The Lying Room

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 01 Sep 2019

Member Reviews

Nicci French is excellent at conveying the feeling of being trapped in a situation of ones own making. Often frustrating but consistently captivating I would definitely recommend The Lying Room to anyone who likes this genre.
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A great read. How one life can spiral out of control.. Neve seems to enjoy a relatively normal family life until one tragic situation puts her in the most difficult of positions. Though you know she has done a terrible thing you can't help but root for her. Great characters in both family and friend.  A gripping and fast paced thriller.
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This book was an exceptionally good read. The plot revolved around a unique crime, interesting characters and an overwhelming sense of time running out for the main character. It ended in exactly the right place but I so wanted it to continue. I ended up with my first book hangover of the year after finishing this.
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Slightly slower at times than I was hoping for, this book did deliver when it counted. Lots of twists and turns and a finale that I didn't see coming but, when I thought about it, made perfect sense. Recommended but be prepared for some slow sections where not a lot seems to happen except angst and dithering. Lots of interesting characters whose back stories were explained well and whose presence made sense. I got frustrated at the weakness of Neve sometimes but I think that was the point - she wasn't making superhero decisions and showed herself to be human.
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I haven't read a book by husband and wife team, writing as Nicci French, for far too long so was excited to receive a copy of this one.  I had read some mixed reviews about it so went in with an open mind.

This story gripped me from beginning to end.  There were twists and turns at every corner, and I was clueless about the guilty party right until the moment Neve realised who they were.  Till then, almost everyone was a suspect, as indeed they were to Neve.

Some reviewers have mentioned that they found reading about the minutiae of Neve's life unnecessary and boring, whereas I found them an important part of the narrative as they indicated how Neve's life had to carry on, despite the situation she found herself in.  The mundanities of everyday life contrasted so sharply with what she was having to deal with, and that balance made the storyline even more effective to me. There were things Neve had to do, people she had to care for, even when she had found herself mixed up in a nightmare.  Life goes on!  Also, all the minutiae helped to build Neve's character and gave her considerable depth.

I thought Neve was such a well drawn character, I felt empathy for her despite the fact that I would definitely not have taken many of the major decisions she did.  How boring would books be, though, if we agreed with all the actions taken by the protagonists.  She is flawed, as all of us are.  I thought the other characters were well done, though I would maybe have liked more of a backstory for Mabel, to help me understand the motivation for her actions.  I particularly like the detective, he almost had a Columbo vibe to him, kind of shambling but all there, and not missing a thing.

A thoroughly enjoyable, tense, gripping psychological thriller.
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Fantastic thriller, was an absolute pleasure (and an honour) to read. It's been a long time since I've read Nicci French, and I am so pleased I got this chance. Unputdownable - as expected! 

Full Review: 

The Lying Room by Nicci French, a cracking psychological thriller where the suspect and detective are both desperately trying get one step ahead of the other - oh, the tension was almost unbearable (in a fantastic way!!)  

Married woman and mum, Neve Conolly, is having an affair with Saul, and just before he is due to head out to a conference her lover texts her to say he must see her. When she arrives he's dead. It's definitely murder. And by the look of it, he's not been dead for long. Considering he was meant to be out of town by now, was she the first intended victim? Who sent the text, and why would they have a grudge about her? If not her, why him? 

Oh, there are lots of reasons for someone to hate both of them! 

For starters, as lovely as she is, always at everyone's beck and call to help, not everyone sees her in the same light. Her marriage is on the rocks, one of her kids is out of control and taking up too much of her time, plus Saul was her boss at work, and they've recently been merged with another company, so their jobs are not totally 100% safe. What would it look like if her colleagues worked out she was having a fling with him at such a crucial time in their work lives? 

As you can tell, it doesn't look good! 

From here on, Neve battles with not only her guilty conscious, but how she can't do the right thing without implicating herself further, and decides to cover up any trace of her being there for fear of being accused wrongfully of his murder.  Er, yep, tampering with a murder scene is never wise! 

Of course, her lies always make a habit of coming back to haunt her and the pressure she succumbs to, trying to work out who the real killer is, without getting even more involved herself, is nail-biting! You'll make a lot of assumptions before the truth is revealed. Turns out a lot of people could have had it in for her. A believable, compelling and URGENT story that had my heart racing all the way through to the end! 

