Amy Imogene Reads's Reviews > She Lies in Wait

She Lies in Wait by Gytha Lodge
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bookshelves: mystery-thriller, read-in-2019


A group of friends take a drug-filled camping trip. A girl goes missing. 30 years later, a British detective with a history entwined with the friend group has to uncover decades-old secrets with the discovery of the young girl's body...not 100 yards away from the original campsite.

Concept: ★★★★★
Writing: ★★★ 1/2
Characters: ★★★
Detective: ★ 1/2
Villain(s): ★★★

She Lies in Wait involves one of my favorite mystery/thriller tropes: the tight friend group in isolation, and a dead body that points to all of them as the guilty party. Who among them did it? I love it. Give it to me every time and I'll enjoy it no matter what.

Aurora Jackson was 14 years old when she accompanied her older sister, Topaz, and Topaz's friends on a camping trip in the British woods. She was ethereal, enigmatic, and shy—and not at all the type of girl who would have accompanied this group for their weekend of drug-fueled rock and roll. After a night of bad decisions, the group wakes up to find Aurora missing.

30 years later, Aurora is the area's most famous cold case. That is, until a young girl discovers the body hidden in a hollow at the base of a tree next to the remains of several Dexedrine packets.

DCI Jonah Sheens is a detective that feels like many other detectives. He has a decayed personal life, an addiction to generic black coffee, and a personal reason to care about the Aurora Jackson case. I found him to be the blandest part of She Lies in Wait, which was interesting as this book is supposed to be the start of a Jonah Sheens-led detective series. He was plain white toast. I was mildly intrigued to his connections to the case—they didn't appear to be very strong and seemed to come and go as the narrative required—but besides his connections, the narrative spent an equal amount of time focusing on his young policewoman new recruit, DC Hanson. Hanson was both more personally interesting and more involved with several points of the plot. To be honest, I'd like to read more books about her.

She Lies in Wait had the right amount of intrigue to keep me reading, but only just. The narrative bounced between several points of view in the novel, including sections of Aurora's last night alive as she encounters the events leading up to her murder, as well as several of the friends in their modern-day adult lives. It felt like a strange mash-up between a standard detective story—where the POV is only coming from the detective, and maybe the victim as flashbacks—and a more modern approach where the POVs are the potential suspects. It didn't not work, but it did make this novel hard to identify with as the detective was so bland.

The reveal at the end of the novel was slightly more intriguing than I was expecting. It didn't wow me, but it didn't upset me either. I have to admit, I guessed it quite early on and kept it on the back burner as other theories were pushed to the forefront by the narrative. I wish She Lies in Wait had relied less on a very standard crime construct, but at the same time it was almost refreshing to read something so baseline after the extreme twists and turns of other mystery/thrillers.

I don't know, folks. It was a mixed bag. Recommended for those who are not overly tied to the concept of a detective mystery or a standard multiple-POV thriller, and are willing to take a step back and read a mostly enjoyable standard mystery.


Original notes: Not bad for a debut mystery/thriller, but it had some flaws and had a harder time holding my attention. Review to come!
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Reading Progress

January 25, 2019 – Shelved
January 25, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
May 28, 2019 – Started Reading
May 28, 2019 –
page 97
May 28, 2019 –
page 219
May 29, 2019 –
page 292
May 30, 2019 – Finished Reading
May 31, 2019 – Shelved as: read-in-2019
May 31, 2019 – Shelved as: mystery-thriller

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