Sometimes I Lie was on my radar for quite a while before it dropped to only 99p on Kindle and I snapped it up. An unreliable narrator thriller, it was touted as the next in the vein of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, and I’m a sucker for some good advertising and a cheap price, especially when it’s less than a pound. My sister read this before I did, but there was less than a week between them, and even with such a sparse blurb, I was looking forward to a tense, taut, densely plotted thriller.
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.
For the most part, I did very much enjoy this book. With two concurrent narratives, one being Amber in her coma and the other a childhood set of diaries, there was a lot going on, especially as Amber tried to figure out how or why she had ended up in this coma, and what was happening while she was in the hospital bed, helpless, yet aware of everything around her. A cast of characters is quickly introduced – Amber in the bed, her husband, her sister Claire, and the tense relations between them, despite this not always having been the case.
So for the first eighty to ninety percent of the book, I was very much enjoying what was going on. Amber was helpless, trying to figure out what had happened, watching things unfurl around her, although obviously not literally watching, and reassessing her actions in the days leading up to Christmas, which was when the accident happened. Someone was in the car with her, but she doesn’t remember who, and everyone is under suspicion. In the past, then, we are treated to details which tie in with Amber’s current situation – childhood traumas, intense friendships, and a character named Jo who is present in both distant and recent past narratives.
So I was hoping for a really excellent denouement and conclusion which would unfurl elegantly and tie together all the threads which had been dangling throughout the book, tantalisingly hinting at an amalgamation of old hatred and current love which would lead to an explosive finale.
What I got, though, was something a bit more complex than that. Reveal after reveal after reveal was thrown at the reader with no chance to digest or process or sometimes even accept the developments. With a crash, bang, and a wallop, the ending of the book left me feeling like I’d been hit with a cinder block, totally in contrast to what the previous few hundred pages had felt like.
While I understand that in a book with an unreliable narrator (as would be expected in a book called Sometimes I Lie) has to have a huge conclusoin, the slow, insidious pace of the previous ninety percent of the book meant that the final reveals, all of them, felt out of pace, out of place, out of step with everything that had preceded it. Too many characters were running around, with too many motivations, and it lost the thread of believability which had been running through it for the majority of the book.
I wouldn’t be surprised if this book is lauded as fantastic, as it delivers some twists with aplomb, and there’s certainly a good deal to be praised in it, but I just couldn’t get on board with the fantastically over the top ending, and the more time passed after I finished, the less I could justify the high rating I thought I would be giving from the beginning.