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The Last Time I Lied

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Fifteen years ago, summer camper Emma Davis watched sleepily as her three cabin mates snuck out of their cabin in the dead of night. The last she--and anyone--saw of them was Vivian closing the cabin door behind her, hushing Emma with a finger pressed to her lips.

Now a rising star in the NYC art scene, Emma turns her past into paintings.. They catch the attention of Francesca Harris-White, the socialite and wealthy owner of the very same Camp Nightingale--and when Francesca implores Emma to return to the camp as a painting counselor, Emma sees an opportunity to find closure and move on.

Yet, it is immediately clear that all is not right at Camp Nightingale. Already haunted by surfacing memories, Emma is suddenly plagued by a security camera pointed directly at her cabin, mounting mistrust from Francesca, and, most disturbing of all, cryptic clues Vivian apparently left behind about the camp's twisted origins. And as history begins to repeat itself and three girls go missing again, Emma must face threats from both man and nature in order to uncover all the buried secrets--including what really happened all those years ago.

402 pages, Kindle Edition

First published July 3, 2018

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About the author

Riley Sager

11 books21.6k followers
Riley Sager is the New York Times bestselling author of six novels, most recently SURVIVE THE NIGHT and HOME BEFORE DARK. His first thriller, FINAL GIRLS, won the ITW Thriller Award for Best Hardcover Novel and has been published in more than thirty countries. His latest novel, THE HOUSE ACROSS THE LAKE, will be published in June.

A native of Pennsylvania, he now lives in Princeton, New Jersey. When he's not writing, he enjoys reading, cooking and going to the movies as much as possible. His favorite film is "Rear Window." Or maybe "Jaws." But probably, if he's being honest, "Mary Poppins."

Website: www.rileysagerbooks.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/rileysagerbooks
Twitter: @Riley_Sager.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 14,198 reviews
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,423 reviews8,955 followers
January 29, 2023
Riley Sager, I love you so much. You have written the perfect Summer Thriller. Take me back to camp!



The Last Time I Lied was engaging from beginning to end, keeping me guessing until the final pages.

I certainly didn't see THAT ending coming!!



On her first day at Camp Nightingale, Emma was late; her parents fault. Subsequently, she got stuck in a cabin with girls much older than herself.



Luckily, her pretty and popular bunkmate, Vivian, took Emma under her wing.

Soon she was having a camp experience unlike any of the other girls her age.



The time passes, as time at summer camp does, until the 4th of July, when Emma's three bunkmates disappear, never to be seen again.

Fifteen years later, Emma, continues to be haunted by that experience. Now a successful artist in New York City, she melds the haunting images of her camp experience into her work.



Unexpectedly invited back to Camp Nightingale by the wealthy owner, Franny Harris-White, to be an art instructor, Emma accepts.

Although returning to the location of her trauma gives her pause, she feels compelled to return.



She hopes by being there again, she can finally piece together what happened to her friends on that long ago night.

Once at the camp, Emma is reunited with many faces from her past, including the handsome Theo, Emma's crush from THAT summer.



This story is darkly atmospheric and filled with ominous mystery.

Sager's writing is always extremely vivid. As I am reading, I have the entire drama unfolding in my mind with the clarity of a movie.



I felt the same way with Final Girls. His descriptions and feelings are so easy to absorb and imagine; they're definitely one of my favorite things about his writing.

As the story unfolds, there are multiple occasions where you think you know what happened all those years ago, but those thoughts are quickly dashed away by new information coming forth.



The cast of characters was fantastic and both timelines unfolded with such ease and excitement, it made this novel a very quick read.

I have absolutely nothing negative to say. I loved it, would read it again and would recommend The Last Time I Lied to any Thriller reader.



I cannot wait to see what Sager comes up with next!

You better believe I will be waiting for it and promptly buying it upon release.



Thank you so much to the publisher, Dutton Press, for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.

It was a highlight of my year, for sure, and I greatly appreciate the opportunity!
Profile Image for Melisa.
324 reviews513 followers
July 10, 2018
BREAKING NEWS!: The Last Time I Lied has been picked up by Amazon Studios to be developed into a series. https://www.amazonbookreview.com/post...

Two truths and a lie:

1. This book rocked.
2. Riley Sager is a thriller writing phenom.
3. I hate reading.

Pretty sure you’ve got me figured out.


Disclaimer : I get really really ridiculously excited about good thrillers now and tend to use an excess of exclamation points, so this is just a preemptive “please excuse my flabbergabbling.”

This is a true thriller in the sense of the word - it’s thrilling with understated suspense and it will creep you out in the best way possible.

So compulsively readable and intriguing, I could not put this one down until I knew how it ended. Oh the twists and the turns and the theories that I had, that were all wrong by the way! It’s also super cinematic - I could totally see this one being turned into a film.

Riley Sager has weaved an intoxicating tale of girls gone missing at a sleep away camp. There is a huge cast of characters, none of which you will trust, and a highly unreliable narrator.

I loved how every flashback chapter was an answer to the question the previous chapter put forward. Everything was connected. You had all the pieces but no answers and had to figure it all out with the main character.

The best kind of stories are the ones that can scare you silly without any violence. And that is exactly what you will find here.

There is one teensy tiny detail of the conclusion that I have a question about and I need to discuss further. Riley Sager, shoot me an email so we can discuss!

4.5 super creepy stars!

Thank you to Dutton Books for my review copy! This was a buddy read with the Traveling Sisters - Berit, Brenda, Holly B, Mackenzie and Marialyce. Loved that you were all as equally enthusiastic about this one as I was!
Profile Image for Emily (Books with Emily Fox).
525 reviews56.6k followers
September 5, 2020
Well well well... no alcoholic wife that just got out of the coma with a cheating husband??