Many thanks to Simon and Schuster UK, NetGalley for an ARC, in exchange for an honest review.
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Thanks Netgalley and the Publisher. A standalone thriller from the fabulous Nicci French which had me hooked from the beginning.  Great read
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Neve Connolly is a married graphic designer, household’s provider, as her husband does work from home but no money is coming in from him. Between this, work, her three children, lack of money, Neve injects some unexpected thrill into her life by having an affair with her boss. Once she receives a text from him, in which he asks her to meet in his flat. Only, she finds him dead on the floor, most likely killed with a hammer. In her panic to protect her family from the consequences of her infidelity, she cleans – up the flat to remove all traces of her. And then the waiting starts – was she able to eliminate the evidence? Did she forget something? Yes, she did! She left something in the flat but when she comes back, it’s gone – as well as the hammer!

It was a difficult book, I still – after a bit more than a week after finishing it – am not sure how I feel about it. It started really good and I was truly invested in Neve’s life that was a real drudgery and I felt for her and her situation, then the discovery of Saul’s body, but then the story went downhill, with monotonously describing every single detail of Neve’s life in a tad flat style. There was actually not a lot happening, and the whole atmosphere was one of depression and desperation, and the credibility of the story was… rather doubting. I mean, I think that police should really solve the case in a few hours. The characters were also not too likeable, I had troubles to warm to them and it didn’t happen, and I missed more about the whole thing with Mabel. Neve herself was supposed to be incredibly friendly and warm, everyone wanted to be her friend but I never got why – there was actually nothing in her indicating these attributes. The ending of the book, ie. finding the murderer, it also didn’t sit well with me, I don’t know, I had a feeling that the author has simply lost an idea and took this character, out of the blue, to be the killer. No, I didn’t guess who did it, but the final reveal made me go “erm, what? How come?”

I missed emotions in the writing style. It felt so polished and pedantic, with the author paying a great attention to all of the details, to the point that it was too monotonous, but without feelings, very object – focused. The plot development is immaculate and the tangled web of deceit, lies and revenge is neatly interwoven into it but it is simply to clinical.

It was a story full of lies and misunderstandings, with a few turns and twists but it missed the mark for me. This was my first book by Nicci French but I’ve heard so many great fantastic things about her books, and so I thought, here I am for a treat. And at the beginning it was like this – a shocking, captivating start but in the end there was too much that didn’t work me, sadly.
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A very good read. Had me hooked from the first chapter. I even went on to suggest it to my friends. A good racey dialogue.a very well written book. A few plot twists seemed rather obvious and over used bit there was still a fair amount that kept me guessing. Overall a very enjoyable read.
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This book is a fabulous whodunnits. Considering there is a murder there are parts of this book that made me chuckle. The main character of Neve is fabulous, a Mother Earth type who appears to be loved and trusted by everyone in her open house. There are many highlights for the reader as you discover the personalities of Fletch, Neves husband and Mabel her sometimes evil daughter. This book entertained me until the very end.
This is a great book. Enjoy!
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Nicci French is the queen of the psychological thriller, and The L:ying Room is the latest edge of your seat thriller that won't disappoint fans of this genre. Neve has been having an affair with her boss Saul, and one morning she receives a text asking her to come to his flat. This is unusual as he has never sent a text before. When she lets herself into his flat, she discovers his dead body and a hammer covered in his blood alongside the body. Going into panic mode she cleans the flat and destroys all evidence of her presence there. As Neve tries to carry on with her life, events become all the more mysterious. Her eldest child Mabel has been troubled for some time, and when she discovers the hammer in her room she begins to suspect her daughter is responsible for the murder. As the net closes in and she's questioned by the police, she maintains her secret, but finds out that it's not only her that is covering up the truth. Her friend and colleague Renata, confesses that she had had an affair with Saul. And she also discovers that her husband Fletcher is embroiled in an extra-marital affair. When she finds out that it was impossible that Saul had sent the text that morning, she realises that she was the intended victim and begins to suspect everyone in her life of wanting to end hers. A college reunion brings old friends back into the picture and the story twists and turns until Neve finally realises who is responsible for Saul's death. A nail-biting climax ensues. This story has so many heart-stopping moments that will leave the reader gripped until the last second. A fantastic read!
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The husband and wife duo making up Nicci French was one of the first psychological thriller authors I had read and have long been one of my favourites. It has been quite some time since I have read anything by the duo with the rapid influx of so many other authors now flooding the market, and in my opinion, better. 

