Second Place for Second Life

Before I start my review for SJ Watson’s follow up to Before I Go To Sleep, I want to emphasise how skilled a writer I think he is. Before I Go To Sleep was poorly adapted into film but the novel was one of the best I had read in 2015. It was suspenseful, tense and the definition of a page-turner.

Flick forward one year and I have just completed his second novel; Second Life. Rather than the mysterious atmosphere created in his debut, Watson seemed to get caught up in minor details that felt heavy and irrelevant. I felt as though I was wading through a secondary plot to find clues to the main story, which seemed to have been forgotten. I was also frustrated by the protagonist, who seemingly fell into an affair without any sort of consideration for the consequences – hey maybe I’m too much of a goody two shoes!

Second Life had an interesting subplot, though I suspect it was supposed to be the main attraction. The element of murder mystery was what kept me hooked rather than the love affair on the surface. It would have been interesting if the other characters had been more developed as I felt disconnected to her family and her friends and as a result felt little remorse to the mistakes they made.

It wasn’t a chore to read this book, but I wouldn’t recommend it to a friend. It will be a book I forget, unlike Before I Go To Sleep, which ironically is principally based around the loss of memories. Second Life won’t get a second chance from me.

Second Life: SJ Watson

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