Stay Awake is gripping, tense, enjoyable and interesting Amnesia Thriller novel. I sure recommend this if you’re fan of author and don’t mind pace in first half.
Stay Awake by Megan Goldin
Publication Date : August 9th 2022
Publisher : St. Martin’s Press
Read Date : August 10th 2022
Genre : Thriller
Tea for this book : Magnolia + Little of Black Tea
Disclaimer – Many thanks to Publisher for eARC via NetGalley.
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Other books I read by the same Author –
Liv Reese wakes up in the back of a taxi with no idea where she is or how she got there. When she’s dropped off at the door of her brownstone, a stranger answers―a stranger who now lives in her apartment and forces her out in the cold. She reaches for her phone to call for help, only to discover it’s missing, and in its place is a bloodstained knife. That’s when she sees that her hands are covered in black pen, scribbled messages like graffiti on her skin: STAY AWAKE.
Two years ago, Liv was living with her best friend, dating a new man, and thriving as a successful writer for a trendy magazine. Now, she’s lost and disoriented in a New York City that looks nothing like what she remembers. Catching a glimpse of the local news, she’s horrified to see reports of a crime scene where the victim’s blood has been used to scrawl a message across a window, the same message that’s inked on her hands. What did she do last night? And why does she remember nothing from the past two years? Liv finds herself on the run for a crime she doesn’t remember committing as she tries to piece together the fragments of her life. But there’s someone who does know exactly what she did, and they’ll do anything to make her forget―permanently.
In the vein of SJ Watson’s Before I Go to Sleep and Christopher Nolan’s cult classic Memento, Megan Goldin’s Stay Awake is an electrifying novel that plays with memory and murder.
Stay Awake is gripping and tense thriller that revolves around Liv Reese who wakes up in cab with no memory of how she got in cab, someone else is living in her apartment, she finds a bloodied knife in her pocket with letters scribbled Stay Awake in her hand. Last she remembered, it was summer she was working in office and got a call and now it’s winter, 2 yrs later. And then she sees the news of man murdered with a message on the window “Stay Awake” she has a feeling she is connected with the murder.
Plot is definitely interesting and made me curious to know what are those messages scribbled on her hand, why Liv has to Stay Awake, why she forgets everything if she falls asleep, what connection she has with murder, what she is running from, and what happened two years ago that caused amnesia.
I loved the concept of repetitive amnesia. I couldn’t imagine how it must feel to forget everything that happened in life as soon as we fall asleep and wake up with no recollection of what happened or what you did in last few hrs or months or years.
Chapters alternate between Liv’s life present confusing memory and life and murder investigation. Intermittent past chapters tell about Liv’s life two years ago at the magazine and with her boyfriend Marco and best friend and roommate, Amy. Present and past chapters of Liv’s life are told in first person narrative from Liv’s perspective while investigation chapters are third person narrative from Detective Halliday and her partner Detective Lavelle’s perspective.
First half of the story is slow but it sure creates tension and suspense. It gives detailed view on Liv’s life, both past and present, and helps in knowing characters both detectives and people in Liv’s life more.
It was easy to root for Liv. Somehow we know she is the innocent party here but not sure how she gets herself tangled in the murder. Her emotions are palpable. It was sad to see how her normal life turned into big confusing mess. I wanted to hug her and help her to make sense of everything. I could understand her distrust of authority or anyone in general and it made sense after knowing her full story.
I liked detectives, how they worked, and their conversations and discussions over the case. It made the story more interesting and wish to have more books involving both detectives, especially Detective Halliday.
Second half picks up the speed with more revelations. It was interesting to know the connection between the victim and Liv. I had my theory and guess and I was partially right. Right about what might have happened two years ago but my guess about who was the stalker was wrong but I was also right the stalker is the murderer. If I have stuck to my reasons I might have guessed the identity of the murderer as soon as the second half started but author managed to mislead me and forget that reason entirely and go on with the story. So that is plus point and I have to say it made me kick myself for not figuring out the culprit earlier when it was revealed in last couple of chapters.
There is theme of betrayal. The actions just before the end is thrilling with confession and scuffle but yes not really surprising or unexpected. End is satisfying and I liked how things are wrapped up with no loose ends.
Why 4 Stars-
At some points story is dragging, also repetitive because of Liv’s amnesia which made it slow. I also kept thinking how Halliday didn’t recall she talked to Liv when she was asking around with her photo. I agree she was looking for person with long hair but after going through old case file, I think with her ex-military background, she should have recalled her brief conversation with Liv later. I also find it hard to believe there was no one in Liv’s life who cared for her, who would help her with her amnesia. I get her hesitation and distrust of the police but what she had against hospitals and doctors who could help her!
Overall, Stay Awake is atmospheric, gripping, and enjoyable crime thriller with interesting concept of rare amnesia. I sure recommend this if you don’t mind pace but I loved previous books by the author more.
I recommend this if you like,
concept of amnesia
theme of betrayal
Gripping and tense storyline
Alternative past and present chapters
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