Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Stay Awake by Megan Goldin

About the Book:

A murder she doesn’t remember committing. A killer she doesn’t remember meeting. Megan Goldin’s Stay Awake is an electrifying novel that proves memory can be deadly.

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 claims to live in her apartment. She reaches for her phone to call for help, only to discover it’s missing. In its place is a bloodstained knife. Her hands are covered in scribbled messages, like graffiti on her skin: STAY AWAKE.

Two years ago, Liv was 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, similar to the 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. But there’s someone who does know exactly what she did, and they’ll do anything to make her forget—permanently.

A complex thriller that unfolds at a breakneck speed, Stay Awake will keep you up all night.

My Review:

This novel felt a bit like a reworking of the familiar theme of living a day over and over again. In this case, every day is new for Liv as she forgets the previous one and the two years prior. The back story as to what happened to her is revealed in a dual time manner as the current investigation progressed. I did feel that produced a choppy plot development. The narrative contains multiple points of view, something I found a bit distracting.

I also felt Liv's experiences where repetitive. I never understood why, when she was told or realized she lost her immediate memory every night, why she did not do an online search and write down what she learned about herself and the others she had known. She could have gone to a public library and done so. Because of that, Liv's repeated and frustrated experiences lost interest for me.

Then there was the ultimate villain. I felt the identity was not well foreshadowed in that we did not know information about this person that would have helped readers at least suspect the individual. There was a nice bit of suspense at the end but only because the villain did not kill Liv right off, something that did not make sense to me.

Goldin does well with unusual plots and I have liked her previous novels. This one just did not seem up to par with a choppy plot progression, lack of character development for Liv, and a less than realistic ending.

My rating: 3/5 stars.


About the Author:

MEGAN GOLDIN, author of THE ESCAPE ROOM and THE NIGHT SWIM, worked as a correspondent for Reuters and other media outlets where she covered war, peace, international terrorism and financial meltdowns in the Middle East and Asia. She is now based in Melbourne, Australia where she raises three sons and is a foster mum to Labrador puppies learning to be guide dogs.

St. Martin's Press, 352 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

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