Second Life is the second novel from S.J. Watson with his first being the bestselling novel Before I Go to Sleep (my review) which was a favorite of mine. Once again he delivers a psychological thriller; this time about a happily married woman leading a second life – a much more dangerous life. It makes a person question the people around them. How well do you really know your mate, your neighbor, or even your best friend. I love books like this that have me trying to dissect the story as I go along only to be hit with a twist at the end that leaves me shocked. There are things to like in Second Life and things to like not so much but ultimately it will keep you turning the pages to discover just how this twisted story will end. I listened to the audiobook of Second Life which is narrated by Susan Lyons and she does a fantastic job of adding the thrill to this psychological thriller!
When Julia learns that her sister Kate has been murdered it sets her off on a very dangerous path. Julia is devastated by her sister’s death but at the same time she feels relief. Julia and her husband adopted her sister’s boy Connor when he was very young but lately her sister had been talking of trying to regain custody. Still she didn’t want her sister dead and since she doesn’t feel the police are doing enough to find her sister’s killer she takes it upon herself to do a little investigating.
Julia’s investigation leads into her into the world of online dating. She learns from Kate’s friend Anna that Kate had been meeting men she met online and Julia feels sure that it is one of these men that has murdered her. So despite some misgivings Julia at first pretends to be her sister but then sets up her own profile and does indeed meet a man she finds very suspicious. Yet as she talks with this man she finds herself being drawn more and more into this cybersex online world. How far will she take this new obsession of hers? Will she allow it to destroy her family and her life?
I’ve seen some mixed reviews for Second Life but I really enjoyed it. It’s not the same as Before I Go to Sleep and I think if you go into it that way you really enjoy it. I found Julia to be a very selfish person but we learn that she has an addictive personality early on and I wonder if that’s not why she focuses so solely on herself. The novel also really highlights the dangers of the internet. A person really has no idea who they are talking to when they’re online and it’s scary. It also highlights the dangers of getting into things like cybersex or sharing personal information and all of a sudden finding your online life infringing on your real one. I loved the twist at the end and if I had one complaint it would only be that I wasn’t too fond of the very last sentence that left me looking for a bit more. Highly recommended!