So when THE LYING ROOM came up for request I thought it was time I headed back to one of my old favourites. However, I was somewhat disappointed. Maybe the style no longer appeals to me and I prefer the punchier thrillers of newer authors or maybe this book was lacking where previous ones were better - I'm not sure. It's not a bad book, but I don't think it's their best either.

“O, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive!” 

There is no greater truth than those within these lines when it comes to Neve Connolly. She has been married to Fletcher for some twenty years, having met him at university, but has also been engaging in an affair with her boss. When during the usual morning derisive banter she receives a text to meet him at his Covent Garden flat, she does at the first opportunity after sending the children off to school and kissing hubby goodbye. 

But when she gets there, he's dead...laying in a pool of blood with his head caved in. Beside his body is a hammer, the obvious murder weapon. Knowing there are traces of her all over the flat from their clandestine meetings, Neve goes into a blind panic and sets about scrubbing the flat clean of any trace. She strips the bed and throws the sheets in the washer whilst systematically washing dishes, scrubbing floors and wiping down every surface she come into contact with. She removes her clothes, makeup, shampoo, toothbrush, perfume - anything that would indicate she had been there. Tossing everything in bin bags and with a last look at the place, she leaves the flat and tosses the bags in the bins that are emptied daily in this affluent neighbourhood. And only then does she cycle home.

It's not until the middle of the night that she is laying in bed and realises suddenly - her bangle! She had taken it off and left it on the windowsill when washing the dishes. She dresses herself quietly so as not to wake Fletcher and soundlessly leaves on her bike, cycling her way back to the flat. But when she gets there, she cannot find her key. It's not in its usual hiding place and short of breaking the door down, she is left with no option but to return home.

The next day her key miraculously makes an appearance at the bottom of her bag and when she has shunted the boys off to school and Fletcher is seconded to his study to work, she surreptitiously makes her back to the flat and lets herself in quietly. Saul's body is still laying lifelessly, his eyes staring into nothingness. Neve rushes into the kitchen and reaches for her bangle...but it's not there! Maybe she dropped it? Maybe it's in another room? Or did bin it accidentally? But then she notices that something else is missing...the hammer. Someone else has been here. But who? Only the killer would remove the murder weapon...but did they take her bangle as well?

Neve knows she is now in a precariously dangerous situation. Someone knows about her and Saul. Someone is trying to set her up. Or...does someone actually want her dead and they killed Saul instead? It doesn't make any sense. Everyone loves Neve. She's the one everyone goes to, the one everyone gravitates towards, to confide in, to talk to. She's the sensible one. Everyone loves her. So who would want to frame her...or worse yet, kill her?

What ensues is a kind of cat and mouse game with Neve attempting to find out who would want to do this to her and what they hoped to gain from it. She goes around blindly looking for clues while all the while trying to maintain some form of normality at home. But someone knows her secret...and is keeping her secret. And nothing prepares Neve for the shock of discovering who it is. Or why they are keeping her secret.

Neve finds herself up against DCI Hitching's questions on more than one occasion. At first they are just seemingly friendly exchanges but soon turn into more ardent questions, creating a real tension which is palpable. I could almost feel the tension Neve felt whenever Hitching turned up at her house. He was there so often it appeared he must have suspected her as Neve panicked with his every visit. 

But her primary concern was for her somewhat wayward daughter Mabel. Protecting her above all else was matter what the outcome, Mabel must be protected. Although there are times I just wanted to slap Mabel. Her disrespect for her mother was evident, not just in the way she spoke to her but in addressing her as "Neve" rather than "mum"...just as she addressed her father as "Fletcher". That is just disrespectful to your parents to address them as such where I come from, and for that of authority. Mabel's past was alluded to quite often and the trouble she had brought both her parents but it wasn't really explored. I felt that that should have been explained in more detail as part of her backstory.

