Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Review: The Lying Room by Nicci French

After finishing her award-winning series featuring psychotherapist, Frieda Klein, author Nicci French has written a standalone novel and Sharon Long is here with her review.

The Lying Room by Nicci French releases October 1st, in Hardcover, by William Morrow publishers. Nicci French is the pen name of an English wife-and-husband team, writers of the internationally bestselling Frieda Klein series. This is their first standalone novel in nearly ten years. 

In The Lying Room, Neve is going through her normal morning routine, making breakfast and preparing lunches for her family. She receives a text with no caller ID, but she knows who it is. It’s from Saul, her lover, asking her to meet him at his flat. Once the children have left for school and Fletcher, her artist husband, has left to try and get another one of his jobs, she takes a hot shower. Neve dresses carefully and takes off on her bike. She arrives at the flat but there is no answer, so she uses her key to enter the apartment. She enters the living room and finds Saul's body, lying face up on the floor. He’s dead. 

She pulls out her phone to dial 999 but hesitates. She sees the remains from their dinner last night, the glasses and the unmade bed. Neve thinks about her family and decides she needs to remove any sign of her having been there. She cleans from top to bottom, washing sheets and towels, running the dishwasher and using bleach and rubber gloves to clean any surface she might have touched. When she has taken out the garbage and is satisfied, she locks the door and leaves. Saul's body is discovered later that day and Police Detective Hitching is assigned to investigate. Hitching is determined to find the killer no matter who that leads her to. 

I loved the twists and turns in this well-written psychological thriller. The characters are well developed, including Neve's children: Rory the sensitive boy, Connor who only likes his computer games, and Mabel the problem child who may or may not be going to college. I enjoyed following Neve through her daily life—work, dropping kids off at school, and her interaction with friends and colleagues who seem to always need her. All the while, constantly worrying and rethinking her cleaning spree. This was a wonderful weekend read which I highly enjoyed. I hope this writing couple does not wait another 10 years for their next standalone!

This book was provided to Mystery Playground by the publisher. The review was fair and completely independent.

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