REVIEW: SHE LIES IN WAIT, BY GYTHA LODGE

 

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.

 

My Thoughts: In the beginning of She Lies in Wait, a young girl, camping with her family, stumbles upon a concave hideout and discovers a skeleton. The subsequent investigation reveals a thirty-year cold case and the body of a missing teenage girl, Aurora Jackson.

The story spotlights the present and back in 1983, zeroing in on the seven teenagers who were partying with drugs while camping out. The dynamics of the group added information for the investigators.

The constables probe into the past once again, while discovering new suspects in the present.

I liked how multiple perspectives of the detectives and the adult versions of those six remaining teens kept the story moving along, leading ever so slowly toward a resolution of the crime. I liked Jonah the most, and also felt an affinity for the newbie constable, Juliette Hanson, who struggles to do everything correctly, but who is also sometimes quick to judgment.

Slowly unfolding hints of what might lie ahead kept me glued to the pages of this 5 star read.***

REVIEW: I’VE GOT YOU UNDER MY SKIN, BY MARY HIGGINS CLARK

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Laurie Moran has been looking over her shoulder for five years. Her husband Greg was in the park playing with their three-year-old son, Timmy, when he was shot and killed. As the killer, dubbed “Blue Eyes” by Timmy, raced off, he shouted that Laurie was next, and then Timmy.

But Laurie is also absorbed in her career at the TV station, and her father, Leo, a retired cop, has taken on the task of guarding Timmy when she is at work.

Her current project is to bring together the four college graduates who were celebrating, along with numerous others, in the home of Robert and Betsy Powell when Betsy was smothered by a pillow during the early morning hours. The crime was never solved.

The graduates were: Claire Bonner, Betsy’s daughter, and now a social worker; Nina Craig, a divorcee living in Hollywood with her mother Muriel, who was once dating Robert before he married Betsy; Alison Schaefer, a pharmacist in a small pharmacy in Cleveland, who is married to Rod, disabled after a hit-and-run accident destroyed his football career; and Regina Callari, living in Florida, and divorced, with a college son and a small real estate business.

When the women agree to participate in the show, Graduation Gala, with a promise of hefty remuneration from the producers, but largely from Robert Powell, they all come to the small suburban community near Manhattan for the filming of events for the reality TV show.

Behind the scenes is Jane, the loyal housekeeper who has been a significant part of Robert Powell’s life for years. What is behind her obsessive need to please?

As I’ve Got You Under My Skin unfolds, we learn more about each of the characters and how each of them had possible motives for killing Betsy. Their secrets leave them open to blackmail, dirty deeds, and other events that complicate matters, while hovering behind the scenes is a very real threat to Laurie in the form of Blue Eyes, disguised as a gardener. Who is he really, and what is his story?

The story kept me rapidly turning pages, trying to figure out who, if anyone, among the graduates might have done the deed, but there were some red herrings, and others connected to the family that might also be guilty.

Each person’s perspective, including that of Blue Eyes, offers us intriguing layers as we wait to find out the answers. And as the clock ticks, danger mounts. Will Blue Eyes carry out his dastardly plans? Will one of the graduates break down and confess? Or will someone seemingly irrelevant be the killer?

In the end, I was only somewhat surprised by the reveal…and then, in an epilogue, the author ties up loose ends rather quickly, which was nicely done, but somewhat underwhelming. 4.0 stars.