The Lying Room by Nicci French

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The Lying Room by Nicci French

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Category: Crime
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: Husband -and-wife crime writers Nicci Gerrard and Sean French deliver a stunning psychological thriller. Five of our Bookbag stars and highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 432 Date: October 2019
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1471179235

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When we meet Neve Connolly it's pretty obvious that she has something to hide. She crept into the house after midnight, carefully putting her clothes into the washing machine and she can't wait to get husband Fletcher and children Mabel, Connor and Rory off on their various ways the next morning when she gets a text telling her to come to the flat. He has a few hours to spare and can't wait to see her. Only, when she gets to the flat she finds Saul Stevenson, her boss and lover, dead on the floor. The hammer that's been used on his brain is at his side.

The next step's fairly obvious, isn't it? You ring the police. You might try begging them not to tell your husband, but if they can't oblige then you're going to have to face his reactions. Only... Well, Neve's got other considerations. Her daughter Mabel is mentally fragile. She's supposed to be going to university in a few days' time and nobody in the family knows whether or not she's going and there doesn't seem to be any way into that conversation. A family breakup would undo all the hard work they've put into giving her a stable and loving home background over the last few years. Then there's Fletcher, whose lack of work is leaving his ego feeling a bit fragile and he's been perilously close to depression of late. Neve might have broken her vows, but she doesn't want what might happen to Mabel and Fletcher on her conscience too.

So, what can you do? Well, if you're Neve Connolly you set to and clean the flat thoroughly removing all traces of the lovemaking that she and Saul had enjoyed the night before by washing sheets and putting wine glasses through the dishwasher. By the time she's finished the flat's pristine - apart from the dead body in the middle of the floor, that is. Then you get on with your life and do your best to look surprised when the news of the murder is announced at work. DCI Alastair Hitching senses that Neve knows more than she's telling, and that her story of once having been at the flat to deliver a parcel is not the whole truth. How can Neve steer a course through the mess which she knows is entirely of her own making?

Wow, what a book! I was planning on reading it over a lazy few days, but finished it in less than twenty four hours. Nothing was more urgent than finding out who killed Saul and whether or not Neve could survive unscathed. Oddly enough, this is the first Nicci French book that I've read and I really didn't know what to expect. I was stunned by the characterisation: every one of what seemed like a cast of thousands came off the page perfectly formed. I never had to do any of that annoying flicking back and forth to work out who was who. I particularly liked Neve, prone as she is to making dubious decisions, but I really wanted everything to work out for her - and I really liked Mabel. She's a complex character with fierce loyalties and in a fight you'd be glad to have her on your side.

French can certainly ramp up the tension. I was only a few pages into the book before my heart was in my mouth and I don't think it slowed and returned to position until I turned the final page. The plot is brilliant and totally convincing. It's a great piece of crime writing and I'd like to thank the publishers for letting Bookbag have an advance reading copy.

If this book appeals then you might also enjoy Clear My Name by Paula Daly.

Buy The Lying Room by Nicci French at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Lying Room by Nicci French at

Buy The Lying Room by Nicci French at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Lying Room by Nicci French at

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