Lying in Wait is part psychological thriller and part family drama told across an epic thirty-six year timeline. The dark and chilling tale starts with a young woman being murdered, and follows a chain of events that binds two families together across the decades, shattering their happiness and destroying their relationships.
When Andrew Fitzsimons – a respected judge – and his rather reclusive and snobby wife, Lydia, get themselves into a difficult situation and end up murdering a young woman, Lydia decides it would be safer to bury the body in their garden. But while Lydia is able to move on with her life relatively unaffected, Andrew is haunted by what happened and becomes increasingly troubled.
Lydia’s main priority is their son, Laurence – an overweight teen who gets good grades at school and has just started seeing his first girlfriend. Lydia thinks he’s unobservant and unaware of what’s happened, but she’s wrong. Laurence might not know the details, but he can tell something bad has happened, and in his own quiet way he goes about investigating – to devastating consequences.
It’s hard to review this book without giving spoilers, but what I will say is that it isn’t a who-done-it – the reader knows that right from the opening chapter. It focuses more on the why-done-it and on the what-happened-to-them-after-they-done-it questions. It’s fascinating, and it’s horrifying, as you see the impact of the murder on both families – the Fitzsimons and the Doyles, the murdered woman’s family.
The story is told through three multiple points-of-view: Lydia Fitzsimons, the reclusive wife; Laurence Fitzsimons, her son; and Karen Doyle, the murdered woman’s sister. The narrative is up close and personal – almost like a confessional – and from these three very different characters perspectives the reader gets a fully rounded perspective of how the murder affects both the victim’s and the murderer’s families for many years after it happened.
It also gives you a front row seat to witness their actions, and the consequences of them – often devastating to others and sometimes themselves. And, as you find out more about their history and the events in their life that have brought them to that point and shaped them, you feel a greater sense of empathy or, with one in particular, a growing sense of horror from every revelation.
With a creeping sense of dread that magnifies with every chapter, this is a dark tale of possessiveness, jealousy and manipulation. It reminded me of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca in tone and menace. And be warned, the ending is not for the faint-hearted!