But seriously this was really good! Perfect summer read too since it happens at a summer camp.

Fifteen years ago, 3 girls disappeared at Camp Nightingale. When it finally reopens Emma goes back as a instructor to try and figure out what happened to her friends.

Who did it? Is Emma crazy? I didn't see some twists coming and it was intriguing!

Would recommend!

Reviews of all his books: https://youtu.be/SAd1t5LZqus
Profile Image for j e w e l s.
306 reviews2,323 followers
June 9, 2018
FIVE STARS

I’m trying my best to contain my excitement and review Riley Sager’s new book in a professional manner.

YIPPEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

See that? I only used one exclamation point. I want at least 300 more! It is a spanking good, cracker jack of a novel that I could not stop reading for two days.

THE LAST TIME I LIED is a brilliant and campy (pun intended) mystery for all you grown up fans of Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys.

It will be the 2018 summer-beach-novel-must-read! This is a nostalgic and twisted look back at your own summer camp memories. It’s terrific fun!

I'm crazy about Sager’s deceptively easy writing style. He breezes right through the telling of the story, all the while creating mood, atmosphere and the fun kind of dread you get in the pit of your stomach while watching a horror flick. The pages suck you in and Sager holds your hand as he walks you through the creepy story that began 15 years ago at Camp Nightingale.

Three out of four girls disappeared from the Dogwood cabin and that fourth girl? She suffered a nervous breakdown in the months following the disappearance of her friends. In a way, she is the SOLE SURVIVOR, and if you loved Final Girls you know what that means. Yes, Emma is a Final Girl and she is a sympathetic and very unreliable narrator. Emma has a chance to return to the camp fifteen years later, and of course, in Riley Sager’s world, she goes back to teach art at the camp. Oh, and to solve the old mystery while confronting her many demons.

Please don’t bother to read the overly long and convoluted book jacket synopsis. It almost scared me away. So many names that are meaningless until you read the story. If you liked FINAL GIRLS, you will love THE LAST TIME I LIED. It is also delicious reading for fans of The Chalk Man or Good Me, Bad Me.

THE LAST TIME I LIED is not going to be published until July 2018, I'm sorry to say. However---it is sooooooo worth the wait! It’s a completely different story from FINAL GIRLS, but the same brilliant author supervising the fun.

Many thanks to Dutton Publishers and Edelweiss for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Emma Giordano.
317 reviews116k followers
January 4, 2019
2.5 Stars. I’m honestly so conflicted on this book that I don’t even want to write a review because I’m not really sure where my thoughts are. Did I like it at all? Did I absolutely hate it? I honestly can’t tell you.

CW: violence, drowning, peeping toms, cancer, schizophreniform

While I enjoyed Riley Sager’s previous work, Final Girls, I had some issues with the writing. While I do feel that many of those issues were resolved in The Last Time I Lied, I actually prefer Final Girls. Final Girls was intriguing to me as it is a twist on a famous trope in horror, whereas The Last Time I Lied is fairly similar to many thrillers out there. I do think The Last Time I Lied is a better constructed novel, but I wasn’t all that entertained by this story. By the end, I was finishing it just to finish it.

None of the characters stood out to me. I felt almost all of them were characters I’ve read before. Excluding Emma, I found few characters to be well-developed and have a multitude of motivations. Vivian is the only notable character, but I wouldn’t consider that a compliment as the only reason she stands out is because she’s an overly-sexualized teenager written entirely through a male-gaze. She made me uncomfortable, and not in the way you want to be uncomfortable while reading a thriller.

Also, the theme of “lying” was shoved down my throat so much, it was suffocating. We get it. ~Everyone lies so we can’t trust any of the characters.~ It’s like the author thinks readers aren’t capable of figuring that out themselves. I was so over the blatant attention to lies at the very beginning of the work.

Many of the positive reviews of this novel mention the “shocking, twist ending” and I concur – the very last moments of this book caught me off guard. But it personally was not enough to save a story I didn’t fully enjoy otherwise.

I’m aware I’m the unpopular opinion for this book, but it wasn’t a great read for me. I can’t for the life of me tell you why, but I’ll probably give Riley Sager another try in the future. I guess that says something about his ability to draw in readers.
Profile Image for Chelsea *Slowly Catching Up* Humphrey.
1,387 reviews77.1k followers
September 29, 2022
This is how it begins.

I'll admit, I wasn't as intoxicated with Final Girls last year as the general public seemed to be, but I was in tune enough to realize that Riley Sager has some serious talent in his writing repertoire. His stories are darkly compulsive, and I've come to find that his growth in the psychological thriller field is enormous between his first book (good) and his second one (great). This is EXACTLY what I like to see in an author's pattern of book releases, and I honestly couldn't be more excited for where his next work takes us.

You see the fine grains of the pine plank wall, smell the traces of campfire smoke in your hair, and know exactly where you are. Camp Nightingale.

I would say the format of storytelling is similar to Final Girls, and both books are dark psychological thrillers, but the similarities end there. Where the previous novel was more of a slasher thriller with a YA vibe, this one was a more grown up, complex psychological thriller that was driven by the multiple mysteries at hand. While I can't put my finger on exactly what it is that I liked more about The Last Time I Lied, I think it had something to do with the timing of reading it, plus the fact that this one felt far less formulaic and engaged my brain power as a reader, rather than just expecting me to sit back and be entertained alone.

So much water. So much land. So many places to disappear.

It's tricky to go into details without spoiling any of the book, but it's definitely one that will grasp your attention from the prologue. The story is told alternating between flashbacks during Emma's first stay at Camp Nightingale and present day, which is 15 years in the future. What looks like a straightforward investigation into the disappearance of Emma's three friends from the past turns into a hella good suspenseful romp into so many different directions that I had to re-read one of the reveal sections FOUR TIMES before I could move forward because- Sager fooled me! As an avid suspense aficionado, it's a feeling that I don't get often these days and cherish when the opportunity comes along.

