Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Second Life by S J Watson

Hi, readers! Today I'm a stop on the TLC book tour for S J Watson's latest, Second Life.

Julia and her sister hadn't spoken for some time, and when Kate is murdered in an alley in Paris Julia is overwhelmed with guilt and sorrow. Two months after Kate's death she's still reeling, frustrated that the police have not found the killer and have seemingly no solid leads. Then Julia finds out that Kate had been using an online connections site to meet men for sex. 

Convinced the killer is hiding somewhere in the site, Julia creates her own profile intent on luring him to her. Then she meets Lukas. Their chats are a temptation that Julia finds herself increasingly drawn to. Julia allows him to meet her in person and is quickly drawn into a physical relationship. But as their affair progresses, Julia realizes that Lukas may not be the person she thought he was.

Second Life almost feels like an idea sprung from Before I Go To Sleep. There, our heroine discovers she's been having an affair. Here, our heroine is drawn into one. Sure, she's "investigating" her sister's killer but really the relationship offers her something her marriage has not. Escape.

Escape from her past. Escape from her present. And most of all, escape from herself. She's convinced Lukas didn't kill her sister and it's this conviction that in part allows her to give herself permission to enter the relationship. It's also this logic that immediately sets the reader against Julia. Not in a combative way, but in the way you would watch someone in your life make one poor decision after another.

Of course things start to go wrong fairly quickly.

Part of the tension of Second Life comes from the certainty that Julia will be caught. Her home life begins to deteriorate as she tries desperately to keep her secret. And there's still Kate's murder hanging heavy over everything.

Before I Go To Sleep really does set the bar high for a follow up and I have to say that Second Life does make for a fine second outing. As in his debut, Watson has plenty of surprises hidden within Second Life. Julia's story has the same intense suspense that Christine's does (even without the memory loss element), making it just as compelling of a read - and in spite of my note above they are two quite different plots.

Watson has mastered the art of the "page turner," readers! If you're looking for an unputdownable book this summer, Second Life fits the bill.

Rating: 4/5

To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here.

For more on S J Watson and his work, you can visit his website here. You can also like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.


Kay said...

I'm really happy to hear your take on this book. Been hearing very mixed reactions. I'll still read it though. :-)

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

Before I Go To Sleep got such rave reviews ... I'm glad to see that this new book lives up to its predecessor!

Thanks for being a part of the tour.

Unknown said...

Hi - I'm right smack dab in the middle of this one. I'd read Watson's debut, Before I Go To Sleep, and I too feel that the protagonist in this one is very similar except for she does not have a loss of memory.
@dino0726 from 
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