Neve Connolly is just trying to slog through her life. She is the main earner for her family and the never-ending responsibilities, and having to be there for everyone, is tipping her over the edge… The daily grind of work, husband, three children, are all getting on top of her. When she is tempted to have a little joy, just for herself, she succumbs… and has an affair with a man from work, Saul Stevenson.
When she gets a text summoning her to his flat, she goes – only to find him murdered. With her all encompassing love for her family, and not wanting to jeopardize her life further, she cleans the flat to remove all traces of her presence there.
This action will put her in a vortex of panic, stress, suspicion, and lies that will threaten everything and everyone she loves.
“She thought of her life and it seemed like an avalanche, sliding away down the mountainside, gathering everything up in its roaring descent.”
What a roller coaster of a novel! Fast-paced, the novel depicts a woman on the edge. Neve’s panic, tension and stress were palpable. You find yourself reading with a lump in your throat waiting for the axe to fall… Lies, compounded by more lies… so many that she barely remembers what the truth is herself. Unable to sleep, eat, or function, she finds herself trying to act ‘normally’ with a house full of people who unexpectedly descend upon her home. A home already chaotic, made farcical with the extra people.
“She was hot and sticky, hollow with hunger but nauseous with fear.”
Neve, in her mid-forties, married for twenty years, was a character that engendered in me a lot of empathy. Although she did commit adultery, the authors made the reader completely understand the reasons for her actions.
The settings were clearly depicted. Neve, who traveled everywhere by bicycle, was overcome by a life that was careening out of control.
“Her secret was like a monstrous thing, growing bloated in the dark.”
The plot was clever, as was the writing. The police in the story were described in such a way that you could feel Neve’s heart rate speed up whenever they came in contact.
This is a domestic thriller that truly lives up to the label. Suspenseful, well-written, and very fast-paced, the story has themes of adultery, marriage, friendship, parental love, and of course… secrets and lies.
I received a digital copy of “The Lying Room” from the publisher, William Morrow/Harper Collins via Edelweiss.
Nicci French is pen name of English authors Nicci Gerrard and Sean French, who write psychological thriller novels together. Gerrard and French were married in 1990. They write separately and then re-write each other’s work. Both authors have also written solo novels. They live in Suffolk and London, England. Together, they have written 21 books.