Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent
Published by Gallery/Scout Press on June 12, 2018
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
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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.
“My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it.”
So begins Liz Nugent’s latest release, Lying in Wait. I loved her debut novel, Unraveling Oliver, which was chock-full of messed-up characters doing messed-up things. Never fear, because Lying in Wait takes that same type of dysfunction and cranks it up to maximum.
From the onset, we know that respected judge Andrew Fitzsimons and his slightly agoraphobic wife, Lydia, have killed a young woman and buried her in their garden. The couple certainly don’t seem like murderers—yet that’s exactly what they are. But what’s their connection to Annie Doyle? And why did they kill her?
Meanwhile, Annie’s family reports her as missing. A young woman with a troubled past, Annie has struggled with drug use and the police are quick to write off her disappearance when it’s discovered that Annie also was a sex worker. For the most part, her missing person case goes cold; but her sister, Karen, is determined to uncover the truth of what happened to Annie. That search spans years, even as Karen struggles with an abusive marriage and embarks on a blossoming modeling career.
The Fitzsimonses’ son, Laurence, becomes unwittingly involved in his parents’ deception and it’s all downhill from there. Lydia has an unnatural fixation and codependency on her sole child, one that’s only magnified following the murder of Annie. And as the details surrounding the murder unfold, the skeletons from Lydia’s past are revealed, one by one.
Most troubling about this story—aside from the obvious murder and general dysfunction—is the misogyny toward Annie, at times casual and other times overt. Because she used drugs and because she accepted money for sex, her status as a victim is immediately discounted—both by the police as well as the media. Even members of her own family label her as trash and are ashamed of her. It’s Karen who sees her as a human being with intrinsic value, but sadly the treatment and attitudes toward Annie are reflective of the deep-seated misogyny that’s prevalent in the real world.
A compelling and truly disturbing read, Lying in Wait solidifies Liz Nugent as one of my favorite authors. Highly recommended.
Rating: 5 stars