She thought she was free of the past. She was wrong. Six years ago Isla was the only victim to walk free from Carl Jeffery’s vicious murder spree. Now, Isla vows to live her life to the fullest and from the outside it appears perfect. Determined to finish her book Isla plans her final trip to Sweden, but after returning from Canada and meeting a man she never thought she would, her life begins to derail. Suddenly Isla is plagued by memories of the man who tried to murder her, and the threat that he could be back causes her to question everything, and everyone around her.
Her Last Lie is an impressive debut from Amanda Brittany. It is well-written and clever, with a modern slant. It has an interesting structure and makes good use of social media. The story does jump around a bit but it totally works.
Isla has moved on from her previous trauma and now lives with new boyfriend, Jack. She seems to be happy and works as a freelance travel writer and photographer, regularly updating her social media with her latest activities.
“Sometimes she would grab her camera, jump into her car, and head to the nearby fields to snap photographs of the countryside: birds and butterflies, wild flowers, sheep, horses, whatever she could find – pictures she would often put on Facebook or Instagram.”
There are a couple of shocking points in the story where the plot takes off in surprising and unexpected directions and really drive the story forward. My jaw genuinely dropped both times! The different chapters and flashbacks give great insight into the story and help you start to piece together what is going on.
Isla finds her emotions spiralling out of control as a series of disturbing events occur – but who is really responsible? As her friends and family start to become concerned, Isla fears her sanity is unravelling.
“If she could only find a picture with both of them in it, Jack would have to believe her, and it would prove she wasn’t losing her mind.”
I did find that I needed to suspend my disbelief a little for the set up – which I was happy to do – as I found one or two of the characters’ lack of curiosity about some apparently key things difficult to believe, and I am very curious about how Isla was able to afford trips to Canada and Sweden to write a book she hadn’t even had commissioned yet!
The story is gripping throughout though and the second half of the book is even better than the first. The pace really ramps up to emotional rollercoaster proportions! The descriptions of snowy Sweden and the Northern Lights were breathtaking and the brutal landscape helped the book build to its stark and chilling climax.
“Her brain finally began to close down, and she was in a place between asleep and awake, when there was a tapping sound on her window. Her eyes shot open, her body drenched with sweat as her mind tumbled back to that terrible night.”
Throughout the book I wasn’t quite sure whether or not I liked Isla but she was certainly a great character: ballsy but shattered and vulnerable; struggling but determined. I really liked best friend Roxanne also, but all the characters were well put together.
I was quite chuffed with myself that I worked out part of the conclusion – but certainly not all of it and I was completely wrong about one key bit!
This is a brilliant, compelling and thrilling read, I highly recommend it and I can’t wait to see what Amanda Brittany does next.
Thank you to NetGalley and HQ Digital for the ARC of Her Last Lie.