Book Review: Second Life by SJ Watson

Second LifeWhat’s it about?

She loves her husband. She’s obsessed by a stranger.

She’s a devoted mother. She’s prepared to lose everything.

She knows what she’s doing. She’s out of control.

She’s innocent. She’s guilty as sin.

She’s living two lives. She might lose both . . .


My thoughts

It was always going to be a difficult act to follow when you have such resounding success with your first novel. From the same author as Before I Go To Sleep, Second Life is the story of Julia, her sister Kate and what happens following Kate’s murder.

Julia is a respectable on the outside female protagonist but after the death of her sister, she spirals out of control and becomes obsessed with discovering the killer’s identity; delving into the realms of online dating sites and cybersex in order to trap the killer. However, it actually felt as though Julia was actually looking for excuses to be who she really was or wanted to be and pursue this affair – in leading this Second Life! Given some of the subject matter there are some racy scenes which some readers might find uncomfortable.

As the plot progresses Julia makes some rather unbelievable choices which didn’t ring true with me and parts were reminiscent of Louise Doughty’s Apple Tree Yard although that was a much better read. The plot progresses incredibly slowly until about 75% of the way through when it begins to pick up pace and it becomes the psychological thriller it was promised to be. However, by then I’d kind of lost interest in who’d done it and why.

This book has gained mixed responses and I do wonder if had this novel had come first would it have received better reviews but I was still glad to give it a go and find out for myself.

That said, I’m still looking forward to hearing the SJ Watson speak on his promotional tour at Booka Bookshop in Oswestry on March 4th.

Get the book Hardback | Kindle

Connect with the author SJ Watson via

Twitter | Website


  1. 2nd March 2015 / 9:51 am

    Before I Go To Sleep is a really hard act to follow – I loved it. The premise of this sounds good though.

    • 3rd March 2015 / 6:29 pm

      It’s a good second book and is worth a read!

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