Told in the third person narrative, THE LYING ROOM is wholly from Neve's perspective. We see the story unfold through her eyes, see what she sees and feel what she feels. But the fact that it is in the third person I would sometimes confuse conversing characters when it would just say "she said" and I found myself re-reading the dialogue to work out which "she" was being referred to. 

And honestly? How one person can survive on so little sleep is beyond me. Neve seems to remain awake all night only to return home and see to her family or the never-ending visitors to their house. All on little to no sleep...and after her own investigations. She would be too emotionally drained to remain upright. 

However, my biggest gripe with the book were the endless chapters. I loathe long chapters and it strikes me as a little odd that authors continue to write such lengthy chapters when readers have stated how much they detest them. I nearly died when I found they were over an hour long! Admittedly, the last few chapters were shorter but most of them were 58 minutes and upwards! That is far too long in my opinion. There were plenty of opportunities to cut each chapter down into shorter, punchier chapters throughout the more lengthy ones and yet they weren't. Shorter chapters are snappier, punchier and easier to pick up and put down for those readers who are too busy for lengthier ones. This fact alone reduces reviewer rating.

THE LYING ROOM is a compelling read but it's not the writing duo's best. There were several points which disappointed me, some of which I can't divulge due to spoilers. But I certainly wasn't satisfied with the ending.

THE LYING ROOM is a slow burning psychological thriller with a strong domestic drama attached to it. It is well plotted and there are several twists to keep you guessing. I especially enjoyed DCI Hitching and his lulling you into a false sense of security. I always felt there was more to him that met the eye, and he was completely likable and fun. It's just a shame there isn't a series featuring him. I found him far more appealing than Neve.

I would like to thank #NicciFrench, #NetGalley and #SimonAndSchusterUK for an ARC of #TheLyingRoom in exchange for an honest review.
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Neve is a mother, a wife, a great friend and great at her job. Everyone loves Neve  and confides in her. But Neve has a secret that she is sure no one knows about - not her husband, her children, or her closest friends.

When Neve gets a text to visit her boss, Saul, early one morning, she arrives to find him murdered. The only problem is that Neve doesn't call the Police or an ambulance, she cleans up the flat instead.

The lies soon spiral out of hand with Neve not sure who to trust or who she is protecting.

A great story, which you won't want to put down.
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My lasting memory of this book is that I couldn’t believe Neve’s reactions to finding Saul, her lover, who is also her boss, lying dead on the floor of his apartment his head framed by a pool of blood, a big hammer lying next to him. She sits down to think what what would happen if she phoned the police – about the effect it would have on her family, but most of all on her troubled teenage daughter, Mabel who has had problems with drug addiction.

So, she does not phone the police. Instead she sets about deep cleaning the whole place to remove any evidence that she has been there, including pulling the sheets off the bed, the cover off the duvet and putting them in to wash, along with towels. But she also took off her bangle, as put on kitchen gloves – and left it there. When she returned to retrieve it, it wasn’t there and the hammer had gone too – who had been in the apartment after she left? 

Neve is an expert liar and the book is full of lies and secrets. It is compelling reading – the tension rises as she lurches from one potentially disastrous situation (largely of her own making) to the next. I found her intensely annoying as her lying leaves her with apparently nowhere to turn – she is stuck in her own web of lies – and wonders who could have killed Saul.

Add in Detective Chief Inspector Alastair Hitching, who turns up repeatedly in Colombo-style asking her more questions and Saul’s wife, Bernice, who tells her she knew her husband had been having an affair and asks her if she knows who it might have been with. Neve wonders whether Bernice was really asking for her help or telling her that she knew it was her. All the time she is terrified, desperate to keep her affair a secret.

I enjoyed this book, once I’d suspended my disbelief at the implausibility of Neve’s actions. But I would have loved it if some of the detail of the routines everyday life had not been so overwhelming present all the time. There are a lot of characters and along the way I suspected that many of them could have been the killer, except for the real culprit, which in a way was both satisfying and an anti-climax. So, I have mixed feelings about this book – I enjoyed it but at the same time I thought it rather far-fetched and too long, with many passages devoted to unnecessary detail that slowed down the action.

