From the international bestselling author of Unraveling Oliver, an “unputdownable psychological thriller with an ending that lingers long after turning the final page” (The Irish Times) about a Dublin family whose dark secrets and twisted relationships are suddenly revealed.
My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it.
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.
For fans of Ruth Ware and Gillian Flynn, this novel is a “seductively sinister story. The twists come together in a superbly scary denouement, which delivers a final sting in the tail. Brilliantly macabre” (Sunday Mirror).
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Lying in Wait
My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it. After we had overcome the initial shock, I tried to stop him speaking of her. I did not allow it unless to confirm alibis or to discuss covering up any possible evidence. It upset him too much and I thought it best to move on as if nothing had happened. Even though we did not talk about it, I couldn’t help going over the events of the night in my mind, each time wishing that some aspect, some detail, could be different, but facts are facts and we must get used to them.
It was the fourteenth of November 1980. It had all been arranged. Not her death, just the meeting to see if she was genuine, and if not, to get our money back. I walked the Strand for twenty minutes to ensure that there was nobody around, but I needn’t have worried. The beach was deserted on that particularly bitter night. When I was satisfied that I was alone, I went to the bench and waited. A cruel wind rushed in with the waves and I pulled my cashmere coat around me and turned up the collar. Andrew arrived promptly and parked not far from where I was seated, as instructed. I watched from thirty yards away. I had told him to confront her. And I wanted to see her for myself, to assess her suitability. They were supposed to get out of the car and walk past me. But they didn’t. After waiting ten minutes, I got up and walked toward the car, wondering what was taking so long. As I got closer, I could hear raised voices. And then I saw them fighting. The passenger door swung open and she tried to get out. But he pulled her back toward him. I could see his hands around her throat. I watched her struggle, mesmerized momentarily, wondering if I could be imagining things, and then I came back to myself, snapped out of my confusion, and ran to the car.
“Stop! Andrew! What are you doing?” My voice was shrill to my own ears, and her eyes swiveled toward me in shock and terror before they rolled back upward into her head.
He released her immediately, and she fell backward, gurgling. She was almost but not quite dead, so I grabbed the steering-wheel lock from the footwell at her feet and smashed it down onto her skull, just once. There was blood and a little twitching and then absolute stillness.
I’m not sure why I did that. Instinct?
She looked younger than her twenty-two years. I could see past the lurid makeup, the dyed-black hair, almost navy. There was a jagged white scar running from a deformed top lip to the septum of her nose. I wondered that Andrew had never thought to mention that. Her jacket had been pulled off one arm during the struggle, and I saw bloodied scabs in the crook of her elbow. There was a sarcastic expression on her face, a smirk that death could not erase. I like to think I did the girl a kindness, like putting an injured bird out of its misery. She did not deserve such kindness.
Andrew has always had a short fuse, blowing up at small, insignificant things and then, almost immediately, becoming remorseful and calm. This time, however, he was hysterical, crying and screaming fit to wake the dead.
“Oh Christ! Oh Jesus!” he kept saying, as if the son of God could fix anything. “What have we done?”
“We?” I was aghast. “You killed her!”
“She laughed at me! You were right about her. She said I was an easy touch. That she’d go to the press. She was going to blackmail me. I lost my temper. But you . . . you finished it, she might have been all right . . .”
“Don’t even . . . don’t say that, you fool, you idiot!”
His face was wretched, tormented. I felt sympathy for him. I told him to pull himself together. We needed to get home before Laurence did. I ordered him to help me get the body into the trunk. Through his tears, he carried out my instructions. Infuriatingly, his golf clubs were in there, unused for the last year, taking up most of the space, but luckily the corpse was as slight and slim as I had suspected, and still flexible, so we managed to stuff her in.
“What are we going to do with her?”
“I don’t know. We have to calm down. We’ll figure it out tomorrow. We need to go home now. What do you know about her? Does she have family? Who will be looking for her?”
