Lie Beside Me
Louise wakes up, hungover. Again. She’s in the right bed, but with the wrong man by her side, and he’s oh so dead.
Musician Louise Reakes wasn’t always a drunk. Her dependence on alcohol started as a way of subduing her nerves at a wedding where she met her best friend and her husband, Niall. Last night she was definitely that effervescent drunk Louise, but today she has woken up to find snow on the ground and blood in her bed. Not to mention a dead man she has never seen before lying next to her.
Another blackout, another loss of too many hours of her life. But this blackout is not one she can hide behind sunglasses and painkillers because Niall is due home in a few hours after an overseas conference. Terrified, Louise drags the stranger’s body into her garden and calls the police.
Jonah Sheen of Southampton police guides his team through the investigation with the backing of dependable DS Ben Lightman and DC Juliette Hansen, amongst others. Each member of the team comes with insights and ways of pushing the investigation forward, sometimes belatedly, and each is weighed down with their own baggage.
Louise soon becomes the prime suspect. But every player is hiding something, and other suspects soon creep out from under their rocks…
Lie Beside Me explores some powerful topics, including addiction and intimidation, but characters make a story, and the ones in this book felt flat, their time on the page often dull and lacking balance, not helped by similarity in names and a lack of individuality. I didn’t even realise this was the third book in the Jonah Sheen series until well into the story.
Lodge aims to show that the investigators have lives outside work, but other than Juliette Hansen, they come over as little more than names on the page. And even Juliette’s story reduces her to yet another female victim.
An interesting premise lost its way in a plethora of twists and plot-holes and I was left with the feeling too many ingredients had been thrown into the mix with no regard for the principle that sometimes less is more. There were drunken moments, self-pitying soliloquies, unreliable characters, numerous perspectives, red herrings, chapters, redundant characters, lies, melodrama, and an over-abundance of characters. Sadly, my attention wavered and I lost investment.
Reviewed 29 April 2023 by
Kati Barr-Taylor lives in her
‘cosy pigsty’ in the Dordogne. She satisfies her literary cravings by
translating, writing, editing and reading.