Sharon Long is here today reviewing S.J. Watson's new book, Second Life.
Second Life is the second novel by S.J. Watson. I was lucky and read an advance copy of this book which will be released in the U.S. on June 9th. Julia, a recovering alcoholic and photographer, lives in London with her husband Hugh. They are raising Connor, her sister, Kate's son because of the turmoil and instability in Kate's life. Early in the novel, Kate is found dead in a Paris alleyway. Julia's life is about to change forever as she believes the Parisian police are not doing enough to track down the killer. She goes to Paris to met with Kate's flatmate, Anna. While in Paris, Anna gives her a box of papers and keepsakes of Kate's. When Julia opens the box back home in London, she comes across a piece of paper with a website and a password. Julia calls Anna to ask her about the website which turns out to be an internet dating/chatting website. Anna reveals Kate and herself would go on the website to chat with men and sometimes Kate would meet them in person.
Julia decides to investigate on her own by creating an account under a false name and signing up on the website. She immediately meets Lucas and begins chatting with him on a routine basis. Soon Lucas requests to met her in person and Julia goes thinking this is her way of possibly tracking down Kate's killer. Julia is quickly draw into an affair with Lucas, meeting him every week and putting her relationship with her husband and son in jeopardy. The more Julia sees Lucas the more she is becoming suspicious as he appears to know far more about her than Julia has told him. Throughout the book, we find out about Julia's past in Berlin and the photograph which made her famous of her past boyfriend, Marcus.
There are some twists and turns in this book about second changes. Several the reader does not see coming or at least I didn't. The story is also about the world of internet dating and the lies people tell. In addition, what happens when your online world becomes a part of your everyday life.
I really enjoyed his first novel, Before I Go To Sleep and wondered could S.J. live up to such a remarkable debut novel. Personally I think he succeeded and even went beyond as I loved Second Life. The book is well written, the plot fast paced and the last 20 pages move to a dramatic climax. The author has given us another strong yet flawed female character in Julia. Again I am amazed at the ability of S.J. to understand and reveal such female emotions in his writing.
I am not the only one who believes S.J. Watson has another hit on his hands. Second Life was released in the UK in February and debuted as #5 on the UK Sunday Times after only three days. Also per his website, he is set to publish 2 more novels in 2017 and 2019. I personally cannot wait!