Many thanks to Simon and Schuster UK  for an e-book review copy via NetGalley

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I have only read a few books by Nicci French but I have to say that I would thoroughly recommend this one. It is an old fashioned who done it that was difficult to predict. The reader is with the lead character all of the way through the story.
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A real nail biting read which has you on the edge of your seat from the very first page.
A lot of twist and turns and just when you think you have solved the murderer a spanner is thrown in the works and you are back to the beginning again. Great read can’t recommend it enough.
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After ploughing their recent efforts into furthering their Frieda Klein series, the husband and wife writing partnership are back with a new standalone psychological thriller, The Lying Room, which had me on tenterhooks from the opening couple of pages and held my attention for the entirety of the novel. It follows married Neve Connolly who is far from a saint given that, amongst other things that come to light during the story, she is having an extra-marital affair with her boss. When he is found brutally murdered the finger is pointed squarely at Neve; after all, she was the person who discovered his body and she stupidly decides to scrub every inch of the swanky Covent Garden flat in which Saul had resided. Believing she could do a better job than police she begins her own investigation into who battered Saul to death and why.

I loved Neve as a character purely because she is not fully good or bad; she falls into the complex grey area that most humans fall into. She isn't the most likeable of people, however, but at least she has a certain amount of integrity in terms of wanting to solve the case. It's very cleverly plotted, full of superb twists and turns, and compulsive as well as totally gripping. This is a difficult book to put down once you've picked it up and each chapter tempts you to read just one more. With every turn of the page, the tension is ratcheted up and the atmosphere rapidly becomes intense and all-consuming. Towards the conclusion the frustration and annoyance I felt for Neve turned to sympathy as her life unravels before our very eyes. Many thanks to Simon and Schuster UK for an ARC.
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I usually love anything written by Nicci French, but this time I was disappointed.  I found this book overlong, with too much unnecessary detail about the minutiae of life.   I liked the character of Neve but found some of the things she did totally unbelievable.  The rest of the characters were mostly quite unpleasant!  The policeman seemed like he was based on Colombo because he kept popping up in Neve's life at random moments.

The story itself was interesting though, and I didn't guess who the killer was.
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After reading the synopsis for The Lying Room, I was immediately interested, and had pretty high expectations for this book. After reading it, I can honestly say that it actually exceeded all of my expectations.

From the very beginning, this story had me completely hooked. The tension in the story builds and builds, until it is impossible for you to put the book down. The Lying Room is incredibly well written, and has you looking in every direction as to who the murderer really is, but the real killer turns out to be someone you would never have expected.

The characters are all very well written, and explored in depth. Each character has their own individual, and interesting personality, each one being enjoyable to read. Mabel in particular is excellently written, showing the struggles and emotions of a teenager who is really struggling. The way Nicci French made Mabel’s struggles affect those around her was extremely accurate, and relatable, making you feel all of those emotions that the characters were feeling. There were also aspects of Neve’s character that were very relatable. For example, it is so easy to get yourself stuck in a routine, and just feel as though you are going through the motions of every day life, and I don’t think this is talked about enough, so I am glad that the team behind Nicci French included this in Neve’s character.

The Lying Room is an excellent story, which highlights the effects secrets and lies can have on your life, and the people around you, and how they can twist into something a lot more serious and dangerous. If you are looking for a well paced psychological thriller, that will have you gripped from the start, then look no further. Although this was my first time reading anything by Nicci French, it definitely will not be my last.

Thank you to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster UK for my copy, in exchange for an honest review.

I give The Lying Room a 5/5 rating!
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At the start of The Lying Room it is easy to think this is a typical murder intrigue and that you have a  pretty good idea what has happened & by who - you will be wrong. As you read on your thoughts on what has happened change but you still think you can guess the ending - wrong again. The story twists and turns around the main character, Neve, and her relationships with family, friends and the detective in charge of the investigation. At times you wonder if anyone would actually do what she does but her it is her desire to protect her family that drives her on as she gets deeper in to the lie.

A perfect book for reading as the nights get longer.

I was given an advance copy of The Lying Room by NetGalley and the Publishers in return for an unbiased opinion.
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