Cover Image: Lie Beside Me

Lie Beside Me

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Lie Beside Me is the newest entry in Gytha Lodge's  DCI Jonah Sheens series. 

Lodge starts things off with a great premise...

"Louise wakes up. Her head aches, her mouth is dry, her memory is fuzzy—but she suspects she’s done something bad. She rolls over toward her husband, Niall. The man who, until recently, made her feel loved. But it’s not Niall lying beside her. In fact, she’s never seen this man before. And he’s not breathing. . . ."

This is a premise I've read before, but I'm always curious to see how an author puts their own spin on things

Lodge gives us a blackout drinker in Louise, who can't seem to remember anything of the night before. Truth or fiction? Louise is a fractured personality. She refers to herself as Drunk Louise and Sober Louise and prefers her drunken self. "I was aware, though, of a growing disconnect between Drunk Louise and me. I would occasionally be alarmed at things she'd done." Louise is married and her relationship with her husband Niall is disconnected as well. Her best friend April is hard to pin down - is she using Louise or does she truly care about her? She seems to enjoy bringing out the best - or the worst of Louise. Three very unlikable characters drive the plot forward. There are quite a few other peripheral players that are just as unpleasant.

These ugly characters are tempered by the police squad investing the murder. This is the third book to feature DCI Jonah Sheens and his team. Not having read the first two books wasn't an issue - this entry could easily be read as a stand alone.  Lodge has fleshed out her recurring characters well, giving them personal storylines that make them interesting. I was particularly intrigued by the enigmatic Ben Lightman.

I enjoy being kept guessing in a book, trying to suss out the whodunit with the clues the author lays out. Lodge did indeed keep me on my toes with lots of twists and turns. An epistolary element is added as Louise pens an ongoing letter to her husband, explaining things. I applaud Lodge's complex plotting. But...yes, there's a but. I'm going to be in the minority here - but by the run up to the final pages, I was growing weary of the deception and lies and just wanted a resolution.

Lie Beside Me was good, but not a stand out for me.
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Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House for gifting me a digital ARC of the latest installment in the wonderful police procedural series by Gytha Lodge - 4.5 stars rounded up - this series just keeps getting better!

Louise wakes up after a night out drinking, rolls over and sees that the man in bed next to her isn't her husband.  And he's dead.  Louise can't remember what happened the night before even when she is now the prime suspect in his murder.  Slowly, she gets flashes of her memory back.  Detective Jonah Sheens and his team have a lot of people to investigate, from Louise, her husband, her best friend, to a whole cast of characters to try and solve this murder.

The story is told in alternating chapters of Louise writing to her husband and the police investigation into the crime.  Louise had great perception into her personality, from Drunk Louise to Sober Louise.  While it was so good to get reacquainted with the detectives on the case, this is easily a stand-alone book.  There are enough suspects to keep you guessing until the end - and that ending!  I can't wait to read the next in this wonderful series - don't miss it!
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Louise Reakes wakes up from a night out drinking with her friend April and has a man in her bed who is not her husband. Then, her morning gets worse because she can’t remember anything and this stranger next to her is dead. Her husband Niall is already angry at her because he can’t seem to get her drinking under control, but he’s out of town, so she has to face the police detectives alone. The mystery is real, the intrigue is real and the whole thing is like a pot simmering on a slow burner. The pace was fast at first and then slowed down as the detectives devoted themselves to the tedious work of finding out what happened to Alex. I enjoyed the methodical approach to the investigation and all of the details about it, but I did think that at parts, the plot got bogged down in the minute details. There was a lot of interesting backstory information about the detectives and their private lives, too. The characterization was good, the plot was complicated and the book was entertaining, for the most part. This is a mystery/police procedural that I recommend to those who enjoy this genre.
Disclaimer
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”
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I was lucky to receive an advance copy of Lie Beside Me by Gytha Lodge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review and opinions.  This is my first book by this author and I realized this was a series so I was afraid I might be lost with not reading the earlier books.  Nope, I was able to jump right in and enjoyed every minute of it.  This was a great police thriller and will keep you engrossed all the way through the book.  I would for sure like to go back and read her fist two books as well.  Thank you for letting me read and review this!  I found a new author that I will be adding to my must read list.
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I did not see those twists coming! 
After a night of intense drinking with her bestie April, Louise wakes up. Still wearing her dress from the previous evening.  With a dead man laying next to her - a stranger, blood everywhere. 
DCI Jonah Sheens and his team arrive at Louise's house to find a dead body on her front lawn. Louise seems to have her story worked out - but Sheens and his team work out the truth. 
Louise lends the reader the needed background for her story - meeting her husband, her desperate need for alcohol. Her shady memories from the night before Alex's murder.
Juliette struggles with her ex, Damian, who continues to stalk and harass her. Working with Lightman, Juliette confesses he's still around. Though she struggles to tell her boyfriend, Jason - Juliette hasn't even mentioned Damian is stalking her. 
I loved these characters - though I have not read the previous books, I was able to keep up with the plot and character progression. 
Great writing. Real people. Realistic events. 
I enjoyed it!
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This book is the third in the detective series by Gytha Lodge (it took me a while to realize that this was connected to the other two books I had read by her so it can certainly be read as a stand alone story). Louise has a drinking problem that makes the mystery of how she ends up in bed with a dead man extra had to figure out. The fact that she moves the body to her front lawn only complicates the situation. 

