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This page-turning thriller set in Ireland will keep you guessing till the last chapter or two. Told from the perspective of the three dominant characters, you see the story from multiple points of view, but I was blindsided by the final twist.
Lydia is a reclusive, snobbish suburban housewife, desperate to grow her family, and hiding a dark secret from her childhood. Her son Laurence is 18, devastated by a late change in his schooling due to a downturn in the family finances, bullied at school and smothered at home. Karen is a working-class girl working in a dry cleaner’s shop, despairing over the life choices her beloved sister Annie is making.
Fear, desperation and greed combine into a tragedy for all three characters. The old saying about “what a wicked web we weave when we practice to deceive” springs to mind – the lies pile up on top of each other until it’s hard to see the truth underneath.
Nugent slowly reveals the characters’ motivations and backgrounds, and each revelation keeps you slightly off-balance. You can see the web of lies, and gradually you realise the nature of the spider lurking in the shadows, but you’re never quite sure how things will resolve till the very end of the story (what I was sure was going to happen was miles off – and much worse that what I had anticipated.).
If you’re going to start a novel with “My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it,” you’re going to set high expectations for your readers. Mine were certainly met, and I kept reading long after my eyes were telling me to close them, so that I could get to the story’s resolution. Recommended.
Reviewed by Rachel Moore
Lying in Wait
by Liz Nugent
Published by Penguin Books Ltd