Lying In Wait by Liz Nugent
I picked up some computer glasses at Target yesterday because I've had a spat of migraines...maybe because of the weather but maybe because I've been working on the computer a lot (?). They're not prescription, they're the "blue light filtering glare reducing" lenses. Meant for digital screens at least. So we shall see how that turns out. It's this exact pair as an aside.
I bought this book from my local indie last year but sat down and read it over the holiday break. I honestly picked it up because Liz Nugent is Irish and her bio on the flap looked impressive. Plus the cover (American, hardback edition at least) was creepy. Insta-buy!
Title: Lying In Wait
Author: Liz Nugent
Page number: 312 pages (hardcover)
Genre: thriller, fiction, suspense
Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press which is an imprint from Simon and Schuster
"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.
I don't want to spoil too much of the book here, simply because it left my head spinning when it was done as I never knew what was about to happen. I will say that this isn't a murder-mystery type book. We know early in the book that Lydia and Andrew are involved in the death of Annie Doyle. We know how they cover it up and where Annie's body is.
The book is set in Dublin, Ireland over a span of years (over the adolescence and adult life of Lawrence, the son of Lydia and Andrew). Andrew is a judge who marries Lydia, a socialite who is attached to her family house and status. Their son, Lawrence, is socially awkward for a variety of reasons, including his weight and his mother's relationship to him.
Annie Doyle, the murdered woman, is from a less prominent family in Dublin. Blue-collar types (I'm not sure of the class system in Ireland but I'm sure one exists). When she fails to turn up, her family report her missing to the police (Gardaí). Annie also has a sister, named Karen.
Eventually Karen begins a new career which propels her into a new society as well as gives her more money. She meets Lawrence (who has begun working in a job that his mother feels is beneath him) and the two form a friendship that eventually leads to them teaming up to try and find Annie.
At first, I wasn't too excited about this book. It wasn't a who-dun-it, there wasn't really a mystery, there wasn't a Irish FBI agent who brilliantly discovered Annie Doyle's murdered body (and then fell in love with her sister). None of my favorite tropes were there. Then, Liz Nugent began the dark, psychological drips of information about Lawrence, Karen, Annie and Lydia. By the time the last third of the book began I was hooked and on the edge of my seat (metaphorically...my butt was sprawled across the couch in front of a fire because it was cold.)
As noted, this book is not a murder-mystery. It's a thriller that deals with a disturbing sociopath, unhealthy familial relationships, abusive relationships, dark family secrets, and a class system that belies social standings (mostly to do with Lydia). It was dark, twisted and so cleverly messed up.
The ending was different. It was done so deftly (the whole last section of the book was a mind-bending journey to creep-town) that I cannot help but love it but it is a bit open ended. This adds to the vibe of the book but if you really, really, really hate endings that don't land on a definite...be warned.
Liz Nugent has a website
Simon and Schuster have an excerpt of her book
BookRiot has an audio excerpt
Crime By The Book has a question and answer with Liz Nugent
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