The story is told from Louise’s point of view in letters to her husband (he is not the dead body) and the detectives working the case. Detectives Sheen and Hansen have a lot of clues and suspects to sift through while also dealing with their own personal storylines. It is hard to know who is the perpetrator of the crime because Louise is not a reliable narrator due to her drinking issues and there are many characters with their own reasons not to be trusted.

This was a fast and interesting read. There were plot twists and complications that keep you guessing until the conclusion. The ending also sets up a lot of anticipation for the next book in the series (this story is concluded but the characters will carry on). I am becoming a bigger fan of Lodge’s writing with each book that I read.

Thanks to Gytha Lodge, Random House, and NetGalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I’m definitely in the minority with my 2 star rating but this story fell flat for me and I could not connect with any of the characters. DNF at 30%. I felt like it kept repeating and I got bored fast. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this early release in exchange for my review.
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Gytha Lodge and DCI Jonah Sheens you have a new fan for life !

This was my first book in the series and the author did a remarkable job of making it a smooth transition with just enough of a hint of mystery that I will certainly start at book one.  Ordered !

Lie Beside Me  is a fast paced thriller/mystery/ police procedure that had me keeping the light on for just one more chapter.

Louise Reakes is delightful despite all her faults, alcohol being a huge one.  She wakes up to a dead man beside her and who is he? 

I changed my mind several times as to who the guilty party was. 

I love this series and I am off to catch up on Book One and will be first in line for Book 4.

Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Company, Random House Trade Paperbacks.
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Gytha Lodge has done it again as she continues her Detective Jonah Sheens case with this newest edition. 

