fact the whole “unreliable narrator” genre (aka the “did the boyfriend/husband do it?” genre) isn’t my favourite – N J Fountain set a very high bar with Painkiller (which, if you haven’t read yet, why not?) – but I was pleasantly surprised by this one as it comes damn close to that book. Because it’s pretty damn good.

It’s going to be very hard to summarise this book without giving the game(s) away, but to be fair, there’s quite a few games going on here. The narrative twists and turns all over the place (not reliant at all on a single twist), and while I spotted something central quite quickly – there’s a fairly glaring clue to that something dancing right in front of you for a long time – I still felt pretty clever at spotting it. And by no means did that mean that I’d put everything together at all.

And on top of the clever plot, there are some truly chilling moments here – the final sections in particular hold some real heart-in-the-mouth moments. And even the twist in the epilogue (which doesn’t really work, seeming like a call-back to a rather crappy late-nineties horror movie) doesn’t undo all of the good work up to that point.

This is an absolutely cracking read, up there with the best thrillers that I’ve read for a long time, and an impressive debut from Alice Feeney. Highly Recommended.

Many thanks to HarperCollins UK for the review copy. Sometimes I Lie was released in the UK on 23rd March 2017.

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4 comments

  1. That’s rather high praise, so I might give it another chance. Like you, I am a little sick of girls on trains and the like. I read a sampler of this, but was not quite sold on it.

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  2. I loved this book but was appalled by the silly shark-jumping twist in the epilogue you mentioned. As you say it doesn’t ruin the book but it was an unnecessary and pointless quirk that undermines all her the stellar work that went before it. The editors should have taken it out.

    Liked by 1 person

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