Title: Lie in Wait
Author: GJ Minett
Published by: Zaffre
Publication date: 25 Aug. 2016
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My goodness me, what a thrill ride this book is! Honestly, the best book I have read in a while and considering the amount I seem to be churning through at the moment that’s no small statement! Lie in Wait is the second novel by GJ Minett – but the first I have had the fortune to read.
The story focuses on Owen Hall, an adult on the autistic spectrum, and his obsession with his ‘childhood sweetheart’ Abi Green – as well as the other terrible cards the guy has been dealt; bullied at school, misunderstood and ignored by his father (because of his obvious difficulties) and fawned over by an overprotective mother. It’s because of these vast differences in his character and his point of view that the reader is often left wondering if Owen Hall is the guy ‘whodunit’ or just an easy and obvious scape-goat for someone else to blame. A question that DI Andy Holloway and DS Horgan have to answer.
The novel is presented in broken narrative; which I felt helped the novel along and certainly added to the twists and turns the plot takes the reader along; but I know it’s not for everyone and those unused to such a way of presenting a story may get a bit confused. The readers starting point is seeing Owen Hall give a woman, ‘Julie,’ a lift somewhere and she disappears while they stop so she can use the bathroom. It all gets a lot more complicated (but easy to follow) from there. It’s not a story that leaves you scratching your head, dumbfounded, thinking ‘What did I miss’ more ‘What does that have anything to do with it?’ Which makes the book a proper page turner. There is a character, Danny, who only has a few sections – each chapter breaks up into different characters view points; something I have gotten used to since reading Game of Thrones, and it took me the longest time to figure out how his dilemma fit into the story as a whole. Some answers take a while to come, but they are there. You just need to be patient enough for them to emerge; but isn’t that the point of a good mystery?
The characters, of which there are more than just the few mentioned above, are very real and this is down to the additional details that are often missed in other novels. Like Abi, for example, getting a DVD for her birthday from her Father-in-Law, Phil, and casually thinking that she could download the series and watch it at any time now or the fact she’d already read a book she’s been brought by him. This makes the whole set of characters a lot easier to both relate to and visualise. There is a scene in which Phil meets with Owen Halls father in the pub which gives detail to Owens childhood and the speech patterns from Owens Father are so captivating and ‘real’ that it had me putting the book down for a few minutes to catch my breath. These might be simply ‘throw away’ aspects to a novel for some people but for me I find it to be real character building which adds tot he drama of a crime thriller; you really get a big picture of who is involved with the story and what they are about – making you care and actually give a damn about what happens to them!
The ending to the book comes full force at you and I couldn’t believe quite how much wrapping up there was to do in the last chapter and while the book itself is a little slow to get going, once it does the break neck pace barely slows a beat. There are a few instances that you’re left to make up your own mind what happened, but these don’t detract from the book as a whole and really, it’s fairly obvious when given some careful consideration. I was pleasantly surprised by this novel, I have had my fair share of bad eggs from kobo and it’s recommendation system and I am eager to read more from GJ Minett.