You think of all these things and begin to scream.

I'm still torn on how I feel about a few aspects of the ending, but overall I was very pleased with each facet of this one. It was entertaining, engaging, and had that "unputdownable" factor we have all come to crave from our latest read. If you've been eagerly anticipating this one as much as I have over the past year, I hope you're as satisfied with the pay off as I was. At a time that I've been almost ready to give up on psychological thrillers, I am so thrilled to have consumed this one and for it redeeming the genre in my eyes and persuading me to ride the suspense train a little bit longer.

* I received a review copy from the publisher.
Profile Image for Kat.
256 reviews78.6k followers
October 4, 2019
the last twist was gooood, but also much too late to redeem all the nonsense we had to endure to make it there
Profile Image for BernLuvsBooks .
679 reviews4,626 followers
September 3, 2019
🚣🏻‍♀️ 5 Stars for Riley Sager’s campy summer mystery - The Last Time I Lied 🏕

I was uneasy the entire time I read this book. Part of that was my own excited expectations/anticipation of the book but the other part was Sager’s writing. He knows how to create an elusive mood that leaves you full of dread, yet wanting more. You’re reading, turning page after page, just waiting for “that something” to happen. You know it’s coming. You’re creeped out and suspicious of everyone. You can’t put the book down because you simply have to know where its all going. That’s my reading experience with this book in a nutshell and I loved every minute of it.

Sager masterfully spun a tale that is told in two different times - the present & past (told via flashback from 15 years ago). It all began at Camp Nightingale 15 years prior when three girls disappear from Dogwood cabin. Emma, the youngest of the four girls rooming in the cabin was the only one left. She is deeply affected by the disappearance of her friends and is haunted by the girls throughout her life. Emma is unable to come to terms with the terrible tragedy because they never fully learned what happened to the girls that fateful summer night.

Flash forward 15 years and Camp Nightingale is once again opening its doors to campers. Emma has been invited to teach art at the camp for the summer and of course she accepts. It’s her chance to finally solve the mystery and hopefully put the events of that summer behind her.

Emma is a wonderfully sympathetic yet unreliable narrator. Can her memories be trusted when she herself admits to having had a nervous breakdown in the months after her first camp experience? There were so many secrets that it was nearly impossible to figure out what was true and what wasn’t. There were so many well crafted layers to this mystery! I literally suspected everyone, trusted no one & still had it all wrong in the end. I LOVE when I don’t see "it" coming. It was all there, the crumbs had been woven into the story but with Emma being such an unreliable narrator you simply don’t know what to think or who to believe.

The book had me riveted from beginning to end. I too was on a search for the truth with Emma amidst all the secrets, lies & guilt. I definitely recommend this read to fellow mystery fans and hope it will keep you second guessing just as it did me!

The Last Time I Lied has even been picked up by Amazon Studios to be adapted into a limited series!!! Yay, I can't wait!!!!! You can read all about it here if you'd like --> https://www.amazonbookreview.com/post...

Thank you to NetGalley, Dutton, Penguin Books, and Riley Sager for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Debra .
2,124 reviews34.9k followers
February 23, 2021
4.5 stars

While reading my second book by Sager, I can't help but think that he is an 80's horror movie fan or at least grew up in the 80's watching these flicks. His other book, "Final Girls" read like an 80's horror film to me (which I loved!) and while reading The Last Time I Lied, I felt as if I was at Camp Crystal Lake....oops...I meant at Camp Nightingale. And no, there is no killer in a hockey mask chasing camp counselors through the woods here, but it does have a camp in the middle of the woods, where campers tell each other rumors about the camp’s dark history. Is there any truth to these rumors or are the girls just trying to scare each other?

When Emma was thirteen years old her parents sent her to "camp rich bitch" a.k.a. Camp Nightingale. Since she arrived late, she is placed in a cabin called Dogwood with three older teens: Vivian, Allison, and Natalie. One-night Emma wakes to see the trio sneaking out and is told she is to0 young to go with them. The three teens are never seen again.

Fifteen years later, Emma is an artist who cannot stop drawing the images of the missing girls in her artwork. She is still haunted by that summer and the events which led up to the disappearance of the missing teens. When the camp owner, Francesca Harris-White, invites her to return to the camp for its re-opening, Emma is torn but eventually agrees to teach art lessons at the camp. Emma hopes this will help her move on and come to terms with the events of that summer and the disappearance of her bunk mates.

From the start, things don't seem to be going according to plan. Emma is back in the cabin she shared with the missing girls fifteen years ago. This is only the beginning. Searching for the truth, she stumbles upon some clues left behind by one of the girls. Someone must not have warned her to "be careful what you wish/look for” What happens when what you've been searching for, comes looking for you? Will finding the truth set her free or make things worse? Can you ever go back again? YES, she does go back ...but you know what I mean.

A lot of characters have secrets in this book - I loved this! The cabin mates loved to play "two truths and a lie". I felt as if I were playing that game right along with them, trying to decipher what was real, what was a lie, who is lying (if anyone), who is being deceptive, who is reliable, etc. This was a fun and creepy (yes things can be fun and creepy at the same time!) jaunt through the woods! Ahhh, I could hear the twigs breaking underfoot, see the ripples in the lake and hear the birds chirping. What I couldn't do was find those missing "mean girls." I dare you..no wait..I triple dog dare you to try and figure this book out! If you do, then you are a better super sleuth that I am! I pinkie promise you that this book delivers on a few twist and turns.

There are a lot of characters in this book, but I never found this to be confusing. I found it easy to keep track of everyone. Some of the characters are likable, some not so much, some are mean, some seem too syrupy sweet, some will seem deceptive and some you may not trust. I love how he draw them to stir the plot and keep the reader guessing.

