Lydia Fitzsimmons lives in the perfect house with her adoring husband and beloved son. There is just one thing Lydia yearns for to make her life complete, though the last thing she expects is that pursuing it will lead to murder. However, needs must – because nothing can stop this mother from getting what she wants…
Oh my goodness, where to start with this review! This is one hell of a creepy book: from the first chilling sentence, where Liz immediately draws you into the world of the dysfunctional family that are the Fitzsimmons, to the incredibly disturbing final chapter.
Told from the perspectives of Lydia, Laurence and Karen, during three time periods, it charts the impact of a murder. Lydia is one of the killers, Laurence is her son and Karen is the sister of the victim. The first person narrative throughout is flawless and gives each character their clearly distinguishable voice. The class differences between the Fitzsimmons (Lydia and Laurence) and Karen come through clearly. I loved the irony that it is the ordinary, working class family with a disreputable daughter that are far more trustworthy than the upper class, so-called pillars of society.
Through the gradual unfolding of the story we see how truly abhorrent Lydia is. She is jealous, obsessive, manipulative, controlling – basically totally screwed up! There were moments during reading when I would take an intake of breath and whisper “oh my God” to my kindle. The execution of Lydia is fantastic and I reckon that Liz has created one of the most despicable characters of the year. I felt a kind of weird sympathy for her at the beginning, but this slowly changed as the book progressed.
Laurence is unwittingly bound up in his family’s secrets and lies and I really felt for him.
And then there is Avalon…the Fitzsimmons’s family home looms like a spectre in the background becoming almost like a prison to those who inhabit it, such are the secrets that it holds.
This is a family wrapped in lies with a skewed view of what is acceptable. As the secrets unfold it becomes apparent that this family are a psychologists dream! I had no idea how this sordid story would end.
A truly dark, unsavoury tale that is utterly compelling, Liz has written a cracker of a thriller. The ending will haunt you for days to come. Absolutely fantastic and very highly recommended.
Thank you to Liz Nugent, Penguin Random House UK and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Published on 14 July by Penguin Random House.