“I don’t know. . . . She . . . I think she might have mentioned a sister?”
“Right now nobody knows she is dead. Nobody knows she is missing. We need to keep it like that.”
When we got home to Avalon at quarter past midnight, I could see by the shadow from his window that the bedside light was on in Laurence’s bedroom. I had really wanted to be there when he got home, to hear how his evening had been. I told Andrew to pour us a brandy while I went to check on our son. He was sprawled across the bed and didn’t stir when I ruffled his hair and kissed his forehead. “Good night, Laurence,” I whispered, but he was fast asleep. I turned out his lamp, closed his bedroom door, and went to the bathroom cabinet for a Valium before I went downstairs. I needed to be calm.
Andrew was trembling all over. “Jesus, Lydia, we’re in serious trouble. Maybe we should call the police.”
I topped off his glass and drained the bottle into my own. He was in shock.
“And ruin Laurence’s life forever? Tomorrow is a new day. We’ll deal with it then, but we must remember Laurence, whatever happens. He mustn’t know anything.”
“Laurence? What has it to do with him? What about Annie? Oh God, we killed her, we murdered her. We’re going to prison.”
I was not going to prison. Who would look after Laurence? I stroked his arm in an effort to comfort him. “We will figure it out tomorrow. Nobody saw us. Nobody can connect us with the girl. She would have been too ashamed to tell anyone what she was up to. We just have to figure out where to put her body.”
“You’re sure nobody saw us?”
“There wasn’t a soul on the Strand. I walked the length of it to make sure. Go to bed, love. Things will be better tomorrow.”
He looked at me as if I were insane.
I stared him down. “I’m not the one who strangled her.”
Tears poured down his cheeks. “But maybe if you hadn’t hit her . . .”
“What? She would have died more slowly? Or been permanently brain damaged?”
“We could have said that we’d found her like that!”
“Do you want to drive back there now and dump her, call an ambulance from a pay phone, and explain what you are doing there on the Strand at one o’clock in the morning?”
He looked into the bottom of his glass.
“But what are we going to do?”
“Go to bed.”
As we ascended the stairs, I heard the whir of the washing machine. I wondered why Laurence had decided to do laundry on a Friday night. It was most unlike him. But it reminded me that my clothes and Andrew’s really needed to be washed too. We both stripped, and I set aside the pile of laundry for the morning. I washed the sand off our shoes and swept the floors we had passed over. I deposited the sand from the dustpan in the back garden, on the raised patch of lawn beyond the kitchen window. I studied the ground for a moment. I had always thought of having a flower bed planted there.
When I slipped into bed later, I put my arms around Andrew’s trembling form, and he turned to me and we made love, clawing at and clinging to each other like survivors of a terrible calamity.
Andrew had been a very good husband until just a year previously. For twenty-one years, our marriage had been solid. Daddy had been very impressed with him. On his deathbed, Daddy had said he was relieved to be leaving me in good hands. Andrew had been Daddy’s apprentice at Hyland & Goldblatt. He had taken Andrew under his wing and made him his protégé. One day, when I was about twenty-five, Daddy had telephoned me at home and told me that we were having a special guest for dinner and that I should cook something nice and get my hair done. “No lipstick,” he said. Daddy had a thing about makeup. “I can’t stand those painted trollops!” he would say about American film stars. Daddy’s views could be extreme. “You are my beautiful daughter. No point in gilding a lily.”
I was curious about this visitor and why I should dress up for him. I should have guessed, of course, that Daddy was intent on matchmaking. He needn’t have worried. Andrew adored me right away. He went to enormous lengths to charm me. He said that he would do anything for me. “I can’t stop looking at you,” he said. And indeed, his eyes followed me everywhere. He always called me his prize, his precious jewel. I loved him too. My father always knew what was best for me.
