The first-person narrator of Alice Feeney’s gripping psychological thriller is the central character, Amber Reynolds, who opens by telling us three things about herself: she’s in a coma, her husband doesn’t lover her anymore, and sometimes, she lies.
Her account of the story is immediately dubious and we’re kept on the edge of our seat deciphering what is real and what isn’t over three time-periods of her life. In the present, Amber lies in a coma after a horrific single-car accident. Unable to respond, she lays in her hospital bed listening to the voices and movement around her which gets increasingly more ominous.
In the past, we get to know Amber as a 9-year-old child, circa 1991, and as an adult in the time leading up to her accident, working on the Coffee Morning radio show where she manipulates the demise of her more popular co-host’s career.
The divine Stephanie Racine reads Sometimes I Lie with great skill, capturing the innocence of youth, the desperation and guilt of Amber’s workplace backstabbing, and the terror of a stalked woman trapped in an unmoving body as her memories of what happened slowly filter back. Racine introduces the listener to very distinct characters and, as we learn alongside Amber that her accident may have been a deliberate attempt at her life, Racine subtly adds a darkening air of intent to innocent conversations and events.
Feeney has written a gripping thriller. Her characters and most situations are identifiable and, using an unreliable storyteller is a great device for rocking the boat even more than the unfolding events themselves. Compounding the tension after Amber’s confession that she lies, is the early reveal of her stalker. By not leaving the reveal until the final scenes, we’re drawn into Amber’s present-day predicament further, while remaining ever-uncertain if the story will play out towards the most predictable conclusion.
Running just under 9 hours, Sometimes I Lie was released in March 2017 by HarperCollins Publishers Limited and is available through audible.
- Visit Alice Feeney’s website
This review was first published on 24 April 2017 for Glam Adelaide.