Louise wakes up. Her head aches, her mouth is dry, her memory is fuzzy. But she suspects she’s done something bad.
She rolls over towards her husband, Niall. The man who, until recently, made her feel loved.
But it’s not Niall who’s lying beside her. In fact, she’s never seen this man before.
And he’s dead . . .
As Louise desperately struggles to piece her memories back together, it’s clear to Detective Jonah Sheens and his team that she is their prime suspect – though they soon find she’s not the only one with something to hide.
Did she do it? And, if not, can they catch the real killer before they strike again?
I am so late to the delights of Gytha Lodge and her crime series featuring DCI Jonah Sheens. I missed out on books one and two but I definitely feel that I had missed out on any back story when I bgean Lie Beside Me.
The opening was the stuff of nightmares, and Lodge gave me chills as she brilliantly described Louise’s gradual realisation that the man beside her was dead. How did he get there? What had alcohol blanked out?
The answer to those questions took some pretty circuitous twists and turns with Louise as the primary suspect. DCI Sheens was the man charged with investigating and he was ably assisted by DC Hanson, a woman who hid a stalking ex boyfriend but pushed her woes to one side as she worked hard to discover the truth.
Any good crime novel will make that truth hard to come by and Lodge was no different, my mind constantly wandered as multiple suspects were paraded in front of me, and Louise’s life was pulled apart. I intensely disliked her husband Niall, found him weak willed and not wholly trustworthy. The most difficult character to work out was Louise’s best friend April, the brash American, wealthy and outgoing, there was something that didn’t quite ring true but I never could put my finger on what that was until near the end.
I admired how Lodge slowly revealed the truth as she used the voice of Louise and her thoughts as she looked back on her marriage, her own character, the sober Louise and the drunk Louise, the alternating personalities that made her doubt herself and question her own guilt. It was for me, what made this novel stand out from others in the genre, it took that one step further, explored the deeper reaches of the human psyche, the perceptions of others, and what our upbringing might force us to do in later life. It gave Lodge the opportunity to develop multiple layers and strands to her storyline which made for an exciting and thrilling read. In fact just when you thought Sheen has it all wrapped up, it was Hanson that suddenly realised that perhaps they were wrong and in one final wonderful twist, heightened by just a little bit of tense drama, we got a completely different ending.
Lie Beside Me was a top notch crime thriller that I loved and I shall now be seeking out Lodge’s previous two novels to read and enjoy.
I would like to thank Michael Joseph for a copy of Lie Beside Me to read and review and to Ella Watkins for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.
About the author
Gytha Lodge is a writer and multi-award-winning playwright who lives in Cambridge. After seven years spent as a successful playwright, she studied creative writing at UEA and was shortlisted for the Yeovil Literary Prize and the Arts’ Council England fiction awards. She also developed a large online following, with over seven million reads accrued on platform Wattpad. Her first novel, She Lies in Wait, was a Richard and Judy Book Club pick and a Sunday Times bestseller. Lie BesideMe is her third novel.
You can find her on twitter @thegyth