She Lies Close by Sharon Doering
|She Lies Close by Sharon Doering|
|Reviewer: Zoe Morris|
|Summary: The mysterious man next door is a worry to new neighbour Grace, but can she trust the police to do their job properly?|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 400||Date: September 2020|
|Publisher: Titan Books|
|External links: Author's website|
Ava Boone was five years old when she went missing, around 6 months ago. There has been no sign of her since, and no arrests have been made. And yet, this book is not about Ava. Not really. This book is about Grace, who has just discovered her neighbour in her new house is a suspect in Ava's disappearance. As a single mother to two young children, she's really wishing this sort of information had come to light before they moved in.
What would you do, in that situation? Treat them as innocent until proven guilty? Try to forget about it? Or spend every waking second obsessing over the mysterious man next door and the dangers he may pose? Grace's interest in Leland becomes all-consuming, but as his presence starts to affect her sleeping and, in turn, her thinking, how much can she really trust her thoughts? What is fact, what is conjecture, and what is simply all in her mind?
This book isn't a psychological thriller in the usual sense, but it is both confusing and compelling, and something about it drew me in after a slow start (well, as slow as rabid bats, swooping in the dead of night can be). You would expect a suspected murderer and child molester to be the most worrying character in a story such as this, but it's Grace who warrants most of the attention, and although she sees some of the things happening to her, we as outsiders see more. As the book goes on, you start to wonder whether the threat to her own children might be even closer than the house next door.
There is a directness to the writing which some may find off-putting. Early on I started at the description of a character who was pleased his daughter had almost aged out of kidnapping but was now worried because she'd entered prime rape age. There are multiple examples like this, along with a smattering of swear words (nothing too bad) and a few rough sex scenes. If this were a film, it wouldn't be getting a PG rating. But, there's enough in between to dampen some of the imagery, and a few heart-warming family scenes thrown in for good measure. Grace is a mother who loves her children, but she's tough, and struggling, and not really a mumsy-mum.
This is not a comforting book, but it is a very interesting one and doesn't leave too much hanging at the end. There are several crimes in the book, and by the end we know what really happened in each case, which is satisfying. While crime is never right, the way things appear in this story, it doesn't exactly seem wrong, either. You understand why it had to be done. You get it.
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