HQ | 2017 (23 March) | 384p | Review copy | Buy the book
Amber Reynolds wakes in a hospital bed on Boxing Day but the world around her would never know it. Amber is locked in a coma – her eyes are closed and she can’t move even the smallest muscle but her mind is awake, inhabiting the present while also turning over in her mind memories, both recent and much older. Visitors come and go, especially her husband Paul and sister Claire. They hold her hand, read to her, try and call her back. But, although Amber is yet to remember the full details of the accident that put her in this state, she knows that her husband doesn’t love her any more. Amber also knows that sometimes she lies. But about what?
And so begins one of the most twisty and twisted psychological thrillers that I’ve read. It’s true that I find this a genre hard to warm to and each time I read one I demand a great deal from it in order to keep my attention. But Sometimes I Lie gave me just what I wanted and, as a result, I think it’s one of the most successful psychological thrillers that I’ve read. I don’t want to give you any more plot detail because nothing – nothing – is as you expect it to be.
Sometimes I Lie works for lots of reasons but chiefly because it is extraordinarily clever. There are a few little moments when I thought it might be being a little too clever for its own good but generally I was pleasantly surprised by how good this plotting is. I had more jaw dropping moments with this than in any other psychological thriller I can remember, and they don’t all come at the end either. There are shocks and surprises all the way through. And I didn’t guess them all. Fabulous!
Another big reason for this book’s success is Amber Reynolds herself. She is the epitome of the Unreliable Narrator. It’s no secret. She seems rather proud of it. But it does mean that the reader has to keep their wits about them. I did re-read bits as the novel went on, just to keep track of the games playing out around me, the poor, innocent reader! I didn’t particularly like Amber but I don’t think we’re supposed to. I was absolutely fascinated by her though. She had my attention from the opening page.
I love the style and structure of the novel. It mixes present, near-past and much longer ago, and includes journal extracts, memories, dreams and thoughts. It’s extremely catchy. Sometimes I Lie is next to impossible to put down. It demands that you hang on to Amber’s every word. You have to know! And what you learn shocks.