Tuesday, October 1, 2019

The Lying Room

The Lying Room by Nicci French
eBook review copy; 432 pages
ISBN-13: 9780062676726

The Lying Room by Nicci French is a highly recommended murder mystery.

Neve Connolly has a secret: she has been having an affair with her new boss, Saul Stevenson. She had just spent the evening before with him, so when she receives a text early the next morning asking her to come to his apartment, naturally she secretly makes it part of her morning plans. While she knows her affair is wrong, it is an escape from the pressures at home. When she arrives at his apartment, Neve finds Saul has been brutally murdered. Just before calling the police, she pauses and debates what her involvement in the murder investigation will do to her family. Neve decides to clean up the apartment, removing all traces of her from it and their affair, and do nothing, knowing there is a killer on the loose.

When the murder is discovered, Detective Chief Inspector Alastair Hitching visits the work place and talks to everyone there, including Neve. Now the lying game starts. Hitching is clever and Neve needs to stay one step ahead of him, but the investigation and all the interpersonal complications is becoming complicated and involved. Each new lie and revelation causes more complications for Neve.

Neve is a well-developed character, although, for me at least, she started out not very sympathetic after the narrative starts out with her married lover murdered and her covering it up. From that point on the treatment of her as a trusted friend and confidant for many people, as well as a caring mother and wife, took some time to believe. Hitching keeps coming around to question Neve as the web of lies grows and expands, and the melodrama increases with each new chapter.

The action is well paced and descriptive. The writing is good, but seemed to improve as the novel progressed and the complications ensued. I did find it a struggle to keep my interest in the plot at the beginning. Once the narrative reaches the point where more secrets are exposed and the investigation is continuing to include questioning Neve, my involvement and interest in the story line increased. It culminates at the point when Neve begins to feel that she actually can't trust anyone. By the way, there are clues left along the way for astute readers to pick up and heighten interest in the identity of the killer. The denouement is satisfying, but also seems a bit of a stretch.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of HarperCollins.

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