Second Life – SJ Watson

This is the second novel from SJ Watson following on from the success of Before I Go to Sleep and like all second novels this is going to come in for some close scrutiny.

Julia discovers that her sister, Kate has been killed in Paris. Julia is in London with her husband Hugh and her son Connor.

Julia is in fact Connor’s aunt and whilst she is devastated about losing her, she is relieved as custody over Connor was beginning to start to affect them all before Kate’s death.

Julia cannot understand why her sister would have been murdered? The only way for her to come to terms with her grief is to do something to help find the killer.

Julia steps into Kate’s world. A world which has been full of online activity, where meeting men was a frequent occurrence to living out fantasies without anyone getting hurt. What if one of Kate’s fantasies turned into a nasty reality?

“There’s a point when an online dalliance becomes dangerous, but who can really say when it is?”

Struggling to keep two lives going, Julia stumbles across something.

Nothing more can be said without giving away plot twists and turns.

It is a book which keeps you reading, the writing is superb and Watson does a very good job of inhabiting a woman’s mind. Some say that perhaps Julia was not as likeable as she could have been. But I think that is the point of her. She had already has her second life with Hugh, as we learn throughout the book as she is not perhaps as perfect as we are initially given to first think.

I wanted to watch through my hands at certain points as this life slowly starts to fall apart. She is very much dealing with her own demons and is trying to find a path that is right, and whilst some may criticise the decisions she makes in the book (remembering they are at the mercy of the writer) she does them because those are the choices available to her. Who knows what any of us would have done in that position? A position I would never want to be in.

Whilst it did not have the thrill of Before I Go to Sleep it had something different, I cannot put my finger just what that something is. It was a story and a plotline that was very much of the twenty-first century and it fulfills the thriller category nicely.

As it is a second novel then it is always going to be much maligned. Ignore the critics, read it for yourself and see what you think.

I just hope we don’t have to wait so long for the next book.

Thank you to netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy.

The title intrigued me – second life. Was it an ironic dig at this being SJ Watson’s second novel? Was it something to do with Julia and her second life she was intent on destroying? Is it the Second Life that everyone lives ‘online’? 

Second Life is out now in Hardback and ebook.



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