‘Second Life’ is S.J. Watson’s second book. His first novel – ‘Before I Go to Sleep’ was so brilliant that it was always going to be difficult for his second to reach the same standard. While this book is OK and very well written, it fell well short of the first book.
Julia has a settled and slightly boring life. She is married to a surgeon and they have an adopted 14 year old son – Connor (Julia’s sister Kate had Connor when she was 16 but couldn’t look after him). When Kate is murdered, a part of Julia can’t help feeling some relief as Kate had started trying to reclaim Connor.
Feeling guilty about her feelings for Kate and feeling that the police aren’t adequately investigating her death, Julia decides to take things into her own hands.
With the help of Kate’s best friend Anna, Julia follows her sister to online dating sites trying to find out what she was doing and who she was meeting. Pretty soon Julia finds herself in a situation over which she has no control. Even though she knows she is risking her life and her family, she finds herself unable to step away and just gets more and more deeply involved.
Meanwhile, we gradually find out more about Julia’s and Kate’s childhood and the life Julia led in her 20s and 30s before she married Hugh.
I found the first half of the book very difficult to read and almost gave up several times. Julia was not very likeable and did some really stupid things and I just couldn’t see where the story was going.
It wasn’t until the last quarter of the book that things really started to accelerate, with some excellent plot twists that had me on the edge of my seat.
Then just when the book was heading to a really dramatic conclusion, It simply ended and I found myself turning the page looking for the next chapter.
I was disappointed with this book. The plot idea was good, but it just didn’t seem to work. Maybe if Julia had been a bit less stupid or more likeable or less time had been spend in the build-up, the book may have worked better.
I still think that S.J. Watson is an excellent writer and I will definitely read his next novel.
Book Published 2015