On the surface, Lydia Fitzsimons has the perfect life—wife of a respected, successful judge, mother to a beloved son, mistress of a beautiful house in Dublin. That beautiful house, however, holds a secret. And when Lydia’s son, Laurence, discovers its secret, wheels are set in motion that lead to an increasingly claustrophobic and devastatingly dark climax.
I love a good murder mystery, although I’m more inclined to watch a drama or listen to a true crime pod than read a thriller. Sometimes it’s a matter of feeling: most of my reading decisions are based on emotion and sometimes I’m just not in the mood to read crime. Sometimes it’s also a matter of timing and whether I can dedicate solid hours to reading. Lying in Wait was one of my first purchases in Dublin, on the recommendation of the book sellers in The Winding Stair.
British crime dramas evoke so much more raw emotion and I got a similar sense of gritty realism (for lack of a better word) from Irish crime noir. Although Tana French is American-born, she now lives in Dublin and her detective series made me keen to read similar works. Lying in Wait departs from the normal thriller structure somewhat, revealing the victim, killer, and motive in the opening chapters. The novel then examines the way those actions ripple through so many lives in the most unexpected ways.
Lying in Wait was so easy to read. The short chapters alternated perspectives between Lydia, Karen and Laurence the characters whose lives have perhaps been most affected by Annie Doyle’s murder. Annie’s sister Karen refuses to give up on finding an answer to her disappearance. Although her life continues to take different paths, yet the unanswered questions about Annie linger and drive her search. Lydia has a disturbing history which is revealed throughout the novel and is desperate to keep her son Laurence all to herself, whatever the cost. Laurence is good natured and well-intentioned at heart but has never got over the shock of realising his father is a murderer and the ongoing struggle to keep that secret.
Although Nugent’s style was succinct leaning toward the sparse, I found each perspective had a strong narrative voice and I found myself yearning to be back with them and find out what happened (however disturbing their personalities). This really surprised me given the direct style of writing. It also served to speed up the story, even though there was often an overlap in experiences explained from different perspectives.
Lying in Wait is a taut psychological thriller, bound to keep you glued to the page with characters whose actions will send a chill up your spine.
Interested? Grab your copy here (affiliate link).