ShortBookandScribes #BookReview – The Lying Room by Nicci French #TheLyingRoom
I am so pleased to be reviewing The Lying Room by Nicci French today. What a book! I loved it. My thanks to Jess Barratt from Simon & Schuster for sending me a lovely proof copy of the book for review purposes.
Neve Connolly looks down at a murdered man.
She doesn’t call the police.
‘You know, it’s funny,’ Detective Inspector Hitching said. ‘Whoever I see, they keep saying, talk to Neve Connolly, she’ll know. She’s the one people talk to, she’s the one people confide in.’
A trusted colleague and friend. A mother. A wife. Neve Connolly is all these things.
She has also made mistakes; some small, some unconsciously done, some large, some deliberate. She is only human, after all.
But now one mistake is spiralling out of control and Neve is bringing those around her into immense danger.
She can’t tell the truth. So how far is she prepared to go to protect those she loves?
And who does she really know? And who can she trust?
A liar. A cheat. A threat. Neve Connolly is all these things.
Could she be a murderer?
The Lying Room is, I think, the first Nicci French book I have read and it’s also easily one of the best books I have read this year. It’s a gripping story, a domestic noir that I was completely enthralled by.
Neve Connolly is a wonderful character. She’s the sort of person everyone is drawn to, the hub of everything. The book begins with the most ordinary of days and Neve can have no idea that by the end of that day her life will have been turned upside down. She tries to hold everything together, her family life, her work, her friendships, and it drives her almost to breaking point.
I’m being deliberately vague about what happens to Neve; the blurb doesn’t give it away so I’m certainly not going to, but this is just a perfect storyline. There’s nothing outrageous or bizarre about it, Neve is an ordinary woman going about her ordinary life and she really doesn’t expect to find herself in the situation she does.
I didn’t want to put this book down at all. It completely drew me in, not only to Neve’s predicament but also the minutiae of her day to day life and the juggling act she performs. I said before that people gravitate to her and at one point it was almost farcical as she couldn’t seem to get rid of the numerous friends hanging around her house.
For me, this is a masterclass in plotting. I know the authors plot their books very carefully and their meticulous attention to detail absolutely shines through. No small detail is overlooked or is unnecessary to the story, each either building up a picture or drip-feeding to the reader the things they need to know. I do love a good domestic noir and The Lying Room is more than good, for me it’s outstanding, the authors working in perfect harmony to produce a very honed story.
Normally I like short chapters and this book has very long ones. I didn’t care a jot, there could have been no chapter breaks as far as I was concerned. I didn’t need the fast pace to keep my interest; the writing, the plotting and the characters did that all by themselves. It’s a family based story as much as a thriller or murder story and that’s probably why I loved it so very much.
In case you were in any doubt, I would most definitely recommend this book. It’s a very human story, with so much to offer the reader.
Nicci French is the pseudonym for the writing partnership of journalists Nicci Gerrard and Sean French. The couple are married and live in Suffolk. There are twelve other bestselling standalone novels by Nicci French: The Memory Game, The Safe House, Killing Me Softly, Beneath the Skin, The Red Room, Land of the Living, Secret Smile, Catch Me When I Fall, Losing You, Until It’s Over and What To Do When Someone Dies, plus eight in the Frieda Klein series.