At first this book did seem a little slow to me, mainly because I wanted to be instantly grabbed by this book as I was Final Girls. But I found as I kept reading, I became hooked. Going back and forth in time, looking for clues, I was invested in learning what happened. I felt for characters and was suspicious of them, and then a character would do something or say something and then I suspected them. Thus, I was intrigued and HAD to know whodunit! The woods, cabin and lake were the perfect back drop for this riveting book about missing girls, the search for the truth, the pains of growing up, and the guilt of lies.

I received a copy of this book from Dutton Publishing and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

See more of my reviews at www.openbookposts.com
Profile Image for Gabby.
1,170 reviews25.3k followers
September 21, 2020
I just finished my reread of this book and it was so freaking good. I think this time around I'd bump it up to a 4.5 rating (the first time around I rated it 4 stars). There were so many plot twists I had forgotten about which made this reread so fun and exciting, and I absolutely LOVE the spooky camp vibes. Everything I enjoyed about it the first time I just enjoyed it even more the second time. I love the complicated teenage girl friendships and the unreliable narrator in Emma, and this time around reading that ending I found it to be more ambiguous??? So I was shook by that. I just think Riley Sager is one of the best thriller authors and his writing is just so addicting and so easy to get sucked into the story. I really really enjoyed this one, I still think Lock Every Door is my all time favorite but wow all his books are just so freaking good.

ORIGINAL REVIEW:
Ahhh so good! I liked this one more than Final Girls! This book was so creepy and eerie and it kept me guessing until the last page! I’m so surprised by all the plot twists! I don’t have time to write a full review but here are some thoughts:

-I read this on the plane and in the hotel room I couldn’t put it down
-Giving me Gone Girl vibes with the diaries
-So intense I still didn’t guess the ending
-Love the main character and her unreliable narrating
-Love how sections of this book are told in second person, makes it even creepier
-Love the atmosphere of the creepy haunted camp in the middle of the woods
-Some parts of this felt paranormal or something which I really enjoyed
-Love the way this book really studies teenage girl friendships and how intense they can be. Kind of reminds me of Dangerous Girls
-Loved the main theme of two truths and a lie and how that really gets tied in a lot throughout the story! It even had me guessing what was real and what was a lie
-Amazing writing! That ending though! I enjoyed this one even more than Final Girls
Profile Image for Meredith (Slowly Catching Up).
770 reviews12.1k followers
July 13, 2018

“Sometimes a lie is more than just a lie. Sometimes it’s the only way to win.”

Picture this: Sleepaway camp. 4 girls share a cabin until the day 3 disappear never to be found. One 13-year-old girl is left to tell their story. But her stories are built around lies.

15 years later, the same girl returns to the camp to teach art and assist the owner’s new charitable endeavor. She is assigned to the same cabin that the girls disappeared from. Once again, 3 girls go missing. Something is amiss at Camp Nightingale.

The Last Time I Lied is a tension-packed, atmospheric thriller! Sager brings Camp Nightingale to life: from the eerie camp grounds, to the mysterious lake, to the campfire smoke, to the angst of the teenage campers, I was transported. This element of the novel felt so real and made this book for me!

While things start off a little slow, I was interested enough in the mystery to keep on reading. Bits and pieces are gradually revealed, dark twists and turns occur, culminating in an over-the-top ending. While this element would normally have taken me out of a book, in this instance, it had me smiling (in a good way)! Overall, The Last Time I Lied was a fun, suspenseful read that left me wanting more!

I received a copy of this book from Edelweiss+ and Dutton, Penguin Books in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Barbie.
109 reviews300 followers
March 2, 2019


This was my first book from Riley Sager, and I definitely want to read more from him. The Last Time I Lied is my first 5 stars book in 2019. Absolutely one of my favorite thriller.

The plot has everything that's gripping the reader; creepy summer camp in the woods, vanished girls, lot of dirty secrets, and more lies. Everything started 15 years ago when 4 girls shared one cabin in Camp Nightingale. But one night three of them vanished. Emma nowadays is a painter and returns to the camp as an instructor to find out what happened 15 years ago. Who knows...
The book has two timelines, one is in the present and the other is in the past. This gave me constant stress, Riley Sager did a great job. I couldn't put it down!

I love the "two truths, one lie" game that the girls play in the whole story. I've never been able to decide which one is right. The pacing was really good. It was slow, but it was really tense.

I loved the main character Emma. She was unreliable, but I sympathize with her. What I loved the most was the camp atmosphere. It was so spooky! The camp was haunted at night, I was so scared when the girls walked out from their cabin in the middle of the night. I wouldn't have been there. Brrr.

The book's ending was shocking. I can't figure out what will happen. In the end were 3 big twist that I didn't expect at all. When I read it, I was so traumatized that I just blinked on my kindle for long minutes. I couldn't believe what happened! I love these types of endings.

This book is my new favorite. If you are looking for a gripping, exciting thriller please read this!
Profile Image for jessica.
2,475 reviews29.6k followers
January 16, 2020
everyone else is playing two truths and a lie in their reviews for this, so i guess its my turn.
1. ive never been/wanted go to summer camp and now i know why. teenage girls are crazy and cabins are spooky.

2. RS is a master at luring you into a false sense of security, only to pull the rug out from underneath, disorienting you so much that you have no idea which way is up.

3. this story is nestled in secrets so deep, even the secrets have secrets.
think youve spotted the lie? i can guarantee you dont. because the best lies are those that are based on truth. so read this book for yourself and maybe you will be able to spot my fib. and then you can take your turn and share your own truths and lie.

