The Blurb On The Back:
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.
The Review (Cut For Spoilers):
Amber Reynolds is a presenter on the popular radio show Coffee Morning and is married to Paul, a writer whose first book was a massive success but who has been suffering from writer’s block ever since. On Boxing Day 2016, she finds herself in a hospital bed – comatose and unable to communicate with Paul or her sister Claire but nevertheless semi-aware of her surroundings. Something happened to Amber on Christmas Day, something that she can’t remember. But the longer she stays there, the more her memories start to come back and she realises that a chain of events were set off a week before, events that put her life at risk …
Alice Feeney’s debut psychological thriller has a strong premise that grabbed my attention for the first third but then the plot jumps the shark so many times that it really spoilt my enjoyment, not least because while Amber is an admitted liar, some of the plot twists rely on her holding back critical information and the supposedly open ending makes no sense in the context of earlier events. This is a shame because there’s a lot to enjoy in the early part of the book – Amber’s relationship with Paul and especially Claire (which has a number of layers and is layered with danger and hidden meanings) is intriguing, as is Amber’s OCD tendencies and the way she keeps things about herself hidden and I did genuinely want to know what had happened to her on Christmas Day. However, the introduction of a stalker (who struggles to even be two-dimensional on the page, he’s that poorly characterised) exists only to add to the sense of Amber being a victim and is unpleasant to read and the diary extracts worked to slow the pace (while the twist was too easy to guess). In defence of Feeney, Amber admits to being a liar at the outset and I am not against unreliable narrators, but Amber doesn’t earn the twists and revelations that come out and that’s a big problem because it meant that I felt cheated and that’s not helped by the ridiculously overblown ending (both literally and metaphorically), which had me rolling my eyes. Ultimately, I’m not sure that I’d rush to read Feeney’s next book on the basis of this, but I wouldn’t automatically discount it either.
SOMETIMES I LIE was released in the United Kingdom on 23rd March 2017. Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the review copy of this book.