Our courtship was short and very sweet. Andrew came from a good family. His late father had been a consultant pediatrician, and though I found his mother a little contrary, she raised no objections to our relationship. After all, when Andrew married me, he would get Avalon too—a five-bedroom detached Georgian house on an acre of land in Cabinteely, South County Dublin. Andrew wanted us to get a house of our own when we got married, but Daddy put his foot down. “You’ll move in here. This is Lydia’s home. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”
So Andrew moved in with us, and Daddy gave up the master bedroom and moved to the large bedroom on the other side of the hallway. Andrew grumbled a little to me. “But, darling, don’t you see how awkward it is? I’m living with my boss!” And I admit that Daddy did order Andrew around quite a lot, but Andrew got used to it quickly. I think he knew how lucky he was.
Andrew did not mind that I did not want to host parties or socialize with other couples. He said he was quite happy to keep me to himself. He was kind and generous and considerate. He usually backed away from confrontation, so we did not have many arguments. In a heated moment, he might kick or throw inanimate objects, but I think everyone does that from time to time. And he was always terribly contrite afterward.
Andrew worked his way up through the ranks until finally all his time on the golf course paid off, and three years ago, he was appointed as a judge in the criminal courts. He was a respected member of society. People listened to him when he spoke and quoted him in the newspapers. He was widely regarded as having the voice of reason on matters legal and judicial.
But last year, Paddy Carey, his old pal, accountant and golfing partner, had left the country with our money. I thought that, at the very least, Andrew would be careful with our finances. That was the husband’s job, to be a provider and to look after the economic well-being of the household. But he had trusted Paddy Carey with everything and Paddy had fooled us all. We were left with nothing but debts and liabilities, and Andrew’s generous salary barely covered our expenditure.
Had I married badly after all? My role was to be presentable, beautiful, charming—a homemaker, a companion, a good cook, a lover, and a mother. A mother.
Andrew suggested selling some land to developers to raise capital. I was horrified at the suggestion. Nobody of our status would do such a thing. I had spent my whole life in Avalon. My father had inherited it from his father, and it was the house in which I was born. And the house in which my sister died. I was not going to compromise on selling any part of Avalon. Nor was I going to compromise on the money we needed to pay the girl.
But we had to take Laurence out of the hideously expensive Carmichael Abbey and send him to St. Martin’s instead. It broke my heart. I knew he was unhappy there. I knew he was victimized because of his class and accent, but the money simply wasn’t there. Andrew quietly sold some of the family silver to pay our debts, and we kept the wolf at bay. He could not risk being declared bankrupt, as he would have been forced to resign from the bench. We had never lived extravagantly, but the few luxuries that were normal to us began to disappear. He gave up his golf club membership but insisted that he could still pay my store account at Switzer’s and Brown Thomas. He always hated to disappoint me.
But now this? A dead girl in the trunk of the car in the garage. I was sorry she was dead, but I can’t honestly say I wouldn’t or couldn’t have strangled her myself under the circumstances. We just wanted our money back. I couldn’t stop thinking about the scars on the girl’s inner arm. I had seen a documentary about heroin addicts on the BBC, and reports of a heroin epidemic were in our newspapers. It seemed obvious that she had injected our money into her bloodstream, as if our needs and wants hadn’t mattered.
As Andrew slept fitfully, whimpering and crying out occasionally, I made plans.
The next morning, a Saturday, Laurence slept late. I warned Andrew to say as little as possible. He readily agreed. He was hollow-eyed, and there was a tremor in his voice that never quite went away after that night. He and Laurence had always had a fraught relationship, so they were not inclined to be conversational. I planned to get Laurence out of the house for the day, send him into town on some errand or other while Andrew buried the girl in our garden. Andrew was shocked that we would bury her here, but I made him see that, this way, she could not be discovered. We were in control of our own property. Nobody had access without our permission. Our large rear garden was not overlooked. I knew exactly the spot where she could be buried. In my childhood there had been an ornamental pond under the plane tree beyond the kitchen window, but Daddy had filled it in after my sister’s death. Its stone borders, which had lain under the soil for almost forty years, were conveniently grave-like.
