She Lies in Wait is Gytha Lodge's latest novel. And it introduces us to new series featuring Detective Chief Inspector Jonah Sheens.
I was drawn to the premise of She Lies in Wait. (I also really like the cover!)
1983. A group of teenagers are partying in the woods. Drugs, drink and sex. When morning comes? One of them - Aurora - is missing. And she's not found...for thirty years.
DCI Sheens is assigned the case. He too grew up in the same small town and knows all the players. The six teens have stayed in touch with each other. The discovery of Aurora's body brings them home. Could one of them have information as to who the killer might be? Is it one of them? Has someone lied all these years?
Lodge gives the reader glimpses into the past in a series of flashbacks to that fateful night. It's quite sad, but is quite believable.
None of the remaining six are likeable. I couldn't connect with any of them, including DCI Sheens. He too has secrets. Leads with questionable pasts and methods make for interesting reading, but Sheens' deliberate withholding of information left a sour taste in my mouth. The characters I did quite like were the supporting cast at the police station.
I liked the idea of trying to suss out who amongst the group might be the killer. Lodge throws in some additional choices beside the group of six. Initially I was quite drawn into the interview, keeping mental track of who claimed what. But midway, I found my interest flagging. Lodge does explore the relationships between the six, but I found I couldn't pretend interest in characters I was quickly coming to despise. The ensuing interviews became repetitive. I put the book down for a few days, then came back and finished up. The whodunit ending up being who I thought, the why for additional deaths was too far fetched and I felt no sense of satisfaction with turning the final pages.
Lodge is a good writer, but this plot and lead character were just okay for me. Here's an excerpt of She Lies in Wait.