Cover Image: Lie Beside Me

Lie Beside Me

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Member Reviews

Having read the first 2 books in the series, I was excited for another installment of the DCI Sheens series. It did not disappoint. The points of view continued to build on the mystery and added twists and turns throughout. It is not necessary to read the novels in order so anyone could pick up this book and have it be enjoyable.
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I didn’t know it at the time of reading and I just noticed that this book is part of a series - DCI Jonah Sheens #3. This is how a book series should be written because I wasn’t lost or wondering about a certain character nor I was confused with the story setting. When you read the synopsis you’ll feel the tense and have a general idea how this story is going to be. Believe it, its true!! The suspense and tense is kept till the end of this crime fiction. I honestly haven’t read a police procedural story this good in a while. The author deserves more recognition and this definitely is a series to watch out for!! 

Thank you Random House via Netgalley for the arc.
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So this one was just not for me. 

There were so many characters to keep up with, and the investigators did not have distinct enough personalities to distinguish from one another. I might have felt differently if I'd read the first two books in the series.

I didn't care for Louise's "letters" to her husband, which switched to past perfect, just threw me off. They were melodramatic.

When the story finally began to ramp up so the reader can learn who the murderer is and why, it was just out of left field and totally random. And there were more lies and twists involving the MC's husband, the victim's partner, and the MC's best friend. And that's besides all the plot surrounding the investigators.

The bones of the premise? So much potential. Lie Beside Me was a lot.
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I could sum this book up in one sentence- if someone always pushes you to do things you know you shouldn’t, that person is not a good choice for best friend. If you feel your life is boring taking a 180 degree turn is not advisable. I had a hard time feeling an empathy for the lead character. Watching her throw away her life did not make for an appealing story.
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Louise wakes up in the middle of the night cold and thirsty from a long night of drinking and curls up against her husband and finds he is all wet so Louise turns the light on and finds not her husband but the dead body of a man she doesn't know covered in blood.   Louise panics and knows she has to get the body out of the house before she calls the police and her husband because if her husband finds out there was a man in her their bed it will be the end of their marriage.   Unfortunately Louise doesn't have.any memory of any of the events that took place lat night since she was probably in one of her blackouts again after a heavy night of drinking with her best friend April.   Louise is a very gentle woman, could she have really killed a large man and not remember any of the events of the evening?   How will Louise explain any of this to the police and her husband?   Before long the police are knocking at the door and Louise will now be in  a fight for her life and her marriage.

This was a twisty and clever police procedural story but the real star was Louise, herself.  Louise is struggling with alcoholism denial and a marriage filled with secrets and lies.   The police have a hard time believing Louise and her lack of memory especially when she tried to unsuccessfully hide the body and lie about the details of finding a stranger in her bed.   This book is one in a series involving Jonah Sheen and his small but terrific team as they work by the book step by step, hand in hand to find the killer (or killers) responsible for brutally taking the life of an innocent man or could this be a case self-defense and the man attacking an innocent woman.   There are so many twists and possible suspects in this story that I couldn't wrap my head around who the killer really was and every person involved was keeping big secrets and the lies continued throughout the story.   Louise was a wonderful central character who needed help and was all alone trying to find her way out of the darkness that surrounded her a marriage that had fallen apart.   I really enjoyed this book and recommend to any reader who enjoys police procedural or just a good mystery with many surprises from beginning to end.   This can be read a  a stand-alone story even though it is part of a series.

I want to thank the publisher "Random House Publishing Group -Random House" and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this terrific book and any thoughts or opinions expressed are unbiased and mine alone!

