Editorial Note – I was given a copy of Gytha Lodge’s She Lies in Wait in return for a review.
She Lies in Wait by Gytha Lodge is a compelling first book in a new series featuring Detective Chief Inspector Jonah Sheens. This murder mystery reminded me in some ways of a Dateline episode and I definitely mean that in the best way possible!
The story is about a teen girl, Aurora, who goes missing after a night of partying in 1983. Thirty years later, the discovery of her body reopens a cold case and Jonah Sheens is put in charge of solving it. Back in 1983, Jonah was a young cop in the small town, he had known the teenagers—including Aurora—personally, even before taking part in the search. Now he’s determined to finally get to the truth of what happened that night. Sheens’ investigation brings the members of the camping party back to the forest, where they will be confronted once again with the events that left one of them dead. For more about the synopsis, click here.
Multi perspectives and two timelines
First, let me say there are a quite a bit of characters in this one. However, we mainly follow the story from the perspectives of Jonah and newly hired detective constable (DC) Juliette Hansen. But there’s also the five friends from the night Aurora goes missing and sometimes we read the book in their perspectives, too. The chapters also alternate between present time and the night of the party from mainly Aurora’s viewpoint. Each chapter slowly reveals what happened that night. The author also provides plenty of hints (and also misdirection) regarding the identity of the killer.
The story follows the detectives through their interviews with suspects and witnesses as well as flashback scenes of what took place that night. I liked that this one was more of a straight-up mystery as opposed to a psychological thriller. There’s no alcoholic unreliable narrator in this one.
Not a perfect land but a good start
I was captivated by the mystery and what happened to Aurora. It makes the story even more immediate and impactful by having us read part of the story from her perspective. She’s only fourteen and had so much life to live and she seems to be a kind and intelligent girl. It’s truly tragic what happens to her and I will give a warning there are some graphic scenes involving her, especially toward the end.
There’s also a bit of a mystery of Detective Chief Inspector Jonah Sheens. He knows all the people involved but there are hints something happened in his past where he might be too close to the case to be unbiased. I don’t want to give anything away but there are some odd story choices with that, especially with the fact you know this is the start of a new series. But maybe the idea she planted plays into the next story? Either way, I was a bit perplexed by some of the story choices when it came to Jonah.
Truthfully, the character I was most engaged with was Hansen. She’s also a bit of a mystery but the reader can tell she’s smart and talented at her job. I hope she’s even more of a feature in the next book in the series.
With regards to the group of friends from that night, their relationships all vary and are complex in more ways than they imagine.