Monday, September 28, 2015

SECOND LIFE by S.J. Watson

                                                          Following on the heels of his mega selling debut thriller Before I Go To Sleep London based author S. J. Watson delivers another psychological tale that keeps us awake turning pages.  It’s a complex story that keeps us guessing as we meet a woman who ostensibly loves her husband yet is obsessed by a stranger.

Julia Wilding, our narrator, is a former art photographer and a recovering alcoholic.  One of her photographs, a picture of a nude man called Marcus, has received notice and is in fact on display in an upscale London gallery.  She no longer captures such images but is happy to make family portraits.  Her life now is different - she enjoys a comfortable existence in London, is married to a cardiac surgeon, and they have a son, 13-year-old Connor.  Well, not really their son, he is the offspring of her younger sister, Kate, who became pregnant at 16.  She was not able to care for a child so Hugh and Julia took the baby in and cared for him, have loved him as their own.

The serenity of the family’s days is shattered when Kate is murdered in Paris, found dead in an alley.  All they know is that she had been alone in a nearby bar, and was evidently murdered on her way home.  Remembering their childhood together and how as an older sister she had looked after Kate, thinking of how close the sisters had once been Julia becomes almost obsessed with finding Kate’s killer.  She goes to Paris where she meets Kate’s roommate, Anna, from whom she learns that Kate had spent time on the internet visiting chatrooms and having both virtual and physical sex with those she met.

      Julia convinces herself that if she goes online pretending to be Kate she may be able to
learn the identity of Kate’s killer.  It is there that she meets Lukas who may or may not have known her sister.  Julia soon becomes involved with him and eventually life begins a dangerous downward spiral.

It takes a while before a shocking conclusion is reached, but once again Watson offers a dark, disturbing tale.

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