Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. Watson is a stunningly creepy novel that successfully creates a sense of growing dread. It is not really a traditional mystery, more like a slow-starting but absorbing thriller.
Every morning Christine awakens not knowing who the man in her bed is and thinking she should be younger, sometimes twenty years younger, sometimes a lot younger than that. Every morning her husband Ben has to explain who he is, show her pictures of their life together, and explain that years before she had a traumatic brain injury that causes her to forget everything when she goes to sleep at night.
A neurologist calls her each day to explain he has been treating her without her husband’s knowledge and reminds her to take out her journal and read it. As she reads and keeps her journal every day, she begins to remember a few things by herself, and she finds her husband is telling lies. She remembers having a baby, but he says they never had children. She has specific memories of a good friend who he claims moved away to Australia, but she finds out she didn’t. Her husband always has good explanations for these lies, but more and more things begin to disturb Christine.
Should she trust her husband or not? Is she falling back into the paranoia that has been a symptom of her illness? And how exactly was she injured in the first place?