4 stars
Profile Image for Danielle.
777 reviews364 followers
August 9, 2020
This book was creepily good!! 😱 But also incredibly frustrating. 😬 It’s that slow slow slow burn, but once it’s catches it really burns. My mind is kinda blown by the ending. 🤯 Realistically speaking, not believable, but maybe? 🤔 This is worth picking up if you like a good mystery.
Profile Image for Mary Beth .
377 reviews1,593 followers
June 25, 2018
Five Solid Shiny Stars

Emma Davis goes away to summer camp at Camp Nightingale. She shares a cabin with three other girls, Vivian, Natalie, and Alison. She learns how to play a game, Two Truths And A Lie. They play it All the time. All three girls disappear without a trace in the woods at night time.

Fifteen years later the camp reopens and Emma returns as a painting instructor and finds an opportunity to try to find out what really happened to her friends, that has haunted her. Emma is assigned to the same cabin she slept in as a teenager. She finds a security camera pointing
directly at her cabin. She also finds the word liar in red paint on the front door. The closer she gets to the truth about Camp Nightingale, the more she realizes it may come at a deadly price.

This book was a big surprise. Now I want to read Final Girls. This was a creepy spooky read.
This book goes back and forth from the past and present. It goes back 15 years ago, when Emma was a teenager to the present.
This is my favorite psychological thriller for this year.

This book was done so well. It was a little dark but it wasn't graphic. It is a thriller with a little bit of horror. It is a phenomenal mystery. There are lots of twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat. It kept me guessing and guessing, and the ending just shocked me.
I hooked straight from the beginning to the very end. The characters were done so well and I loved the writing style.
I highly recommend it.

This was a Traveling Sister read and it was a great discussion which made this a great reading experience.

I want to thank Edelweiss, Dutton, and Riley Sager for the copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.
Profile Image for Norma.
551 reviews11.8k followers
August 9, 2018
Holy Shooty Balls this was a good one! 😝 I absolutely LOVED this book!

THE LAST TIME I LIED by RILEY SAGER was an absolutely fantastic, compulsive, thrilling, and tension filled psychological thriller that had me totally engaged and racing through those pages as fast as I could to see how this story was going to end. I was totally blown away with that absolutely shocking and surprise ending! I did another whoop at books end.

RILEY SAGER delivers an extremely detailed, twisty, atmospheric and well-written story here. I absolutely love his writing style and the way that he set the mood was pretty much perfect for a creepy and thrilling reading experience for me. I had that uneasy and apprehensive feeling throughout most of this novel which I am always seeking from my thrillers. This one definitely delivered!

This novel was so gripping and intriguing and in my opinion had the perfect setting. The creepy woods, cabin, and the eerie lake with the camp setting was so good. The camp setting had me reminiscing about my summer camp memories when I was younger. I couldn’t help thinking Nancy Drew or The Hardy Boys while I was reading this one too. Also, another fun aspect of this novel was the game “two truths and a lie” that the girls played at Camp Nightingale in their cabin. I’m not going to lie - I absolutely loved this book! Would highly recommend!

Expected Publishing Date: July 10, 2018

Thank you so much to Edelweiss, Dutton Publishing, and Riley Sager for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.

Review written and posted on our themed book blog Two Sisters Lost In A Coulee Reading.
https://twosisterslostinacoulee.com

Coulee: a term applied rather loosely to different landforms, all of which refer to a kind of valley.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
198 reviews142 followers
January 25, 2023
“Everything is a game, Em. Whether you know it or not. Which means that sometimes a lie is more than just a lie. Sometimes it's the only way to win.”

Fifteen years ago, summer camper Emma Davis watched sleepily as her three cabin mates snuck out of their cabin in the dead of night. The last she and anyone saw of them was Vivian closing the cabin door behind her, hushing Emma with a finger pressed to her lips.

Now a rising star in the NYC art scene, Emma turns her past into paintings.. They catch the attention of Francesca Harris-White, the socialite and wealthy owner of the very same Camp Nightingale and when Francesca implores Emma to return to the camp as a painting counselor, Emma sees an opportunity to find closure and move on.

Yet, it is immediately clear that all is not right at Camp Nightingale. Already haunted by surfacing memories, Emma is suddenly plagued by a security camera pointed directly at her cabin, mounting mistrust from Francesca, and, most disturbing of all, cryptic clues Vivian apparently left behind about the camp's twisted origins.

So, I decided to give Riley Sager another chance and I’m pleasantly surprised. After reading ‘Lock Every Door’ and loathing it, yes, I said loathe. I didn’t expect to 1. pick up another of his works and 2. enjoy it if i did.

Well, instead of disappointment, I was met with, wonderful writing, great content-buildup, a story that lured me in from the first page and was full of unwrapped secrets, lies, adventures and escape. Morally grey characters that resulted in a lot of speculation, but, as it turned out nothing was on the right path! The last 50 pages were especially intense.

This was a very well-crafted thriller and incredibly atmospheric! The description of the camp, the lake and the forest were fantastic.

I’m glad I gave the author another go.

I Highly Recommend.

4.5/5

“Omnes vulnerant; ultima necat. - All hours wound; the last one kills.”
Profile Image for Mackenzie - PhDiva Books.
413 reviews14.4k followers
July 28, 2018
Riley Sager somehow surpasses the amazing hype surrounding his first novel, Final Girls, with an absolutely compulsively-good psychological thriller full or secrets, lies, and shocking truths that you won’t be able to put down!

I have to say, I have read some outstanding books already in 2018, but this is by far the best psychological thriller for me this year! I was captivated by this book! I have a list of quotes and notes several pages long that I pulled while reading. Since I reached the shocking ending (seriously! What an ending!!!), I have been going back to those quotes and notes and finding even more clues and meaning in them.

