“She Lies in Wait” by Gytha Lodge – Book Review

“Seven kids had bedded down thirty years ago
but only six of them had got up in the morning”.

When a rebellious young girl hides from her parents at a camping site in the Brinken Wood of the New Forest, she inadvertently discovers the skeletonized remains of a teenager missing for thirty years…

Brinken Wood, New Forest

Beautiful, fourteen year old Aurora Jackson went missing after a camping trip. She was the youngest there, and the sister of one of the principal members of the group. A group who have remained in touch and quite friendly for over thirty years.

That night in 1983 the friends were drinking, taking drugs, and pairing off. Not Aurora’s scene at all. What happened all those years ago?

Was her final resting place, where she was surrounded by a cache of foil-wrapped packages of the drug Dexedrine,  known only to the six friends in attendance?

Or, did someone else know of the clever hiding place?


DCI Jonah Sheens was just a new recruit, a lowly constable when Aurora first went missing. Yet he has never really stopped looking for Aurora…

Now he and his team must sort through the inconsistencies in the statements made by the people involved – both thirty years ago and NOW.

“This wasn’t how cold cases went. That investigating old crimes never felt present and urgent like this.”

An engrossing police procedural series debut. I enjoyed becoming acquainted with the four member team led by DCI Jonah Sheens.


Enigmatic DCI Jonah Sheens, with his mysterious past as a member of a family of ‘Travellers‘ whose father was emotionally abusive. It is obvious to the reader that Jonah has more than one family secret and has layers of personality that is yet to be unveiled.

Detective Sergeant Domnall O’Malley,  the eldest of the team, an Irishman who works on his instincts and is brilliant at making connections. O’Malley is an ex-military man who is very intelligent, yet he is undisciplined and a drinker.

Detective Constable Ben Lightman, whose outward efficiency, logical thinking, and cool detachment hides a warm heart. Outwardly reserved, he is a college graduate who joined the police immediately following his graduation. Ben has no family attachments and is a workaholic.

Detective Constable Juliette Hanson, the newest member of the team, recently transferred from Birmingham. With a rocky personal life in which her ex-boyfriend is taunting her with verbal abuse and texts, she is trying valiantly to make a good impression on her new boss and co-workers.

The setting, around and about the New Forest in England, added to my enjoyment.

The story was told over a two week period which brought immediacy to the events. In addition to the police investigations, the novel was interspersed with chapters told by the fourteen year old Aurora detailing what happened the night she died. These chapters were among my favourites and added poignancy to the story.

The author did a sound job of making the reader distrust the various characters, even the police at one point.

The characters were intriguing, though I found I didn’t warm to them as much as I have with other series. I did enjoy their interactions enough that I will definitely read the second book in the series which is called “Watching from the Dark“.

Recommended to all who enjoy a cleverly written police procedural. “She Lies in Wait” marks the beginning of a new crime thriller series that I anticipate following.

I received a complimentary digital copy of “She Lies in Wait” from the publisher, Penguin Random House, via NetGalley.

Gytha Lodge is a multi-award-winning playwright, novelist and writer for video games and screen. She is also a single parent who blogs about the ridiculousness of bringing up a mega-nerd small boy.

She has a profound addiction to tea, crosswords and awful puns. When not writing, she heads up a copywriting team at a global translation firm, where she generally tries to keep all the video-game writing to herself.

She studied English at Cambridge, where she became known quite quickly for her brand of twisty, dark yet entertaining drama. She later took the Creative Writing MA at UEA.

She has signed with Penguin Random House worldwide for the first three books in her crime series featuring DCI Jonah Sheens.

Follow Gytha Lodge on Twitter.

About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
This entry was posted in 1st in series, Book Reviews, debut novels, Mystery fiction, NetGalley and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to “She Lies in Wait” by Gytha Lodge – Book Review

  1. R A I N says:

    DAMNN!! That premise is REALLYYY interesting! 😱😱😱😱😍😍😍 I could NEVER have guessed from the title, even if it seems plain enough now! 🤣🤣🤣

    AND YOUR REVIEW! 😍😍 I love how you include everything, even a bit about each character, in them! And it seems like apart from the fact that you couldnt care much for the characters (which can both be a bad and indifferent thing in this genre depending on how exciting the plot is) you really enjoyed reading this one! 😍😍 I AM SOOOO GONNA ADD IT TO MY TBR! I JUST….its just TOO exciting! 😍😍

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Links I’ve Enjoyed This Week – 10/11/19 #WeeklyRoundUpPost 🔗📆 🔗 #SecretLibraryBookBlog – Secret Library Book Blog

  3. Great review and while the book does sound good, a little dismayed they always seem to fall back on the Irish axiom–good man, but undisciplined and a drinker. Even “Blue Bloods” constantly with a drink of (Irish?) whiskey or bottle of Guiness. My grandfather wasn’t a drinker but he did enjoy his very aromatic pipes.


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