Review – Second Life by S.J. Watson

Second Life

By S.J. Watson

SummaryFrom the New York Times bestselling author of Before I Go to Sleep, a sensational new psychological thriller about a woman with a secret identity that threatens to destroy her.

How well can you really know another person? How far would you go to find the truth about someone you love?

When Julia learns that her sister has been violently murdered, she must uncover why. But Julia’s quest quickly evolves into an alluring exploration of own darkest sensual desires. Becoming involved with a dangerous stranger online, she’s losing herself . . . losing control . . . perhaps losing everything. Her search for answers will jeopardize her marriage, her family, and her life.

A tense and unrelenting novel that explores the secret lives people lead—and the dark places in which they can find themselves—Second Life is a masterwork of suspense from the acclaimed S. J. Watson.

Source: I purchased a paperback.

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Review:

Second Life was a thriller with many twists, turns, and hidden secrets. Something told me that the book wouldn’t be as good as Before I Go To Sleep, mostly because I really enjoyed that and I figured it would be hard to top it. I was right. Second Life was good, but it didn’t wow me the way Before I Go To Sleep did.

Julia was married to a doctor, Hugh, raising her sister’s son, Connor, as their own. Everyone knew about the situation. Kate, Julia’s sister started making more and more requests to have him back, but Julia and Hugh didn’t entertain the idea. In a strange and suddenly violent incident, Kate was killed and it sent Julia a bit over the edge. She didn’t forgive herself for shutting her out and she really wanted to figure out what happened. So she started talking to Kate’s roommate, Anna, and logging onto Kate’s social media dating site thing and started talking to people on her friends list.

Julia’s life spiraled out of control as she gave into desires she didn’t realize she had and began a relationship with a stranger online that she originally hoped would lead her to details about Kate’s disappearance. 

I thought the book was full of unpredictable moments and the twists were pretty good. I loved the way it ended and all of the reasons behind everyone’s motivations. 

My only real complaint about the book was that I never connected with Julia as a character so I didn’t feel her loss of control and spiraling life as much as I would’ve wanted. Because the book was essentially about her spiraling out of control, not really being able to connect to her character kind of disconnected me from the experience a little and made the book feel a little less.. believable. I think part of the problem was the way her character was simply written, but another problem was the fact that her life was already kind of hanging on by a thread. Something happened to her in her past, she was a recovering alcoholic, she was afraid Kate would essentially snatch her kid and win that court fight, and her husband was becoming distant as she started to lose her control over the urge to drink. I mean, it was kind of a house of cards just waiting for a slight breeze to knock it over. Because her life was already rigid and fragile, the breakdown was a lot less.. emotional. And when things did start getting out of control, it wasn’t just a little thing that exploded her life, it was a ton of craziness that was almost too much. Because it would’ve taken a slight breeze to knock her life out of balance, the tornado just seemed a little over the top, if that makes sense. 

Still, Second Life was enjoyable, relatively quick to read, and certainly full of great twists. I recommend it if you happen to already own it or can snag a library copy, but I wouldn’t recommend intentionally seeking this out, and especially not if you’re hoping for something as good as Before I Go To Sleep.

Star 3

 

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