LYING IN WAIT BY LIZ NUGENT
You’ll know from the very first sentence whether you’re going to enjoy Liz Nugent’s new novel. It’s just got one of those openings: “My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it.” Immediately, you know what you’re in for: murder, rage, and some truly horrifying characters. There’s no mystery surrounding poor Annie’s death, of course. Instead, Nugent explores what happens next. And though Annie’s murder is pretty grim, it’s nothing compared with the horrors that follow. Narrating duties are split between Lydia, the spoilt wife who helps her husband conceal his crime; Laurence, their coddled son; and Karen, Annie’s sister, whose inability to give up on her missing sibling leads her right to their door.
The most interesting of the three, by far, is Lydia: a kind of ’80s soap opera take on the Gothic madwoman in the attic, she’s got an unlimited capacity for self-delusion and a hysterical fixation on social status that makes her morbidly fascinating. Laurence and Karen are rather more sympathetic, which makes the macabre ending all the more grotesque. Misanthropic and darkly funny, this is a book of monsters that will make you wonder what secrets your friendly neighbours might really be hiding.