After Andrew had buried the body, he could clean out and vacuum the car until there would be no trace of fibers or fingerprints. I was determined to take all precautions. Andrew knew from his job the kind of thing that could incriminate a person. Nobody had seen us on the Strand, but one can never be too sure of anything.
When Laurence arrived at the breakfast table, he had a noticeable limp. I tried to be cheerful. “So how are you today, sweetie?” Andrew stayed behind his Irish Times, but I could see his knuckles gripped it tightly to stop it from shaking.
“My ankle hurts. I tripped going upstairs last night.”
I examined his ankle quickly. It was very swollen and probably sprained. This thwarted my plans to send him into town. But I could still contain my boy, confine him to quarters, so to speak. I wrapped his ankle and instructed him to stay on the sofa all day. That way, I could keep an eye on him, keep him away from the rear of the house, where the burial was to take place. Laurence was not an active boy, so lying on the sofa watching television all day and having food delivered to him on a tray was no hardship to him at all.
As dusk fell, when everything had been done, Andrew lit a bonfire. I don’t know what he was burning, but I had impressed upon him the need to get rid of all evidence. “Think of it as one of your court cases—what kinds of things betray the lie? Be thorough!” To give him his due, he was thorough.
However, Laurence is a smart boy. He is intuitive, like me, and he noted his father’s dark mood. Andrew was snappy about wanting to see the television news, terrified, I suppose, that the girl would feature. She did not. He claimed he had the flu and went to bed early. When I went upstairs later, he was throwing things into a suitcase.
“What are you doing?”
“I can’t bear it. I have to get away.”
“Where? Where are you going to go? We can’t change anything now. It’s too late.”
He turned on me then for the first time, spitting with anger.
“It’s all your fault! I’d never have met her if it wasn’t for you. I should never have started this. It was a crazy idea to begin with, but you wouldn’t stop, you were obsessed! You put too much pressure on me. I’m not the type of man to . . .” He trailed off because he was exactly the type of man to strangle a girl, as it happens. He just didn’t know it until now. Also, my plan had been perfect. He was the one who ruined it.
“I told you to pick a healthy girl. Didn’t you see the marks on her arms? She was a heroin addict. Don’t you remember that documentary? You must have noticed her arms.”
He broke down into sobs and collapsed on the bed, and I cradled his head in mine to muffle the sound. Laurence mustn’t hear. When the heaving of his shoulders had subsided, I upended the contents of the suitcase and put it back on top of the wardrobe.
“Put your things away. We are not going anywhere. We will carry on as normal. This is our home and we are a family. Laurence, you, and I.”
Reading Group Guide
This readers group guide for Lying in Wait includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.
My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it.
Lydia Fitzsimons appears to have the perfect life: she makes her home with her successful husband and adored son in the beloved mansion that has been in her family for generations. But beneath the surface, there is one thing Lydia yearns for to make her perfect life complete—and she’s willing to do anything to get what she wants.
But Lydia’s son, Laurence, is not as naïve as she thinks. When he starts to unravel the secret that lies in the garden behind their beautiful house, he sets wheels in motion that lead to an increasingly claustrophobic and devastatingly dark climax.
Topics and Questions for Discussion
1. From the start of the book, we know respected judge Andrew Fitzsimons and his wife, Lydia, have murdered Annie Doyle. How does this narration style, starting with such a shocking event, affect your understanding of the story? How did you react to the first chapter?
2. Would things have turned out differently for Annie if she had been the pretty sister? Why or why not?
3. Lydia often says that everything she does is for Laurence, for his protection and his benefit. What are Lydia’s true motivations?
4. Consider each of the parent-child relationships in the book. Which parents are good parents in your opinion? How would things have been different for Laurence if his parents acted more like Bridget’s parents, or like Karen and Annie’s parents, or Helen’s mother?
5. How is Laurence’s sense of self affected by the way he views his father and his father’s death? How does this affect him as an adult?