I have given a rating 4 Blackout 🌟🌟🌟🌟 Stars!!
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Louise Reakes is socially awkward and often finds herself standing on the edges of gatherings waiting until she can make an escape. That changes when she meets two people at a friends wedding where she meets two people who will change her life- April who will become her best friend and Niall who she married. Louise was never a drinker but April brings out a new side to her and she soon embraces “ Drunk Louise” who seems to be more charming, at ease and outgoing than Louise is normally.  It soon is out of control and culminates when Louise wakes up with a dead man beside her and no memory of who he is or how he got there.  
This is the third on a series and although it can be read on its own, there are backstories that you will not be privy to if you haven’t read the first two.  It is told between the viewpoint of a letter that Louise is writing to Niall and the investigation. I found it a bit slow going and there are a lot of characters and side stories that cause the story to lag or veer off course. It is a police procedural so you follow along as they discuss theories and follow up on leads. I think the character of April was truly interesting and would have liked to know more about her.  This was well written but a bit slow for me.
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Gytha Lodge
Random House
ISBN-13: 978-1984818102
Trade Paperback

LIE BESIDE ME by Gytha Lodge is the third of what has become known as the “DCI Jonah Sheens series,” after Detective Chief Inspector Jonah Sheens of the Southhampton, England, police force. Sheens is first among equals in this presentation of ensemble police procedural novels, though a great deal of focus is placed upon the other members of the squad, particularly Constable Juliette Hanson, on professional and personal levels. The real prize besides the sharp characterizations in LIE BESIDE ME, however, is the puzzling mystery at the core of the plot, which will keep readers turning pages rapidly and incessantly. 

The majority of LIE BESIDE ME is told in the third person past tense. The exception is the intermittent presentation of a journal which is a work in process by Louise Reakes, who is the primary suspect in the murder which propels the story. As we come to learn from the lady herself, she has two personas, those being “ and “Drunk Louise.” It is the latter whom the reader first meets in a somewhat grisly tableau, wherein Drunk Louise awakens early one morning after a besotten night before. Drunk Louise believes that she has awakened next to Niall, her husband. She is wrong. Louise has no idea of who the man is who is lying dead --- murdered --- next to her in the marital bed. Louise calls the police, but not before moving the body and trying to cover up his presence, dead or alive, in her home. While the members of the Sheens’ team may or may not have been born at night, they weren’t born last night, and they find in very short order that the corpse was originally in Louise’s bed. Louise, is as manifestly obvious from the beginning, is a train wreck, and her inability to remember precisely what occurred in the hours leading up to her discovery of the dead body in her bed does her no favors. The investigators discover two things in short order. The first is that the name of the deceased is Alex Plaskitt and the second is that it is highly unlikely that his presence in Louise’s bed was for the purpose of a one-off. While Louise is obviously the primary suspect in Alex’s murder, other suspects abound. Lodge obviously had a great deal of fun designing a puzzle that toys with the reader’s expectations as suspicion frog-hops across a pristine pond of a story, from one character to the next. Louise’s journal, which is a long letter to her husband, does little to exonerate her or explain how she became involved in the proceedings. As her memory of the fateful evening comes back in fits and starts, however, some of the expectations and conclusions previously made by both the police and the reader are upended, creating an “if not her, then who?” situation. All is ultimately answered with a satisfying ending with an element of potential redemption. 

LIE BESIDE ME combines elements of police procedure with classic mystery while throwing plenty of twists, turns, and surprises into the mix. While the ultimate solution is not one of my favorite mystery elements, what went before is so entertaining that I didn’t mind at all, or at least hardly. There is also an unresolved issue or three involving the personal lives of three of the characters that will undoubtedly play out over the course of the next installment(s) of the series, providing an added reason to put Lodge on your must-read list. And...I would be remiss if I did not gratefully note that Lodge in LIE BESIDE ME provides a helpful “Glossary of British Policing Terms,” most of which define the plethora of acronyms that one might find in a British police procedural novel. Many might know some or most of the meanings, but many don’t. A tip of the fedora is in order, as is my recommendation for reading this fine work. 

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
© Copyright 2021, The Book Report, Inc. All rights reserved.
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I enjoyed this suspensful thriller.  This is a well written story that pulled me in to the story from the beginning.  I enjoyed how the the author's attention to detail made the story feel realistic.  The characters are great and and storng.  They made the story engaging and truly made the story for me.  This is a story about what happens when you wake up next to a dead body.  She has no memory and struggles to remember.  Who is this man and what happened to him?   I found this story to be full of action and twists and turns that kept me turning pages.  You don't want to miss this thriller, it is worth the pick up.  I highly recommend this book.
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Lie Beside Me by Gytha Lodge is a highly recommended police procedural and the third novel featuring DCI Jonah Sheen.