We read this as a Traveling Sister read, and the discussion has been so engaging and wonderful. We each are finding clues that give us a new theory about aspects of the book. I wish I could share, but you should go in and experience this one as it is written! You will find your own path through the mysterious web of truth and lies, and I think this one will keep you guessing!!

About the Book

Emma Davis was 13 years old when she first attended Camp Nightingale—a summer sleepaway camp for the upper-class girls of the northeastern states. Emma is late—her mother didn’t mention that she would be away all summer until the first day of camp—and so she is placed into a tiny cabin with popular senior campers Vivian, Natalie, and Allison. Emma immediately bonds with the beautiful, enigmatic Vivian. Vivian feels like the older sister Emma always wanted. The girls quickly engage Emma in their favorite game, two truths and a lie. The point of the game is to trick others into believing your lie. And then one night, Emma watches the girls sneak out of the cabin. By the next morning, they’ve disappeared for good, and Emma is left wondering if she could have stopped them.

Two truths…

At 28, Emma is a successful painter with a gallery full of her Forest series—paintings inspired by the forest at Camp Nightingale and her lingering questions around that summer. Not a day goes by that Emma doesn’t think about the three missing girls, particularly Vivian. And then Franny, the wealthy owner of Camp Nightingale, approaches Emma with an offer—return to Camp Nightingale’s grand re-opening. Emma thinks this may be her opportunity to finally process what happened to her friends and move on for good. But all is not as it seems once she arrives at Camp Nightingale.

And a lie…

But Emma has secrets she has never revealed to anyone. About that summer. About the girls. Emma may know more about what happened than she admits. Though Emma tries to live a life of truths, she can’t seem to escape her lies that summer. And it seems that someone out there knows what Emma lied about, and is trying to make Emma pay. Can Emma find the truth before her lies catch up to her?

Reflection

I cannot put into words how wonderful this book is! It has layers upon layers of secrets, lies, and mystery that I continue to peel back, even after finishing. Small moments that seemed innocuous at first reading take on so much meaning as I discovered more about the events at Camp Nightingale. The characters are all slightly unsettling in a good way. You’re never totally sure that anyone is telling the full truth. But as Vivian says, lying is how you win the game.

One of my absolute favorite things about this book was the mysterious setting of Camp Nightingale. Sager uses the setting as a character in and of itself. He says at one point, “Like most old structures, there's a heaviness to the Lodge, a somberness. I think of all the years it's witnessed. All those seasons and storms and secrets...” The description of a place as having a memory; of knowing all of the secrets, and it creating a personality to the building that may not exist if things had been different. Emma reflects at one point that she was getting reacquainted with the lake, only to then state that actually, it felt like the lake was getting reacquainted with her. And then at other times several characters mention the forest as inviting them in, and the pull it has for those at the camp. The setting of the book completely came alive through Sager’s wonderful writing. It became a force within the story that held the clues to the mystery, if only Emma could be brave enough to ask.

And finally, THAT ENDING! I can’t say much more because I refuse to spoil even a second of this wonderful ending, but boy-oh-boy was I paging back and forward, processing what I just read. I can’t wait for readers to discover this book for themselves! The entire book is a masterpiece, and one I already am planning to read again. And like all of the best books, I already know that each time I read it, I’ll get a bit more out of it.

Thank you so much to Dutton, Penguin Books, and Riley Sager for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Charlotte May.
670 reviews1,025 followers
March 14, 2020
The point of the game isn’t to fool others with a lie. The goal is to trick them by telling the truth.”

Ooh damn!!

This was everything I wanted in a thriller!
Morally ambiguous characters, twists and turns and a shock ending.

Emma hasn’t been to Camp Nightingale since she was 13. Since the 3 girls in her cabin went missing and were never found.

15 years later Emma is working as an artist. Always painting the same scenes, a dark, eerie woodland with the 3 girls disappearing into it.

She is invited to return to Camp Nightingale during its first summer opening since the disappearance. A camp instructor, to teach the girls to paint. But why would Franny, the wealthy camp owner want her back there after everything Emma put her family through?

Can Emma finally get some closure from the guilt that has gnawed at her for 15 years? What really did happen to Vivian, Alison and Natalie all those years ago? And is Emma safe?

4 stars ⭐️

Profile Image for Berit Talks Books.
1,995 reviews15.7k followers
July 2, 2018
6 Strikingly Stupendous Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Yes six, seis, sexe,sechs,sei.... and I’m sure whatever language you choose to read this book in the result will be the same... it was just that fabulous!

Two truths and a lie...

1 I never gush over books!
2 this was the best book I’ve read so far this year!!!
3 Riley Sager is being added to my list of authors who I will autobuy/request.


I’m sure you figured it out... I am the queen of gushing! And this is a book that makes me want to shout from the rooftops! From first page to last this book had me captivated... this is going to sound odd but I felt as though I was in a forest of browns and greens every time I pick this book up.... it was so atmospheric and descriptive that I felt as though I was there at camp with these girls... The forest, the lake, the tension was all drawn so well by Sager... I could smell the trees, feel the water, and I was on the edge of my seat throughout this entire book!

Emma is a “final girl“ how appropriate is that? when she was at camp 15 years ago she was the only girl from her cabin to not disappear ... my only complaint of Sager’s previous book was I would have liked the psychology of these “final girls” to have been explored more in depth , so... what a treat this book was! Emma now a well respected artist paints these girls in all her paintings... she sees Vivian everywhere... and she cannot let go of the fact that she had something to do with their disappearance... that is all I am saying about the plot, I do not want to ruin this gem of a book for you...

I am just so jealous of all of you who have not read this yet, what a treat you have in front of you! A campy book that will grab onto you and will not let go... a book filled with twists, Twists, and more twists, and just when you think you’ve got it all figured out..... an ending you will not see coming!



Emphatically recommend this book, especially if you are a fan of the psychological thriller genre! If you liked “Final Girls you will love “The Last Time I Lied” and that is no lie!