6. What does Lydia's mother's red lipstick mean to her? Why does she put it on after Laurence tells her about Karen?
7. Dessie is obsessively protective of Karen; he tries to explain this as he fears that Karen will end up like Annie. How does Annie’s reputation continue to haunt her family?
8. How is marriage depicted in the novel? Are any of the marriages happy? Which marriages are affected by divorce being illegal in 1980s Ireland?
9. How is Lydia shaped by her sister’s death and her mother’s downfall? Why are reputations and appearances so important to Lydia?
10. Compare and contrast the two sister dynamics in the book: how are Lydia and Diana similar to Annie and Karen? What does being a sister mean to Karen? What does it mean to Lydia?
11. Lydia assumes all children are closest to their mothers. How does the novel prove or disprove her assumption?
12. What role does class play in Laurence's relationships? How much of that influence is inherited versus learned?
13. Laurence is very self-aware, but it takes him a long time to see his mother clearly. Why do you think that is? Why is it difficult for adult children to see their parents’ flaws?
14. How did you react to the scene after Laurence and Karen's dinner with Lydia, the final events of the novel, and Part Three? Were you surprised by the final revelations?
15. Does Lydia get what she wants? Does she get what she deserves? Does anyone else? Why or why not?
Enhance Your Book Club
1. Unraveling Oliver is the author’s first novel, for which she won Best Crime Novel at the 2014 Irish Book Awards. If you haven’t already, go back and read Unraveling Oliver with your book club. Compare and contrast the author’s style and the characters in the two books.
2. In Lying in Wait, we only get to know Annie through others’ memories and what was left behind when she departed. If Annie got a chance to tell her own story, what do you think she would say?
3. Who would you cast in the film version of Lying in Wait? How would you cast the sisters?
4. Learn more about the author by visiting her website (http://www.liznugent.ie/) and following her on Twitter @lizzienugent.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This story is so diabolically, terrifically sinister that I could not help but completely love it. Liz Nugent dumps the reader into an immediate state of suspense as Annie Doyle is unceremoniously murdered, and her body hidden by Lydia and Andrew. What follows is a master class in a psychopathic cover up of a crime and the consequences that stretch long and far. I completely love Liz's writing style, as she moves the story perspective from character to character. It so flawlessly let me as a reader get into the heads of the characters, and I was totally engrossed in seeing just how far Lydia would go to cover up her crime and keep her son in her clutches. I spent half the book not sure if I was rooting for the villains to get caught or get away with it, but I can say with certainty that I did not see the twists coming and I completely love a book that catches me by surprise. I won't say more than that, as the reader deserves to have no idea what to expect with this book. If you love a good mystery suspense read, get this on your winter TBR - it will keep you on the edge of your seat till the very last page.
Gothic, twisty, and downright creepy! Lying in Wait is a compulsive, macabre, psychological thriller that isn't so much a whodunit as a whydunit that delves into the complex dynamics between family members and reminds us just how controlling and possessive some of these relationships can truly be. The prose is insightful, intense, and dark. The characters are obsessed, secretive, and perfectly unlikable. And the plot told from multiple perspectives and alternating timelines builds and unravels exquisitely into a story filled with unexpected twists, well-timed surprises, manipulation, fixation, ruthless deception, and pure wickedness. Lying in Wait is an intelligent, murky, tragic tale that highlights the scheming, selfish, desperate side of human nature and the ability of even the most ordinary of people to commit the most heinous of crimes. It's a tight, propulsive, shocking, must-read novel by Nugent that will grip you from the very first line, make your skin crawl throughout, and undoubtedly leave you wholly unnerved.
Kept me reading. Plenty of twists and turns — and lies!!
Liz Nugent masterfully created the voice of many different flawed but lovable characters. I could not put this dark suspenseful comedy down. Each chapter switches perspectives, allowing the reader to experience events differently. The ending lingers long after you've closed the book. This was one of my favorite reads.
