Review published on April 27, 2017.
Alice Feeney’s debut novel, Sometimes I Lie, has received significant attention as one of this year’s big psychological thrillers. There is a tendency now for all new psychological thrillers to be branded ‘must-read’ or ‘the next The Girl on the Train’, but I was drawn to this book by the simple but compelling blurb: ‘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 any more; 3. Sometimes I lie.’ I’ve read a few narratives in which the main protagonist is in a coma and I’m always intrigued to see how the author will handle this potentially limiting technique, and all the more so in the wider remit of Feeney’s novel. On the whole, I wasn’t disappointed. Feeney is clearly a very talented and natural writer and she delivers the story well, alternating between chapters in the present day, which focus on Amber as she is stuck in her coma, chapters in the recent past, chronicling the events that led up to Amber’s incident, and chapters written in a diary form relating a history of two friends. The succinct but revelatory chapters are the perfect vehicle for this jigsaw of a novel, although the present-day chapters are naturally a little more constrained than the other two timelines. Together though, the three timelines are a great foil for unravelling the story and the various twists and turns. I don’t know whether it’s because I’ve read a lot of psychological thrillers, but I was able to divine quite early on a couple of the major twists, although Feeney weaves such a serpentine tale that it’s impossible to guess them all and as such the interest doesn’t wane. And there are some really hard-hitting and unexpected moments that really catch the reader out along the way. I completely understand why this book has received the attention it has and, for me, it was a strong read that introduced an interesting new writer.
Jade Craddock 4/4
Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney
HQ 9780008225353 pbk Mar 2017
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