She Lies in Wait by Gytha Lodge

Six friends. One killer. Who do you trust?

Six friends go down to the woods.

But one never comes home.

She Lies in Wait by Gytha Lodge

Genres: Mystery, Crime
Published: 8th January, 2019
Series: DCI Jonah Sheens #1
Rating: 4

On a scorching July night in 1983, a group of teenagers goes camping in the forest. Bright and brilliant, they are destined for great things, and the youngest of the group—Aurora Jackson—is delighted to be allowed to tag along. The evening starts like any other—they drink, they dance, they fight, they kiss. Some of them slip off into the woods in pairs, others are left jealous and heartbroken. But by morning, Aurora has disappeared. Her friends claim that she was safe the last time they saw her, right before she went to sleep. An exhaustive investigation is launched, but no trace of the teenager is ever found.
Thirty years later, Aurora’s body is unearthed in a hideaway that only the six friends knew about, and Jonah Sheens is put in charge of solving the long-cold case. Back in 1983, as a young cop in their 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’s 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, and all of them profoundly changed forever.

I have a soft spot for stories that run on parallel timelines. When it comes to murder mysteries, seeing how the events unfold in the past gives an additional layer to the narrative.

From the moment Aurora’s body was found, the chapters alternated between the present, and that fateful day in 1983 when the young girl met a gruesome end.

She Lies In Wait is heavily focusing on the investigation and police procedures. The team, lead by DCI Jonah Sheens are a bunch of diligent detectives, and their personalities and skills complemented each other brilliantly. Above it all, they are all real people with real problems, from stalking exes to ailing mothers, they have their fair share of worries.

Jonah Sheens feels personally involved in Aurora’s case; he and the six teenagers who were with the missing girl all went to the same school, attended the same parties back then. This could easily cloud anyone’s judgement, but not Jonah’s. Even though there are things in his past that may come and bite him in the ass, he doesn’t shy away from digging deeper and deeper.

The six teenagers, including Aurora’s sister Topaz (great name btw), are all in their forties now. You’d think after a drug fuelled party they will surely not remember a thing, but memory is a funny thing. As Jonah slowly teases out more and more details, their allegiances shift, and soon fingers starting to point in different directions.

This book is not a fast paced page turner. It’s more like a puzzle with its tiny pieces scattered all around in time and space. A slow burning, layered story about grief, loss, and people who use their skills and wit to solve a seemingly unsolvable case.

Who is Gytha Lodge?

Gytha Lodge is a multi-award-winning playwright, novelist and writer for video games and screen. She is also a single parent who blogs about the ridiculousness of bringing up a mega-nerd small boy.

She has a profound addiction to tea, crosswords and awful puns. When not writing, she heads up a copywriting team at a global translation firm, where she generally tries to keep all the video-game writing to herself.

She studied English at Cambridge, where she became known quite quickly for her brand of twisty, dark yet entertaining drama. She later took the Creative Writing MA at UEA.

She has signed with Penguin Random House worldwide for the first three books in her crime series featuring DCI Jonah Sheens. She Lies in Wait will be released in January 2019.

Thank you Jenny Platt from Michael St Joseph’s for inviting me to the blog tour!


    1. I really liked it. Saw the reviews that were kind of meh, and maybe i’d agree with the ones that said there were not that many details about the characters if it was a standalone, but as it’s a series, i’m fine. 🙂 Can’t wait to meet these people again.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Oh, oh, pick me, I want to read this one. I so love this kind of shady memory murder-mystery, like a locked room murder. You have to wait till all the pieces begin to fall into place and, when done well, can be a really twisted fun read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cold cases always make me wonder… they seem impossible to solve after 30 years, but based on the documentaries i’ve seen i know they still sometimes work out and people remember more than they think.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ooh I was looking at this one the other day, almost bought it (not gonna lie, that misty cover always gets me- I’m a sucker for those). It does look like a slow burn, which I generally like, but it does look like a procedural more than a thriller, so I kinda held off. I’m still super curious though,a and your review has me thinking I’d like it. 🙂

    And Topaz is an awesome name lol!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ohh this looks right in my alley !!
    Adding to the virtual tbr — not sure however how confusing or not the “back in time” would be for me.. alsokinda remind me of “In a dark dark wood” somehow XD

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, yes a bit similar. In a dark dark wood the main character doesn’t remember stuff and in this one it’s been such a long time, etc.
      I think the time switch was really well done, and the past was “during the event” and the present was more traditional investigation.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a mood thing.
      Sometimes i just want a story that is creepy and some scary stuff happens to normal people. Like for example most of Mark Edwards’ books.
      But other time i feel like i need some investigation + detective action.
      So i guess, the short answer is, no i don’t really have a preference 😀
      Do you?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I would impulsively answer police procedurals cause my last experiences with psychological thrillers brought me to realize a pattern in a lot of the stories and an odd lack of male protagonists in that genre (what’s your hypothesis on why psychological thrillers mostly have female leads who are emotionally unstable? 😂) But then again, there’s a common formula in police procedurals too. I guess its my love for Holmes, Poirot and alike that brings me to say that hahah

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Ah, lol, true. I guess traditionally dudes arenta supposed to freak out…
          Mark Edwards does have male protagonists who go through suspenseful stuff, and have mental breakdown and such. Magpies is the best example.

          Liked by 1 person

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