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The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager
Horror

The Last Time I Lied

Repeat author

Riley Sager is back at Book of the Month – other BOTMs include Final Girls and Home Before Dark and Lock Every Door and Survive the Night and The House Across the Lake and The Only One Left.

by Riley Sager

Excellent choice

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Quick take

A summer camp shuts down when four girls go missing. 15 years later, we find out the chilling reason behind their disappearance.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_NonLinear

    Nonlinear timeline

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Scary

    Scary

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Puzzle

    Puzzle

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Creepy

    Creepy

Synopsis

Two Truths and a Lie. The girls played it all the time in their tiny cabin at Camp Nightingale. Vivian, Natalie, Allison, and first-time camper Emma Davis, the youngest of the group. The games ended when Emma sleepily watched the others sneak out of the cabin in the dead of night. The last she—or 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 New York art scene, Emma turns her past into paintings—massive canvases filled with dark leaves and gnarled branches that cover ghostly shapes in white dresses. The paintings catch the attention of Francesca Harris-White, the socialite and wealthy owner of Camp Nightingale. When Francesca implores her to return to the newly reopened camp as a painting instructor, Emma sees an opportunity to try to find out what really happened to her friends.

Yet it's immediately clear that all is not right at Camp Nightingale. Already haunted by memories from 15 years ago, Emma discovers a security camera pointed directly at her cabin, mounting mistrust from Francesca and, most disturbing of all, cryptic clues Vivian left behind about the camp's twisted origins. As she digs deeper, Emma finds herself sorting through lies from the past while facing threats from both man and nature in the present.

And the closer she gets to the truth about Camp Nightingale, the more she realizes it may come at a deadly price.

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Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of The Last Time I Lied.
The Last Time I Lied

This is how it begins.

You wake to sunlight whispering through the trees just outside the window. It’s a faint light, weak and gray at the edges. Dawn still shedding the skin of night. Yet it’s bright enough to make you roll over and face the wall, the mattress creaking beneath you. Within that roll is a moment of disorientation, a split second when you don’t know where you are. It happens sometimes after a deep, dreamless slumber. A temporary amnesia. 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.

You close your eyes and try to drop back into sleep, doing your best to ignore the nature noise rising from outside. It’s a jarring, discordant sound—creatures of the night clashing with those of the day. You catch the drumroll of insects, the chirp of birds, a solitary loon letting out one last ghostly call that skates across the lake.

The racket of the outdoors temporarily masks the silence inside. But then a woodpecker’s rat-a-tat-tat subsides into echo, and in that brief lull, you realize how quiet it is. How the only sound you’re aware of is the steady rise and fall of your own sleep-heavy breathing.

Your eyes dart open again as you strain to hear something else—anything else—coming from inside the cabin.

There’s nothing.

The woodpecker starts up again, and its rapid jackhammering tugs you away from the wall to face the rest of the cabin. It’s a small space. Just enough room for two sets of bunk beds, a night table topped by a lantern, and four hickory trunks near the door for storage. Certainly tiny enough for you to be able to tell when it’s empty, which it is.

You fling your gaze to the bunks across from you. The top one is neatly made, the sheets pulled taut. The bottom is the opposite—a tangle of blankets, something lumpy buried beneath them.

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Why I love it

When The Last Time I Lied arrived on my desk this past May—my first reading assignment as the newest member of the BOTM editorial team—I knew it was a book I’d stay up all night to finish. As someone who’s never attended your classic sleepaway camp, I find stories about this iconic summer pastime particularly absorbing. Think Lindsay Lohan in The Parent Trap, or the adorable preteen runaways in Moonrise Kingdom. There’s drama, raging hormones, but by summer’s end, enemies become friends and campers leave feeling pleasantly nostalgic … right?

Well, not so much at Camp Nightingale, where Emma Davis witnesses the disappearance of her three beautiful-but-damned cabinmates. Fifteen years later, haunted by their presumed deaths, she returns to the camp to seek closure. But from the start, Emma realizes she is being watched, and that beneath the camp’s summer-fun veneer lie disturbing secrets about its origins … and about what happened to her friends.

What I love about this thriller is that everyone is suspect. Is the handsome son of the camp’s owner a possible love interest or killer? Is his mother’s desire to reopen the camp admirable or sinister? And what about Emma—can we even trust her? Racing through this book is like arriving at the last crossword clue and realizing your letters are wrong and you’ll have to start from scratch. It’s unpredictable, addictive, and contains all the ingredients of a perfect camp drama: female friendships, lifelong memories, and one absolutely terrifying crime.

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Member ratings (33,706)

  • Marisa S.

    East meadow, NY

    Could not put this book down, it had the right amount of suspense that kept me hooked the whole read. The twists and turns at the end left me questioning everyone and completely speechless. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Doralynn S.

    Brodhead , WI

    The author did an excellent job of making me question everyone, including not so obvious suspects. And just when you thought it was all tied up? Bam! Another twist! A really great book!! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️????

  • Alexandria A.

    Lakewood, OH

    Wow I was hooked on this one. I had to know what happened from the beginning and there were so many twists and turns as soon as I thought I knew what happened it took another turn ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Sabryna S.

    jonesboro, GA

    First and foremost I loved Theo and Em’s chemistry. This really brought back memories of when I played ‘truth or dare’ & ‘two truths and a lie’. I was always truth cause some teenage girls are mean.

  • Amy C.

    Oklahoma City, OK

    Not completely “scaredy cat emoji” but def chilling. Chilling enough to have to put down before bed and look at happy things on instagram. Being the 2nd book I’ve read of hers, I’m a fan Riley Sager.

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