Louise wakes up with a hangover after a night of drinking with her friend April and instead of finding her husband Niall next to her, she discovers a dead man she does not know in her bed. Drunk Louise is fun Louise, but Drunk Louise also makes bad decisions and poor choices. Drunk Louise first emerged on the day Louise met Niall and her best friend wealthy American April Dumont. Sober Louise moves the body out to her front yard and calls the police. Jonah Sheen and his team, DC Juliette Hanson, DS Domnall O'Malley, and Ben Lightman, are on the case. The man is identified as fitness instructor Alex Plaskett, who is married to Issa Benhawy. Louise is the prime suspect. As they work the case the team also has their own personal issues and problems.

In the narrative between chapters covering the investigation, Louise writes a letter to her husband, which provides the back ground information on their relationships and the problems and struggles they have encountered. As the evenly paced plot unfolds, the case pointedly becomes less straightforward as the investigation uncovers more information, secrets are exposed, and more suspects emerge. At the same time Hansen is being harassed and stalked by a man she was in a relationship with previously.

The writing is quite good. Lie Beside Me is very successful as a procedural since it keeps you guessing about what really happened as the list of suspects increases and more evidence is uncovered. The twists are real as more information is discovered. The less successful part is the rather nonchalant way Louise's drinking problem is reduced to "Drunk Louise" versus "Sober Louise." I found it a rather offhand way to portray someone with a drinking problem. 

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Penguin Random House.
The review will be published on Barnes & Noble, Google Books, and submitted to Amazon.
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Holy bunch of suspects! 

This is a police procedural with lots of suspects, lots of police (the British equivalent), and a lot of secrets. The story is told in not quite alternating chapters, wherein Louise is writing a letter to her husband to explain her actions and feelings before and since finding a bloodied, and decidedly dead, man in her bed. The other chapters cover a lot of ground, playing out multiple storylines that include the police (mainly Juliette Hansen), Louise, and her best friend, April. It turns out Louise isn't the only one with big troubles; however, she is the only one through most of the book that spends some time in jail!  

It doesn't help Louise's case that she gets blackout drunk often and has huge lapses in memory, particularly on the night in question.  Nor does it help when almost everyone involved with the dead man are acting suspiciously, each for their own reason.  

Despite this being the third book in a series, I read it as a stand-alone and the characters were well developed. There was a bit of confusion as sometimes first and/or last names were used (e.g., Juliette/Hansen, Jonah/Sheens and it would have been good to have some dividers or extra spaces to indicate when the author was hopping to a new scene within a chapter, but it was a fun, intricately plotted read, so I am rounding up to 4 stars. 

Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group for an advanced reader's copy for review.

Note: Amazon would not approve this review :-0
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I loved this book. It had all the things you want in this type of book. It had good characters and plot with enough twists to keep you reading. Well done!
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4 1/2 stars!  This is a psychological thriller that takes you on a convoluted ride full of twists and turns.  Louise, who finds herself in an unbelievable situation after a night of drinking and blacking out captured my heart right away and was the driving force of the book.  Love the way her story emerges as her memory of the events oh so slowly return.  This is part of a series but not having read the previous two books never interfered with the storyline.  I will definitely be reading the other two as I immensely enjoyed this read.  The detectives and their interactions with each other were interesting but Louise’s story was so fascinating it definitely took over the book in my opinion.  There were a few transitions between characters and their storylines that were confusing requiring me to reread to follow whose thoughts or actions were being represented but overall a most engaging read.  The conclusion was a total mix of “I thought so” and total surprises.  Many many kudos to Gytha Lodge, Michael Joseph books, and NetGalley for affording me the pleasure of reading an arc of this just recently published book.  This would make a phenomenal movie!
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Lie Beside Me is the third book in the DCI Jonah Sheens series. While like many Adult Mysteries this series doesn't necessarily need to be read in order, I would recommend it, due to background information for the detectives. However, any of these books would also make great standalone mysteries. I feel like once you read one, though, you'll want to read them all!

