Author: Megan Goldin
Published by: St. Martin's Press on Aug. 9, 2022
Source: St. Martin's Press
Book Rating: 9/10
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 now lives in her apartment and forces her out in the cold. She reaches for her phone to call for help, only to discover it’s missing, and in its place is a bloodstained knife. That’s when she sees that her hands are covered in black pen, scribbled messages like graffiti on her skin: STAY AWAKE.
Two years ago, Liv was living with her best friend, dating a new man, and 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, the same 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 as she tries to piece together the fragments of her life. But there’s someone who does know exactly what she did, and they’ll do anything to make her forget―permanently.
In the vein of SJ Watson’s Before I Go to Sleep and Christopher Nolan’s cult classic Memento, Megan Goldin’s Stay Awake is an electrifying novel that plays with memory and murder.
Tight, sinister, and gripping!
Stay Awake is a propulsive, intense mystery that introduces us to Liv Reese, a disoriented, troubled young woman who, after waking in the back of a cab with a pocket full of cash, a bloodied knife, arms covered in messages to not fall asleep, and no idea how she got there, finds herself visiting old jaunts and doing whatever she can to try and remember and piece together the last two years of her life since the day her life was violently turned upside down and her memories all but disappeared.
The writing is taut and brisk. The characters are resourceful, confused, and persistent. And the plot told using a mixture of flashbacks and alternating POVs unravels quickly into an intricate, action-packed tale full of twists, turns, secrets, surprises, questionable personalities, duplicitous motivations, manipulative actions, parasitic relationships, violence, and ruthless murder.
Overall, Stay Awake is an unpredictable, chilling, entertaining tale by Goldin that was a little nutty in all the best ways while also being engaging, engrossing and impossible to put down.
This novel is available now.
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Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for providing me with a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review.