“Stay Awake” by Megan Goldin #BookReview

Georgia Kostopoulou


Ever since I read “The Escape Room”, I knew I would enjoy Megan Goldin’s books. When I read “The Night Swim” I was convinced I was right the first time. So, as soon as I saw a new book was out, I jumped right into that train! It took me a little to start, because of lack of time and know I have finished reading for more than a week and still haven’t found the time to write about it.

This was one of the most intense reads I had this year. The story is about Liv Reese, as woman that wakes up in the back of a taxi while returning home. As she’s there, she realises that she doesn’t have her purse or her phone, but thankfully, she has a lot of cash and can pay the taxi driver. When she arrives home, she decides to wake up her roommate, since she doesn’t have her keys – as said before, her purse is no ware to be seen- only to find out that a pair, unknown to her, is living in their apartment. Her cat is missing, her things are missing, her clothes, furniture, photo frames are gone. This does not look like her home anymore. As soon as the strange woman living in her house threatens to call the police, Liv realises she needs to go. As she stops on the front door steps to catch her breath and decide what to do next, she finds a bloodstained knife in her pocket. The knife is wrapped in a shirt Liv does not recognizes. But that’s not the only thing she doesn’t recognize. Her hands are full of scribbled messages and one of them says STAY AWAKE.

Two years ago, Liv was working at Cultura magazine, living with her best friend, dating a man she liked and generally having a good time and a good life. Now, she finds herself disoriented in New York, she has no idea how it is two years after the last thing she remembers. She cannot understand why she cannot find her boyfriend Marco anywhere, or why her friend Amy is not at the hospital she works. Also it seems that things at Cultura Magazine have changed. She doesn’t recognize anyone there and she’s being told she works in the London offices. Liv tries not to let people understand she has no clue what’s going on, until the police starts looking for her in relation to a murder that’s taken place. As she happens to walk outside the crime seen, she sees the same message that’s written on her skin, written across a window. It’s red, as if it’s written with blood and it says STAY AWAKE.

Now that you’ve read the story you can understand why I was instantly hooked in this book! It’s one of the best psychological thrillers I’ve read lately! It starts with Liv at present time and as the story unfolds, we go back and forth between present time and two years ago, in order to see what Liv’s life was back then and how messed up it is now. Liv suffers from a condition where she forgets everything every time she sleeps. Well not everything, but her memories stop two years ago, when she was at the magazine, answering a phone call. She has no recollection of what has happened after that time, but there are a few people that know bits and pieces and even lesser than few, that know exactly what happened. Liv has this feeling that she’s in danger, and she is, but she cannot understand why. She’s not sure if she is the offender or the victim of a crime, and that can make someone crazy.

Megan Golding, once more, delivers a riveting thriller, with loads of suspense and a bit of drama! She gives us two timelines and two points of view. I’ve already talked about the two timelines. On the two point of views, one is of course that of Liv’s, which can be a little too stressful, as she kind of passes all her emotions to the reader. She’s an unrealistic narrator and that is something one either loves or hates. The other point of view is that of detective Halliday, the first detective on the crime scene and the one that is trying to find the truth. Halliday tries to keep her mind open and not form a theory, as she goes on with the research on those involved in the crime. She is not ready to accuse the missing woman as the perpetrator, as she’s trying to see all the facts, even those that she’s missing. I would like to see Halliday in another book!

I can’t say I didn’t understand what was going on with her boyfriend. What I hadn’t guessed though was the murderer and that’s the best I can have in a thriller!

I received a complimentary ecopy from the publisher via NetGalley. The views expressed are my personal and honest opinion.

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About the author

Megan Goldin color hi resMEGAN GOLDIN worked as a correspondent for Reuters and other media outlets where she covered war, peace, international terrorism and financial meltdowns in the Middle East and Asia. She is now based in Melbourne, Australia where she raises three sons and is a foster mum to Labrador puppies learning to be guide dogs. The Escape Room was her debut novel.

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