‘Lying In Wait’ by Liz Nugent: Book Review

It’s easy to see why this book has been on the Irish bestsellers list for the last six weeks. Liz Nugent’s Lying in Wait will keep you hooked from the first line until you close the book in disbelief at the end.

The murder of Annie Doyle is something that Lydia Fitzsimons wants to forget about as quickly as possible. Especially considering that it was her husband who committed the murder and buried her in the back garden. Despite Andrew’s guilt she tries to convince him that everything will be okay. They just have to go about their lives as normal. But their son, Laurence, has some suspicions if his own. Lydia knows she has to do everything she can to stop him as he gets closer to Annie Doyle’s family, and to revealing her family’s secret.

Lying in Wait is a book about human nature, and the lengths people will go to get what they want. Lydia is an obsessive, damaged person, who doesn’t have any sense of morality when it comes to getting her way. She blames her husband completely for the murder that she took part in. She tries to convince him that, if it comes to it, he should go to prison and let her and Laurence live their lives without him. Her obsession with her son makes her feel that because she is his mother she owns him, and he should stay with her instead of going out to live his own life.

As a character, Lydia is fascinating. She’s on a par with Cersei Lannister for the lengths she would go to for her children. She’s manipulative, but the way her mind works is fascinating. She genuinely doesn’t see that anything she is doing is wrong.

The reader is given an insight into her background and an event in her childhood involving her twin sister. From this it’s easy to see how she became as unstable as she is, but she shows no remorse for anything that happened. I haven’t felt a hatred so strong for a character since Professor Umbridge, but I was glued to the page waiting to see what Lydia would do next.

Despite the fact that Lydia is such a loathsome character, Nugent manages to keep her entirely believable. There’s no point in the book that you think ‘no way, that wouldn’t happen.’ Her son, Laurence, is the just as credible. He clearly loves his mother, and is just trying to understand how to live his life while still taking care of her. Nugent has created realistic and convincing characters and that makes the book all the more enjoyable to read.

Lying in Wait is a dark book, so don’t expect much of a happy ending. It’s not a typical mystery-thriller. You know from the very first line who the murder victim is and who killed her. It’s more about the aftermath, and the psychological impact the murder had on those affected. Lydia’s worry that she will lose her son. Laurence’s love for his mother turning to pity, and eventually to a hatred of his own. And Karen, the sister of the murder victim, spending years trying to find out what happened to Annie.

Nugent will have you going through every emotion possible as you read Lying In Wait, and it’s well worth it.

Lying In Wait is available from Penguin Ireland