Since I had the last week of September free I decided to start my Halloween reading early. This was a perfect choice. From the opening line you're hooked. From the first chapter you know who dies and who killed the victim. It's what happens through the novel that keep you guessing. And I have to say I did not see the final chapters' outcome. Damn this was good. If you're looking for a mother from hell this is a book to read.
That was crazy good! What a twisted web of deep, rich characters that I just couldn’t get enough of (enter devilish laugh). The story goes back and forth throughout history and just when you think someone couldn’t get anymore warped, you read another passage and yep, their life takes another walk down Crazyland. The novel opens with Lydia claiming her husband Andrew killed Annie but if you read a bit further you get the full details of this story. These three characters’ lives somehow mingle with the lives of a handful of another fascinating individuals making this book a fantastic read. This couple thinks they have everything under control, yet ….. they don’t. The lies just keep coming as their son Laurence lives at home and they all live with their own secrets. Annie had a twin sister Karen, who went into modeling. Her husband liked the paychecks but didn’t like strangers looking at his wife. When Annie doesn’t show up for her appointments, her family begins to worry and Karen takes matters into her own hands. Annie’s has had some difficulties in the past but nothing like this. Flashing back, we see Lydia as a child and some of the events that occurred to her and her family as she grew up. There is an aahh moment when I see a pattern emerging in Lydia’s behavior. I cannot read fast enough to see what will occur next in this novel as everything is twisting together as the characters and their lives come together. I begin to feel sorry for Laurence, being her son, but then I realize he’s not so innocent himself. The story starts getting really intense as I found myself walking around reading this novel, all while I was doing laundry. I couldn’t put this book down! Man, ***** was crazy! Fricking off-the-wall! Aggghhh! Such a great read, I really needed that. I’m not glad that it’s over as that was a great ride but I’m glad someone saw the light and put a stop to it. Phew!
This is a great read! I absolutely loved Unraveling Oliver, so Liz Nugent had set a pretty high bar for herself. She aced it again with this book! Lydia, the matriarch and one of the three views this story is presented from, will absolutely give you the creeps. What an arrogant, self-centered, heartless woman who is capable of murder and will do whatever’s necessary to benefit her family name and her darling son Laurence. And he’s another “Psycho” in the making, it appears. Spoiled, overweight and lazy, dear Laurence can do no wrong. The innocent party is Karen, who’s desperately searching for her estranged sister Annie, a young woman forced from home who never had a chance. We learn in the first sentence that Annie has been murdered by Lydia’s husband Andrew, a Judge. Lydia makes it clear that the murder is all Annie’s fault. Who else could have precipitated it? The little drug-using prostitute had it coming. This gives the story an interesting perspective. As the story unfolds, only mom and dad know Annie is dead and buried in the garden. As events unfold, Laurence is soon in on the deception, but is he honest with Karen? No, he begins wooing Karen and bringing her into the dangers that exist between him and his controlling mother. I make a point not to write anything in my review that may spoil the read for others, but I can carefully say this: you’re gonna love the ending. Not all stories end the way we assume they will. This is one of the few that will prove you wrong in your assumptions. Just read it. Then read Nugent’s other book, Unraveling Oliver. I will definitely be following this author for future books! (I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review. Thank you to Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books for making it available.)
Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent was as I anticipated, a good book. With intriguing and sometimes hugely dysfunctional characters, Nugent paints a picture of a domestic mystery with broad strokes and plenty of creepiness. Early on the focus is on the initial crime, and while not a whodunit, because that is revealed quite quickly, this book is truly more of a character study, and the lengths to which some people will go to keep a secret. Lydia was a fascinating character with dark secrets that eventually come out, most hideously in the end, as she smothers her son,(not literally) with motherly attention. Laurence is written as the ever dutiful son, who ultimately wants to find his way, but can't seem to escape his mother's clutches. A substantial read for me, and anticipating what is next from this compelling author. Many thanks to Netgalley for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Um, wow. I am generally very picky with my crime novels but add in a twisted family plot and I am so down. When I was reflecting on this book (I.e. sitting there with the iPad in my hands and my mouth agape for about an hour) the first descriptor that came to mind is “suffocating”. This book is a vise grip that does not let go even after you turn the last page. I am not usually a fan of multiple perspectives but Ms. Nugent pulled it off flawlessly. The tension builds quite quickly within the first half of the book but once you hit that point there is no putting this book down, so I would definitely recommend that you have a free evening to finish it off. Each character was so fully fleshed out that each perspective felt completely necessary whereas most books I have read with multiple perspectives just feel like one would be fine. I loved that I felt like I knew how it would end, or hoped it would, but then was so utterly wrong. The twist was sharp and perfectly placed. I would highly recommend this book for fans of Ruth Ware and Gillian Flynn. I look forward to reading Ms. Nugent’s backlist as well as anything else she writes in the future.
This is a psychological thriller that will hook you in from the very first line. Once you get started this is story you won’t be able to put it down. If you love books about murder & family secrets this is a must read for you. The story is told from multiple points of view which helps to build a great story. It starts out in the 1980’s in Dublin Ireland where a women is murdered and how deeply it effects the victim & the murderer families. I don’t want to say too much to give away any spoilers but for a physiological thriller to start you out with such a shocking opener, then the build up of characters who can have you laughing one moment than gasping at the shock of another tells you how brilliant of a book this is. This was a fun, smart book that I definitely see going to screen one day.
IMG_4875My Review of “Lying in Wait” by Liz Nugent Gallery, Threshold, Pocketbook, June 2018 WOW! “Lying in Wait” by Liz Nugent is a captivating, intense, intriguing, twisted, and disturbingly horrifying and sickening , suspenseful novel, which is hard to put down.. Freud would have a field day with these characters. This has a feel of Alfred Hitchcock, and Twilight Zone mixed. The Genres of this novel are Fiction, Mystery, Suspense and Thriller, with a touch of horror. One of the first sentences that one reads is ” My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it.” This is a quote from one of the characters Lydia Fitzsimons,. The Fitzsimons family is looked upon with great respect. After all, Lidia’s husband is a Judge, and they have a loving son Laurence. They live in a mansion, and to the eye, everything is perfect. No one knows that the Judge lost a tremendous amount of money he invested, when the person who handled the funds, ran with the money. No one realizes how Lidia has been over-protective to their son. From all the stress, Laurence can’t stop eating, and is first dealing with new experiences in life. The author describes her unstable characters as complicated, complex, and deeply dysfunctional .There are deep and dark secrets that Lidia hold the key to, that could destroy the family. ( and have destroyed others) Meanwhile, Annie Doyle’s family is looking into their daughter’s disappearance. There seem to be some significant clues. Annie’s sister is obsessed with finding what happened to her. Lidia is one extremely manipulative woman. She has an answer for anything and justifies everything. Unfortunately, Laurence is starting to unravel some of the secrets. There are a lot of Uh-Oh moments, and tension. I would recommend this page-turning chilling thriller to readers who enjoy thrillers and suspenseful stories. I received an ARC from NetGalley for my honest review.
