Second Life – S.J.Watson


To be published 12 February 2015

The sensational new psychological thriller from the bestselling author of Before I Go To Sleep . . .

She loves her husband. She’s obsessed by a stranger.

She’s a devoted mother. She’s prepared to lose everything.

She knows what she’s doing. She’s out of control.

She’s innocent. She’s guilty as sin.

She’s living two lives. She might lose both . . .

My thoughts

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for my review copy of the book.

‘Before I Go To Sleep’ was a massive success for S.J. Watson and this is the follow up.

This is a story of a woman, who is trying to deal with the murder of her sister and find some sort of peace. Julia is a very middle class woman with a past, living in London with her adopted son and married to a surgeon called Hugh. She becomes obsessed with finding the identity of her sister’s killer, which leads her to sex encounter websites, or whatever you call them. She flirts with men online and meets one of them, in her search for the truth. Julia meets Lukas and her nice safe life starts to unravel.

This has illicit sex, murder, hidden secrets and a hunt for a killer. It should have been an exciting, pacey, sexy psychological thriller. Unfortunately it wasn’t. It felt very clichéd at times and it never really sparked my imagination. I found myself struggling to like Julia. There wasn’t much to like about her. Julia was just painfully self absorbed, incredibly naive and just plain inconsistent. No adult just trusts people the way she does, especially people they met online. Sometimes it doesn’t matter, if you don’t quite like the main character. In this case, it mattered terribly. I suppose we are meant to see Julia self destruct and empathize with her. Julia goes from looking down her nose at her sister’s sexual exploits to embracing them, in the blink of an eye. It just didn’t seem credible. The online sex chat was rather tame and didn’t redeem the book in any way.

The second half of the book was slightly more engaging than the first. Although not much. However my main feeling at the end of the book is major disappointment and sadness. It could have been so much better. It should have been so much better.


About Northern Crime

Reviewer with a mind of her own. This is a collection of book reviews, which started in 2014. Mostly crime and odd other genres thrown in. Some I loved. Some I loathed. You get the picture.
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6 Responses to Second Life – S.J.Watson

  1. crimeworm says:

    Great review Christine – I think Tracey had the same opinion, namely that the second half was better. I’d actually assumed that SJ Watson was a woman; he’s not! I really don’t know if I fancy this much but I’ll give it a bash!

    • Christine says:

      I will be interested to hear what you think, Linda. It kind of picks up second half, but it is still not brilliant. If this was a new author, I would have given up at around 40%.

  2. FictionFan says:

    Sorry to hear this was a disappointment – especially since it will be rising to the top of my TBR too soon. Ah, well – they say the second book is always the hardest…

    • Christine says:

      You might like it, Fiction Fan. (What’s your real name?) I wonder if you will. I wonder if anyone will.

      It must be hard to produce a second novel, when your first was really loved. The pressure must be awful.

  3. I’m not sure if I’ll finish this. I tend to put books down if I’m not enjoying them so the fact that it doesn’t pick up until the second half… And you’re not the first to say it. It must have been a real strain to write this second novel after the first took off so hugely.

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