*** many thanks to Penguin Dutton for my copy of this book ***
Profile Image for Christina Loeffler.
135 reviews17.4k followers
September 17, 2018
3.5 well, lakes and summer camps are now on my shifty list stars!!!!

Full review along with a recipe for Ratatouille featured on my blog Recipe and a Read!!!

When Emma Davis was just 13 years old she attended summer camp at the prestigious Camp Nightingale (known to kids at her school as Camp Rich Bitch). Emma is the last to arrive and the last to leave, what happens in-between is every camper’s worst nightmare. One night, after an argument gone awry Emma’s three cabin mates (Vivian, Natalie and Alison) sneak out – never to be heard from or seen again. Vanishing into thin air.

Everything is a game, Em. Whether you know it or not. Which means that sometimes a lie is more than just a lie. Sometimes, it’s the only way to win.

Now 15 years later Emma is gaining notoriety for her art work. Little do her adoring new fans know – this is a lesson in obsession. An inability to let the past go. Emma can only paint one thing: Camp Nightingale and the 3 girls forever vanishing into the woods. To say she obsesses over the girls and their ultimate demise is the understatement of the century. It is an all-consuming need that shapes Emma and her life from the moment she entered the camp and it has never relinquished its grip.
When former Camp Nightingale owner Francesca Harris-White (Franny) approaches and purchases one of Emma’s paintings and asks to have lunch, Emma can’t help her weary curiosity. Franny is here to offer Emma a job. Fifteen years after the closing of Camp Nightingale, Franny wishes to reopen its doors with a new mission to allow girls in based on merit instead of wealth and she wants Emma to be a painting instructor.

So much water. So much land. So many places to disappear.

Sager is a true master of suspense building. While he’s fallen to a lot of typical thriller/mystery topes (unreliable narrator, suspicious wealthy family hiding secrets) he brings a fresh take to these over-done story lines and builds a need within the reader to race to the finish. This one won’t have you wanting to skim just to get to the “who dunnit” at the end but rather savor the pieces and clues that Sager delves out with a deft hand.

In the end there are ultimately two back-to-back bombshells that are dropped on the reader fairly close together. What I’ll give The Last Time I Lied is that it’s one of the most surprised I’ve been in reading a thriller in a long time. However, while surprise is generally the end goal of a mystery – it doesn’t always mean its well done. Sager’s writing is unceasingly well-done, his prose are detailed and bright. However, I was left here disappointed in the development into the final twists and the ultimate ending. It felt to me a bit out of left field and the penultimate twist felt disconnected to the web that Sager wove and I was hoping for something deeper from it.

Sometimes a lie is more than just a lie. Sometimes it's the only way to win.

Despite a few misgivings I really enjoyed this edge-of-your-seat thriller and I’m thrilled to have found such an amazing author whose future books I’ll immediately be picking up. The writing is top notch and the suspense is thick and heavy throughout. While many of the characters weren’t particularly likeable Sager shows that isn’t always necessary to create a gripping read that once you sink your teeth into – you won’t be able to step away.

I completed this as a Traveling Friends read and it was a real treat to discuss with others!
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,147 reviews97.7k followers
November 1, 2018


“So much water. So much land. So many places to disappear.”

The Last Time I Lied was such a fun book to read during this spooky season. It really kept me on the edge of my seat, it was so thrilling, it was so chillingly atmospheric, and that ending was really unpredictable. I’m so happy I picked this book up this October! Also, to everyone who participated with us in #FridayFrightAThon, thank you so much! It was such an honor to read alongside so many of you! And hopefully this last book helped you get into the Halloween mood!

This is a story about a twenty-eight-year-old woman named Emma, who is still haunted by something that happened fifteen-years ago at summer camp. In present day, she is an artist that is finally having her first gallery event. But the thing is, all the inspiration for all the paintings at the showing were also inspired by what happened when she was thirteen-years-old.

Fifteen-years ago, Emma went to summer camp late and was forced to bunk with three older girls in a cabin. She quickly becomes close with one of them, Vivian, who treats her like a little sister. But she soon finds out that Vivian was keeping secrets from her. Yet, Emma never found out what those secrets were, because one morning she wakes up and the three girls are missing and are never to be found again.

This story is told with flashbacks constantly showing us what really happened all those years ago. And we slowly find out why Emma is unable to paint anything but those three missing girls. But Emma is offered some closure, when she is asked to go back to the camp, to teach art, and to maybe receive some semblance of closure for herself and for her art.

But once she goes back to Camp Nightingale, she learns that some people’s lives never went back to normal after that haunting morning. And Emma also realizes that some people aren’t going to let her forget that they blame her for whatever happened.

Again, this was so much fun to read. I was so surprised at how many different directions this story was able to take, and how I never saw which way the story was going. I also think the second person point of views were really well done and distributed throughout the story for the perfect amount. I honestly never wanted to put this book down.

But, not to get into spoiler territory, I hated the epilogue. Well, I loved and hated the epilogue. I actually think the last twist was such a work of genius. But I was absolutely appalled at the way Emma handled it. Therefore, the book was kind of left off on a sour note for me, sadly.

Overall, I really did enjoy this one. I loved going along with Emma and solving the present-day mystery and the mystery of the past at the same time. And, seriously, the summer camp setting was so perfectly spooky. I think I’m just a bit of a harsh rater with thrillers, honestly. But if you’re looking for something that you won’t be able to predict, and that will put you in a scary mood, I completely recommend this!

Lastly, something I want to bring up that in no way impacts my rating; I really do not like how this male author writes under a female sounding pseudonym. I also don’t like how there is no author picture and the author note and acknowledgements makes an effort to not have the reader know this story is written by a man. I get that Gillian Flynn was (maybe still is) the thriller queen for a while, but it just makes me feel grossed out that I feel like he is hiding that he is a man to try to sell more. Because white men don’t have it easy enough, you know?

