Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent
*Looks up synonyms to holy shit* Wowzers ya’ll, that was Grade-A Crazy Town from start to finish! I’ve read a few psychological thrillers that threw me for a loop and redefined the genre. However, I think this is the first true psychological suspense novel that has set the bar absurdly high. Family dramas are honestly just not my favorite. For whatever reason, I get lost in all the mess and it loses it’s allure for me over time – that is absolutely not the case for Lying in Wait.
My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyal, but the lying tramp deserved it.
If that line alone isn’t enough to draw you in as a reader, there’s not much I can do to help you. While this is told from alternating POVs, this is really the story of Lydia Fitzsimmons, her husband Andrew and her son Laurence. Lydia – like many women in thrillers these days, has a seemingly perfect life. A beautiful manor, an adoring husband and a loving, doting son – her only real hang-up is her agoraphobia (read: she can’t leave the house). But as a licensed red-herring chaser, I can tell you, appearances are rarely what they seem.
My sister had a reputation. Ma said she kicked her way out of the womb feetfirst and she hadn’t stopped kicking since.
Lydia’s carefully constructed bubble is burst in a spectacular show when she is forced to help her husband cover up the murder of Annie Doyal. This isn’t the first secret Lydia has buried, and it won’t be the last. But she doesn’t have a choice does she? She must protect her family, her home and the life the has painstakingly built for the few people she allows in. The real question is – how long can she hide a lifetime worth of secrets and what happens if she no longer can?
“Laurence, whatever happened, you must remember that your father was a good man.”
This one is hard to review without giving too much away, which is a testament to Nugents ability to weave a sticky, tangled web that is hard to decipher without spoiling. What I can tell you, is that every ounce of Lydia is dedicated to hiding behind a false persona and life she has built around herself and as the reader digs further into her past and her psyche things quickly devolve into delicious mayhem.
In addition to Lydia and Laurence’s point of view, we’re given that of Karen – sister to Annie Doyal and relentless hunter of the truth of what happened to her. It adds another layer to an already tangled story and really helps drive the momentum forward. This isn’t an all-out, race-to-the-finish type of read. Rather, it’s a series of choices and truths that slowly unfold themselves to the reader leaving you with a wide-eyed stare wondering how things got out of control so quickly.
I had finally begun to resent my mother. Her emotional blackmail had me trapped.
There is no question here as to “who dunnit” but it absolutely was not needed and not what drove this story forward. Nugent’s story-telling ability really shined in a way that had me rapt from the start. At every new twist or turn there was a burning need within me to figure out how this piece would fall into place with what the reader already knows to have happened. There was a subtlety here that really spoke to me, nothing was sensationalized or needed to be. These were facts that Nugent was giving to us at a steady pace that created a heady, dark and sometimes comedic atmosphere that draws the reader into the web and traps you there.
“This is so screwed up. I can’t believe it”
That ending ya’ll. THAT. FREAKIN’. ENDING. Didn’t see it coming, couldn’t have predicted it and you’d be lying if you said you could. That was a slam-dunk, knock-out, gut punch that showed that while ending a novel might be seemingly the hardest part of writing it – it absolutely can be done right. If you’re looking at it, if you weren’t interested before, I can’t suggest picking it up enough!
I read this with the Traveling Sisters and we’ve all really enjoyed it thus far. No one can help but enjoy this dark, gritty and twisty thriller!
Long Story Short:
Suggested For: Anyone interested in family dramas, dysfunctional families, thrillers and suspense novels that don’t rely on in-your-face, sensationalist tactics.
Music Mood: Waves of Galveston by Iron & Wine
Have you read Lying in Wait or any of Nugent’s other works – what did you think? Do you prefer a “race to the finish” or “slow burn” type of novel? Drop me a note in the comments and let me know!