With her husband away on business, Louise Reakes gets together with her best friend, April. The women tend to hit the sauce hard when they're together, something Louise has been trying to break away from. Upon groggily opening her eyes in the morning, Louise knows she failed in that regard. She's hungover as heck and is surprised to find a male body in the bed with her. It's not her husband.

Further inspection reveals the bed is soaked with blood. The man is dead! Thus begins the confusing and complicated mystery as to who this man is and more importantly, how he ended up dead in Louise's bed.

By the time DCI Jonah Sheens and his team are called to the murder scene, the body is out in the front garden. Louise tells them she stumbled upon the body as she went outside to grab milk from the stoop. This deception immediately starts the investigation off on the wrong foot.

Told through multiple perspectives, including Louise's epistolary-style recounting of her life with her husband, Niall, up through the night of the horrific crime, was incredibly interesting. I loved the way Lodge pieced this all together. It felt slow-burn, but in the best way. It kept me guessing until the very end. I thought it was one thing, then, nope, not that.

Then I really thought it was the other thing and I was sort of mad it was that thing, but nope, not that thing either. Then this other thing and I'm like, okay, okay, okay, this is it. Then it sort of was, sort of wasn't. It was a ride!

As always, the police procedural aspects were great. I love this team and how well they all work together. Their personalities are so complimentary to one another. From the conclusion of this one, I am going to guess there will be more to come in this series and I'm so excited for it!

This is my favorite current Police Procedural Mystery series. I love how layered Lodge makes her stories; not to mention nail-bitingly disturbing. If you are looking for a new Mystery series to get into, I highly recommend this one. Thank you so much to the publisher, Random House, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

I really appreciate it and cannot wait for the next book!!
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I received an advanced reader copy of Lie Beside Me from Random House Publishing Group via NetGalley, in return for my honest opinion.

Lie Beside Me by Gytha Lodge is a story about our personal secrets that we hide from those that we’re closest to. After a night out with her best friend, Louise Reakes wakes up next to a dead man in her bed that isn’t her husband. For the past few years, Louise has had two personas- Drunk Louise and Sober Louise. While Drunk Louise is fun and outgoing, she’s causing problems in Louise’s marriage and Sober Louise is tiring of keeping up the pretense of Drunk Louise.

DCI Jonah Sheens and his team are investigating the cause of death of this man and the events leading up to his death. The more information that these detectives uncover, the longer their list of suspects becomes with Louise and her husband, Niall, their prime suspects.

This was a fast, easy, police procedural story filled with twists up until the end. Lie Beside Me is available now.

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It's been hard for me to muster as much enthusiasm for this novel as I did for the two earlier books in the series. And, no -- it's not that most of the characters were profoundly unlikable (although they were: The only cast member I could've rooted for was the victim, whom we meet -- dead -- in the opening passage.)

The other person we meet at the outset is Louise, in bed with the dead man. She's married, but not to this man, whom she doesn't know. Interwoven with Louise's story are the back story of the murder victim (because -- yes, he'd been stabbed); and the ongoing sagas of the team of detectives led by Jonah Steens.

Among many of Louise's problems (including an insecure, narcissistic, and whiny husband) is that she's a blackout drunk, who can recall nothing of the evening before. She is overly dependent on a friend who raises gale-force warning flags to the reader, and she maintains a dissociative diary in which she talks about two personalities (herself and drunk Louise.)

Gytha Lodge is very good at suspense. She's good at dialogue. What I really wanted was more evidence of care and control. In the first book of the series, I found countless examples of sloppy word choice (which, to be fair, should have been caught by a book editor). In this one, it a feeling of rambling, of looseness, of a reluctance to sacrifice any words to tighten the pace.

Now, maybe -- in a complex, knotty plot like this one, a writer is loath to lose her readers, so she leaves it a bit wordy to carry them along. You can either trust or insult the intelligence of your audience.

