She Lies in Wait by Gytha Lodge #BookReview #BlogTour

Six friends. One killer. Who do you trust?

1983 was the year everything changed. The year they had to grow up.

Because six friends went down to the woods, but one of them never came home.

30 years later, a body is discovered. DCI Sheens already knows what's waiting for him - Aurora Jackson, found at last.

They all claim to be innocent. But she was found somewhere only they knew about.

Everyone's a suspect now.

It's such a pleasure to be hosting the blog tour for She Lies in Wait today. Many thanks to Gytha Lodge and Jenny Platt from Michael Joseph for inviting me and for my advance copy of the novel.

When the remains of a body are found in the woods, DCI Jonah Sheens knows the identity of the victim before forensics are able to formally confirm it. Thirty years earlier he'd also become consumed by the search for fourteen-year-old Aurora Jackson but despite a massive search for the missing teenager, she remained hidden until now. Her last moments were spent with her wild older sister, Topaz and her tight-knit gang of friends who for a time were the coolest group in school; fiercely anti-establishment yet talented, intelligent and wildly popular. In contrast, Aurora was still naive and innocent, they should have protected her but something happened on that fateful trip and she never came home.
The location of her body strongly suggests that at least one of the six must have known how she ended up there but they have spent many years protecting each other's secrets; Sheens and his team face the task of breaking what appears to be their impenetrable bonds to discover the truth. Sheens, however, was a few years above the group at school. He is haunted by his own secrets and memories of that time and is terrified that he will end up being linked to the investigation. He's a fascinating character - driven by a decades-old determination to find out what really happened to Aurora but sharply aware that it might mean the shame he has been carrying for so long is exposed. His new DC, Juliette Hanson is particularly tenacious and she can't help suspecting that her boss knows more than he's letting on.
She Lies in Wait explores the dynamics between two separate groups over the course of the book - the six suspects and the officers assigned to the case. The story mostly set in the present day and follows the investigation into Aurora's death but interspersed throughout are chapters sent in the past which slowly - and with a horribly poignant inevitability - reveal what happened on that fateful night. Sheens' established team consists of Ben Lightman, rigorously meticulous and analytical but apparently emotionless despite his movie star good looks and Domnall O'Malley, the unlikely former military man with a tormented past who prefers to rely on his instinct and fierce intelligence. Juliette is welcomed onto the team but needs to show them and prove to herself what her strengths are.  She proved to be one of my favourite characters, as she becomes increasingly suspicious of her boss, there's the constant question as to where her strong sense of right and wrong will lead her and a face from her past makes an unwelcome return to her life too.
We discover that the six friends - Benners, Topaz, Connor, Coralie, Jojo and Brett were changed forever by Aurora's disappearance, foregoing their previous gregariousness to become private and shut off from the attention of others. Their relationships with one other have evolved over the interim period but they have remained close and are drawn together to protect their secrets once again. The engrossing narrative switches between showing us their current responses to the investigation and their actions back in 1983 meaning that I genuinely had no idea which - if any - of the group were responsible for Aurora's death and as the story unfolds I found myself suspecting each of them at one point or another. When the truth is eventually revealed, it's both shocking and yet somehow bleakly inevitable.
She Lies in Wait is a superbly constructed thriller which really got under my skin and ensured I couldn't stop thinking about the book and its irresistible cast of characters even when I wasn't reading it. Dark, gripping and piercing examination of trust, betrayal and loss, it's hard to believe that this accomplished novel is Gytha Lodge's debut. I loved it and look forward to her next book with eager anticipation.

She Lies in Wait is available now as an ebook and will be published in hardback by Michael Joseph on 21st March 2019. It can be purchased from;

Don't miss the rest of the blog tour, details are below.

About the Author
Gytha Lodge is a writer and multi-award-winning playwright who lives in Cambridge. After studying creative writing at UEA, she was shortlisted for the Yeovil Literary Prize and the Arts' Council England fiction awards, and developed a large online following for her young adult and children's writing, with over five million reads accrued on platform Wattpad. She Lies in Wait is her debut novel.