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Content and trigger warnings for schizophreniform, anxiety attacks, loss of a loved one, alcoholism, slut shaming (a lot), peeping toms, many fatphobic comments, negative comments about food, talk of cancer, and sex between a sixteen-year-old and nineteen-year-old.

Buddy read for #FridayFrightAThon which I co-hosted with Amy @ A Court of Crowns and QuillsJen @ Pinot and Pages, & Chelsea @ Chelsea Palmer! 👻
Profile Image for Holly  B (busy month catching up).
788 reviews1,740 followers
June 19, 2018
Have you ever played Two Truths and A Lie?

It is a game the girls at Camp Nightingale played in their cabin. Emma Davis was the youngest girl in the cabin and a first time camper. Her three bunk mates sneak out one night leaving her alone. Something goes wrong and they never return. Who knew summer camp could be such a dangerous place. 

This scenario brought back summer camp memories of sleeping in bunk beds and sitting around campfires telling ghost stories. Fun, right? Well, maybe not at this camp. The woods and algae laden lake were a perfect setting for this twisty thriller.

Fast forward fifteen years, and Emma is still haunted by her memories. She is invited back, but does she  dare?

This thriller will have your imagination soaring and produce some anxiety as some dirty little secrets come out!

Traveling sister group read was very enjoyable!
Thanks to EW for my ARC. July 10,2018 expected publication
Profile Image for Jen CAN.
465 reviews1,275 followers
August 6, 2018
I liked this; didn’t love it; too many ‘no freaking way would this happen in reality’ moments. Even though there were nigglings in my head that wiggled in, it was still a gripping page turner.

3 girls vanished from a summer camp more than 15 years ago. Emma, who had shared a cabin with them, is now being called back to the camp as they reinvigorate it to reopen it.
But Emma recalls more than she wants and beneath her own fears, she recognizes her own lies and her role in their disappearance.

Some good twists and an unexpected ending. Will check another Sager out. 3.5 ⭐️ rounded down to 3⭐️ as it failed to meet my reality meter.


July 2, 2020
Creepy good, Creepy spooky, Creepy wow!

The Last Time I Lied had all the elements to make this a spooky, creepy good read. I loved the camp setting, eerie lake, game of truth and lies and the mystery of three girls that go missing in the night.

I loved the atmosphere of the camp setting and Riley Sager does a great job setting the feel with the descriptive writing making the camp setting come alive in my head. At times it felt like a movie playing out in my mind.

Riley Sager does a good job layering those secrets and lies and creating those twists and turns at just the right time. He took me down a path a twisty path, leaving those clues along the way, In the end, the story skillfully comes together leaving me wanting to sure my excitement over this one with the Traveling Sisters in this group read. Every time someone finished the excitement started all over it again. Almost like a party! We highly recommend it.

Thank you so much to Edelweiss, Dutton Publishing, and Riley Sager for the opportunity to read an and review an advanced copy of this book

Traveling Sister group read
Profile Image for Susanne.
1,153 reviews36.2k followers
August 2, 2018
2.25 Stars* (rounded down)

“The Last Time I Lied” is a “campy” mystery/suspense surrounding Emma Davis, who at Thirteen went to Camp Nightingale and lived through a nightmare: all of her friends went missing one night and she was the lone survivor. Now as an adult, she is set to return to the camp as it reopens for the first time since. Several former campers, now instructors are also set to return, including the one Emma accused of murdering her friends. To make matters worse, Emma still thinks he’s guilty. Everyone else however, suspects Emma.

“The Last Time I Lied” is a crazy novel full of twists and turns, some of which were expected, some of which, were not. This is the second novel I’ve read by Riley Sager, both of which take place at a camp for girls, which I found to be slightly disappointing as I wished the author had come up with a different concept this time around. In addition, I found this book to stretch believability, thus unfortunately, this storyline didn’t quite work for me. That said, I am the outlier here as most reviewers loved this one, so I highly recommend checking out other reviews. This was a buddy read with Kaceey - thanks for keeping me company on this one Kaceey!

Thank you to Edelweiss, Penguin Publishing Group and Riley Sager for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Published on Edelweiss and Goodreads on 8.2.18.
Profile Image for Arna.
161 reviews261 followers
April 3, 2021
4 & 1/2 stars!


Oh this is one good book! I read it in the space of 24 hours which is unheard of for me! I was hooked from the start and my heart dropped actually dropped at one of the twists. I loved the summer camp setting and with Emma being an unreliable narrator, I was suspicious of everyone and trusted no one, I was so absorbed in this world that Riley has created and I could not put this book down until I knew what happened to those girls. 🕵🏼‍♀️

The only downside for me was the ending, it didn’t really work for me but I know most seem to have loved it!

I am now definitely hooked on Riley Sager and have already ordered Final Girls to read as soon as it arrives 😂
Profile Image for JanB .
1,113 reviews2,140 followers
September 13, 2018
I liked the mystery and the premise of this novel but the believability factor weighed this one down. I probably could have ignored my critical brain if I had liked the execution of the story or the characters. But I didn't.

I read to 50% and then skimmed/speed read to the end. I did like how the author didn't go for the obvious and the slight twist at the end left things open for a sequel. Unfortunately, the believability factor had my eyes rolling.

The chapters alternated between current day and flashbacks to the past, with the mean girls/teen camp figuring prominently in the story, a particular dislike of mine. There was also a YA quality to the writing that I didn't care for.

Recommended for people who like teen themes and for those who can silence their inner critic and just go with where the story takes them.

*I received a copy of this book from Edelweiss and Penguin Publishing group in an exchange for an honest review.
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