If there were ever a book to capture dark, comedic noir, this would be the one for 2018. This book is incredibly twisted, and yet there was levity and humor despite the darkness of the book. I felt “WTF?!” in the best way when reading this! Liz Nugent really has a talent for writing. I loved how this book was told like the characters repeating a story from some point in time after the events had happened, rather than experiencing it live. That may not sound appealing, but I believe it was that distance from the events happening that allowed for the lightness when recounting incredibly dark stories. Lydia Fitzsimmons has the perfect life… Her husband is a successful judge, they live in her beautiful family home, Avalon, and her son Laurence adores her. Avalon isn’t just any home, it is a gorgeous old-money mansion with sprawling grounds and a pile of family secrets. Lydia can’t imagine ever leaving Avalon. She is essentially a recluse, preferring to stay at Avalon as a wife, mother, and homemaker, while her husband flourishes in his career. But one night everything changes. My husband didn’t mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it. Lydia is forced to do the unthinkable—help her husband cover up a murder. She buries this secret the same way she has buried all of the others—in the safety and security of their family home, Avalon. Lydia and Andrew may be able to hide their secret from outsiders, but what will they do when someone inside the home—someone much closer to it—discovers the truth? Reflection There is something so matter-of-fact in the way these characters tell their story. The Fitzsimmons family is one that is easily able to separate emotion from action, with the exception of Andrew. I found Lydia and Laurence to be completely fascinating characters. The way they react to everything from shock, to hurt, to anger, is incredible to behold. They don’t process their emotions the way many of us do. For that reason, Andrew stands in such stark contrast to them. He is someone completely overwhelmed by his emotions, and unable to keep them in check. We see this same theme play out with other characters—Helen, Dessie, Bridget, Karen, Annie. All of them tend to either be ruled by their emotions, or be surprisingly good at separating them from their actions. This is not to say that those actions aren’t driven by their reaction to the events around them. To the contrary, the characters that seem the least motivated by their emotions are probably the most irrational of the group. There is a scene early on (that I won’t spoil because it is so wonderful) with Laurence that honestly made me laugh out loud when I read it. Another awesome reviewer, Carrie, said she wasn’t sure at times with this book if she should laugh, cry, or cringe. That is the perfect description of this book! I dare readers to find a dull character among the lot. The ending of this book is the icing on the “WTF?!” cake for this read! It was crazy, but sort of perfect for the story and the characters. I was so delighted by this book! It was my first by Liz Nugent, but it will certainly not be my last. I’m looking forward to sharing this book with other readers! Many thanks to Gallery Books and to Liz Nugent for an advanced copy of this book .
Lying in Wait has one of the most brilliant opening lines that I've come across and a cover that practically screams, "Read Me!" The first chapter lives up to that, hinting at a growing tension as this family covers up a heinous act. However, after that first chapter the story slows down considerably while we learn about a sociopathic matriarch who will go to any length to have things her way and the family she controls through manipulation and lies. The storyline, while not exactly original, is interesting - deeply dark and twisted, but interesting in and of itself. There's no real mystery here, as such, since we're told the who, what, and when from the beginning. The only suspense is the actual why, which the author does eventually get around to, and when and how it will all be revealed. The latter takes us on a disturbing, albeit rather circuitous, journey of deceit, greed, and manipulation. The pacing does pick up in the last third or so of the book, but it did feel like it took a considerable amount of time getting there. Even with the pacing, my biggest issue lay with the characters. With the multiple points of view in this one, I would've expected at least one stand out character, somebody to empathize with and possibly even root for, but there's not a likable person in the bunch. We have the self-entitled Lydia, who is nothing short of devious in her manipulations of those around her, including her only child, Laurence, who doesn't have enough backbone to break free from his mother's iron grip. No matter how many birthdays we see Laurence through, his inner musings never progress beyond juvenile and so much emphasis is put on his weight that it becomes his only distinctive characteristic. Then we have Karen, who is wishy-washy to the extreme. One minute she's utterly consumed by the need for answers about Annie's disappearance and the next, she's in no hurry. Throw in a couple of Laurence's girlfriends - one a user and the other practically a doormat - and the only character I found any real sympathy for was Karen and Annie's father, who is so far on the periphery that we never really get to know him. Even our victim doesn't inspire much in the way of compassion once everything is revealed. Unlikable characters in this type of story is to be expected and many times, the flawed characters stand out, but it just didn't work for me here. Everybody has an agenda and eventually, Annie's murder became more excuse than reason for their actions. I really think this is one of those stories that either works for a reader or it doesn't and while, I didn't hate it, I certainly didn't enjoy it as much as I'd hoped.