* This review does not contain any spoilers*
She says she’s innocent. But everyone lies…
It was Emma’s first summer away from home. She made friends. She played games. She learned how to lie.
But then three of her friends went into the woods and never returned…
Now, fifteen years later, Emma has been asked to go back to the newly re-opened Camp Nightingale. She likes to think she’s laying old ghosts to rest but really she’s returning to the scene of a crime…
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I enjoyed the lakeside camp setting. I think this is where Riley Sager shines. It’s probably the reason he’s become quite a popular author recently. He just knows how to pick out a good setting and give it this eerie atmosphere. A lot of focus was placed on the lake. Descriptions of the lake itself and how it feels to the characters. It was almost like the lake itself was a character.
The descriptions were vivid, dark and ominous. I like that the author has a very specific word-choice that automatically makes things feel creepy. An example of this: “Because the lake’s been lowered by drought, the farthest-reaching branches scrape the bottoms of the canoes, sounding like fingernails trying to scratch their way out of a coffin.”
The dual timeline worked well. One of my favorite tropes is alternating chapters between now and many years prior, so I might be biased on this. It was fun slowly finding out more about what went down 15 years ago, since you already know some of the consequences of what happened from the present timeline.
It kept me guessing. I think the author did a good job of giving us multiple options of what might have happened, especially given that it’s pretty isolated and the cast of characters is not that big.
Some parts really made me feel something. There was one twist where I was actually shocked and some specific scenes made me feel slightly creeped out. Which is great!
Some things were very convenient. You know… when the characters know exactly where to go for no apparent reason or a character turns up at exactly the right time. This is usually one of my biggest critiques with Riley Sager’s books.
There were some weird things that took me out of the story. Maybe this is just me, but the characters made some choices and there was some dialogue that just felt a bit off. Multiple times while I was reading I had to take a second to try and make sense of what was happening. Asking myself something like “why would this character do/say this?”.
It had a bit of a stereotypical villain monologue. This doesn’t always bother me. For some reason it was really noticeable for me in this book. It honestly felt kind of silly.
The ending was a bit underwhelming. It’s one of those instances where you come up with a theory on what’s happening and by the end you like your theory better than what actually happened. It wasn’t necessarily bad, and part of it did surprise me. I just wasn’t wowed.
This book similar to Riley Sager’s other books in the way that it has a great setting and atmosphere, but has some convenient or unrealistic things happen. It’s my least favorite of his so far, though still a pretty fun read over all.
I would recommend this to:
I’d say I would recommend this if you’re interested in the camp setting and really value a great atmosphere in your mystery/thriller books. If you can overlook a few plot-holes and are mostly reading it to be entertained.
Have you read this book?
If so, how do you feel about it?
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Thanks for reading and I hope you have a wonderful day!