Desert Isle Keeper
Lying in Wait
If you’re looking for a chilling novel of psychological suspense this winter, I urge you to look no further than Lying In Wait, the second novel from Irish novelist Liz Nugent. It’s set in 1980s Dublin, and it captured my attention from the chilling opening line and refused to let me go until I reached the end, making it one of the most memorable book of this type I’ve read in quite some time.
Lydia and Andrew Fitzsimons live with their seventeen-year-old son Laurence in the crumbling mansion known as Avalon. The house has been in Lydia’s family for generations, but it’s not the happiest of homes. Lydia and Andrew have been trying for years to have a second child, but a string of miscarriages have left them feeling discouraged. And so, they hatch a daring, if incredibly risky plan. What if Andrew, an influential judge, were to impregnate a young woman and pay her to give him custody of the child after its birth? Lydia knows a lot could go wrong with such a scheme, but she’s desperate enough to try just about anything.
Enter Annie Doyle, a drug addicted prostitute who seems like the answer to Lydia’s prayers. She’s young, healthy, and is on the outs with her family, and she certainly isn’t going to turn down the tidy sum of money Andrew offers her. But Annie is nobody’s fool, and she decides to pull a con of her own on Lydia and Andrew, a con that results in her death. I’ll admit that I was somewhat confused as to how Annie could be both a drug addict and healthy, and I also had trouble with the idea that Lydia and Andrew would choose a known drug addict to be their surrogate – but I went along with it and was soon too caught up in the story to question the inconsistency.
When Andrew comes home one night and admits to Lydia that he killed Annie in a fit of rage, Lydia knows it’s up to her to save her family from destruction. She convinces Andrew to bury Annie’s body in their back garden, and urges him to keep the truth from everyone, especially Laurence. But, as you might imagine, such a secret isn’t easy to keep, and Andrew soon begins to crumble under the strain.
For his part, Laurence knows something is going on with his parents, but it isn’t until he digs up the garden in order to surprise his mother with the ornamental pond she’s always wanted that he learns what his father has done. The truth is difficult for him to swallow, and, as the years pass, Laurence becomes ever more obsessed with Annie and her family. When, five years after Annie’s death, a chance meeting brings him into the life of her sister Karen, the two families are set on a collision course with consequences far beyond anything they could have possibly imagined.
Lying In Wait is richly atmospheric with characters who practically leap off the page. Lydia is coldly calculating, the kind of woman who will stop at nothing to get what she wants. Laurence is insecure and a bit shiftless, overly dependent on his mother, and Karen is fiercely independent with a driving need to learn the truth about her sister’s death. The story is told in alternating points of view of these three characters, and I found myself more and more captivated the closer to the end I got.
Since we know right from the start that Annie is dead and Andrew is responsible, Lying In Wait isn’t a mystery in the truest sense of the word. We aren’t trying to figure out what happened as much as we’re seeking to understand why things happened as they did. Ms. Nugent takes readers on a journey filled with dark discoveries and chilling obsession that will leave them breathless.
This was my first experience with Liz Nugent’s writing, but I assure you it won’t be my last. I’ve already purchased her first novel, Unraveling Oliver, and I’ll definitely keep my eye out for future releases. She’s an incredibly gifted author, and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.