Thanks to NetGalley and Random House for an advance readers copy.
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Louise wakes up after a night of heavy drinking to find a dead man beside her in bed. He is not her husband Niall. In fact , she has no idea who he is. And she has no memory of the night before. In a panic she moves the body to her front garden before calling the authorities. It's no surprise that she finds herself the prime suspect in the murder. 
Who is this man? Does she know him and just can't remember? Could she possibly have killed her himself? 
As her memories start to come back in pieces she has more questions not less.
This book is part three in a series. I have not read any of the other books and found it interesting without any prior knowledge to characters in the book. Although Louise is hard to like at times, I was still invested in finding out the truth.
A good mystery and police procedural.
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While this had a really interesting premise - a woman wakes up next to a murdered man with no knowledge of who he is - I didn’t find the rest of the book anywhere near as original and compelling as the previous two novels in the series. Don’t get me wrong, it was still a decent crime thriller but, for me, too much of the plot was reliant on the central character’s constant inability to remember literally anything, courtesy of frequent drunken blackouts. And the ending also grated, with a rushed last two chapters which tried to tie up all the loose ends in a really spurious fashion (including a cod-psychology rationale for the perpetrator’s actions which took just two sentences to rattle off). Not a bad read if you fancy a paint-by-numbers police procedural but sadly lacking the spark of its predecessors
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Lie Beside Me is the latest story by Gytha Lodge. I enjoyed the story and mystery but it took me quite awhile to get into the story. There are a lot of characters and side stories to keep straight. I want to thank NetGalley and Random House for an early copy to review.
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Thank you, NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group for providing the arc of Lie Beside Me by Gytha Lodge in exchange for my honest review. 

This is book 3 in the series and my first time reading Gytha Lodge. I was pleasantly surprised and now want to go back and read the first two books. 

DCI Jonah Sheens and his team are called to the scene of a crime where a twisty, turny mystery begins. Sheens team is great, Domnall, Juliette, & Ben work really well and compliment each other. The moves they made and the roads they followed made sense to me and I never found myself going “why did they do that”. More importantly, they each have their own personality, even if you don’t spend a lot of alone time with them. 

Louise is one of the MC’s, after a night of heavy drinking she contacts the police after finding a dead man on her front yard. The mystery that follows I really enjoyed. I had my assumptions throughout but I felt like the end was satisfying and well done. The best part was the way Louise observed and shared with the reader, her psychological problems. It was refreshing to read a character who observed themselves and shared that journey with the reader. She knew she had a problem and she had to deal with it. Which was a breath of fresh air. I feel like so many books right now play the blame game or act like it’s okay to be a terrible person because life is hard. 

Louise is married to Niall and they are having some marital problems. Then there’s April, the American girl with a deep southern accent who is into peer pressure and breaking all the rules. There are a lot of secrets between these characters and it’s interesting to watch them unravel them.  

As far as mystery/police procedural go, this was fantastic. A well-written story with an excellent plot that was well throughout and executed, and the characterization was fantastic. The core characters on Sheens team are really fun to read and get to know. While the mystery characters aren’t as detailed, you still get a lot from them. I would highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys police mysteries and can’t wait to read more Lodge.
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Once again Lodge gives us a solid police procedural!  Third in the series, it was great fun catching up with all the characters, although I do think it can be read as a stand alone.  After a night of drinking, Louise wakes up to a man in her bed.  A man she doesn’t know, a man that’s not her husband, a dead man!!  What happened last night, why can’t she remember anything?  Did she kill him?  She’s sure she couldn’t have, but losing a chunk of time has her questioning everything.  Enter the crime catching team of Sheens and Hanson.  As the story progresses so does the case, but things just aren’t all exactly as they seem.  Filled with secrets and the interspersed chapters of letters  Louise has written to her husband, Niall, this book was quite the crime drama.  With a marriage falling apart, a woman suspected of a crime and the crime team that must discover the truth, Lodge definitely kept this reader glued to the pages.
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