What attracted me to Last Time I Lied was the vibrant orange around the edges. In my younger years I was always known for the bright mixture of colours in my clothing, something which always attracted mirth. It wasn't until later in the book that I was to see what the significance of the colour was.
As I started to read this book, I immediately thought back to an Australian movie, Picnic at Hanging Rock, based on a book by Joan Lindsay. I saw the movie years ago, but never read the book. The fictional plot itself is similar in some ways, although Picnic at Hanging Rock was set in 1900 and is based on a day picnic where students and a teacher mysteriously go missing.
Last time I lied is based around a girl's only camp, where Emma, a naive 13-year-old goes for her first summer camp away from home to Camp Nightingale. She is placed in a cabin with three older, more experienced girls who have been to camp before –
the rich bitches. The three older girls go missing and through a turn of events Emma becomes a suspect. However, the police never solve the mystery or charge anyone. The girls are never found and the camp closes down.
Fast forward fifteen years and Franny, the owner of the camp facilities decides to re-open camp. Emma, now an artist, is invited back to camp as an art teacher to work with the young campers. She still has her own issues, never really being able to move on from not knowing what happened to her three roommates. Reluctantly, she accepts the request, feeling it may help her heal and even possibly solve a past crime.
Emma finds herself thrust into a situation where past memories are dragged up all too readily, and despite her best intentions while trying to solve one mystery, she finds herself embroiled in yet another. Seeking the truth and sorting through the lies of everyone concerned is more complicated than anyone expects, especially when there is more than one person with secrets to protect. Is there more to the family that owns the camp than meets the eye?
The book is written in a series of scenes that alternate between the present and flashbacks from Emma’s perspective. There were parts of the book which, like any good thriller, had me wondering where on earth they were heading. But as it continued, it started to unravel. However, even then, never can you imagine the intricacies and final conclusion. There are hints along the way, one coming in the form of a story about a baby falcon about half way through the book, which affected my expectations and the direction my thoughts about the story took, but I still never expected events to play out as they do.
This book was a real page turning thriller. Whenever I finish a book in only a few days it's usually a good indication that the book is good, which was the case for this one.
I have not read the only other book written so far by Riley Sager, Final Girls, but now I will go and seek it out.
It wasn't until I finished reading the book and read the acknowledgements, that I saw that this book was in fact inspired by Peter Weir’s film, Picnic at Hanging Rock. Just like it, this book certainly is a thriller that will have you questioning what appears to be truth and the lies that surround it.
Peter Wier's art film Picnic at Hanging Rock was a milestone in Australian cinema and the inspiration for Riley Sager's novel, Last Time I Lied.