I was surprised to read this was the first Nicci French (Nicci Gerrard / Sean French) standalone novel in 10 years. I’ve got quite a few on my bookshelves so it made me feel a little old. Of course I’ve not really been smitten with the Frieda Klein series, though have enjoyed the last few more than the first couple.
And I really enjoyed much of this novel and (unsurprisingly, cos I’m not great at delaying instant gratification) read it in a sitting. I was a tad disappointed with the end as it felt a little anti-climatic but I’d enjoyed everything that came before.
The Lying Room
by Nicci French
Published by Simon & Schuster UK
on October 3rd 2019
Source: Simon & Schuster
Genres: Psychological Thriller, Thriller / Suspense
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?
We learn of Neve’s secret as the book opens. In fact, it’s not something of which she’s particularly ashamed. And her concern about any fallout centres more around destabilising the recovery of her oldest child, Mabel – who’s overcome drug addiction and depression – than anything else.
We’re then introduced to an array of characters. In addition to Neve’s family – (she has two sons as well as Mabel) and her husband Fletcher, there are three work colleagues with whom Neve’s been friends since University.
I found their relationship quite interesting as all are in different stages of their lives, despite being seemingly similar. The fact they kept so many secrets from each other was also a little telling, although on further contemplation I realised they worried about being judged by their friends, while also wanting to present their best selves. It made me consider the friends in my life and those with whom I’m prepared to let my guard down, knowing I’ll be loved and accepted… no matter what.
This book is very much about secrets. And lying. (Obviously!) If anything though it’s a reminder that keeping secrets isn’t always a good thing and thinking we’re protecting people (for what we think is in their best interests) can often backfire.
This almost felt a little ‘debacle-ish’ towards the end. Seriously, anything that could go wrong for Neve does. I would have fallen in a heap and I couldn’t decide if the fact that she didn’t was a sign of her resilience, or not-entirely feasible. The eventual climax was a little left-field but I’d enjoyed the rest of the book, which was well-paced and kept the action coming, so it was overall an enjoyable read for me.
It’s possibly a book that would appeal to bookclubs as there’s a lot I haven’t mentioned. Infidelity (lots, some discovered, some not; some forgiven, some not), relationship issues – between husbands and wives, parents and children and it would offer up some interesting discussions around friendships.
The Lying Room by Nicci French will be published in Australia by Simon & Schuster and available from 1 October 2019.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.