Louise is a young woman who has just awoken from a forgotten night on the town. She has woken in the bed with she shares with her husband, but there is a pool of blood and a man that is not her husband Naill. In a somewhat panic state she calls the police but only after she has moved the body outside into the yard.
This was a great read that focused on the life and past of the main character Louise and how this horrible event transpired.  
While the book is the third in a series it is also a great stand alone book and will give enough background on Detective Sheens that the reader will be satisfied.
 Like the other two books, this one is packed full of cat and mouse twists and turns.  The ending is pleasing but not one many will figure out.  
All  three current books are wonderful crime thrillers, I certainly hope there will be more.
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Lie Beside Me (DCI Jonah Sheens #3) by Gytha Lodge, 368 pages. Random House, 2021. $17. LGBTQIA
Language: R (129 swears, 50 “f”); Mature Content: R; Violence: PG13
BUYING ADVISORY: HS - OPTIONAL
AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE
When Louise wakes up with a hangover, she tries to snuggle in closer to her husband. Except that the man in her bed is not her husband -- and he’s dead. As DCI Sheens and his team do their best to piece together what happened while Louise was drunk, they have to wade through lies, red tape, and even the drama in their personal lives.
I found this book much more engaging than the prequel, though I don’t know if it’s because Lodge doesn’t skip through time as much in this one or if I simply enjoyed the mystery being worked on better. Readers get more details and involvement in the recurring characters’ lives than in the prequel as well, and I appreciate the cliffhanger ending because it leaves readers hanging on those personal crises and not an unsolved case. Unlike when I started this one, I’m looking forward to the next book. The mature content rating is for drug and alcohol use, illegal activity, innuendo, mention of sex, and rape. The violence rating is for blood and murder.
Reviewer: Carolina Herdegen
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While DCI Jonah Sheens gets the title role, what makes this series so engaging is how well developed all the characters are. Sheens, in this installment, plays a minor role. Not that he is completely excused from the drama! Instead the story focuses on Louise, a woman who spends a lot of time being drunk and blacking out. Did she kill the man she found in her bed? Where did he come from? And, really, why wasn't her best friend giving her more support? The other more prominent character in this book is Constable Hansen who is still struggling with her stalker ex-boyfriend. The combination of these particular two timelines in the same book can not be ignored and highlights the impact of continued abuse can impact a person, regardless of their strength or intellect. While the book is acceptable as a stand alone, I strongly recommend readers grab and read the first two in the series before reading this one. Enjoy the unfolding of the characters!
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I hoped for more but it was a fun read! Niall and Louise were not characters I found attached to at any time of the book. Overall, I rate this book a 3.2
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I really enjoyed this book.  Character development was good.  The plot was very interesting.  Not a lot of typos.
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This is my first book I have read by this author and it was truly a very excellent thriller and murder filled with twists and turns. So as you know from the blurb Louise who is or rather calls herself Drunk Louise wakes up in her bed, rolling over to the man beside her only to find a stranger in her bed stabbed to death. She has no recollection of this at all. She immediately freaks out and somehow she manages to get him to her front lawn and then proceeds to call the police informing them there is a dead man on her front lawn. Did she kill him? She has no clue to who he even is. This was a very intricate plot with major twists and turns throughout and when you thought you knew what was happening another twist is there. I do not want to give away any spoilers. I loved the detectives in this book and enjoyed it immensely. I want to thank net galley and the publisher for this ARC I received for an honest review. I recommend this book if you like murder and mystery novels filled with major twists and turns throughout.
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The story opens with alcoholic harpist Louise Reakes, waking up in her room with a killer headache, and a blank memory of the night before. When she rolls over, she finds that it’s not her husband, Niall, but a murdered stranger lying next to her. She panics and moves the man out of her house before calling the police. When Det. Chief Jonah Sheens arrives, they identify the victim as Alex Plaskitt, a fitness instructor. His husband, Issa, claims Alex went out clubbing and never came home, and Louise is the prime suspect. She claims to have blacked out and remembers little about the night before. Soon the cops discover that the real crime scene is Louise's bedroom, not the front garden. As they start to investigate, they find evidence that may point to a different motive and the different killer, muddying the waters. Louise has a serious drinking problem, and troubled marriage, and an enabling friend who all enter the subplots of the case. It’s an excellent who-dun-it that will keep you guessing until the end! I did not read the first two books in this series, but it didn’t seem to matter, so pick it up!
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Special thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free, electronic ARC of this novel received in exchange for an honest review. 
Expected publication date: June 22, 2021
Gytha Lodge returns with book three in her Jonah Sheens series, “Lie Beside Me”. A newbie to both Lodge and the Sheens series, I was completely pulled into the premise. 
A young woman, Louise, wakes up after a night of drinking and partying, and there is a young man in her bed. What’s bad is the man is NOT her husband, Niall. What’s worse is it appears he has been stabbed to death. With no memory of her night, Louise is prime suspect number one. But Louise would never KILL anyone- especially someone she has never met before. Right? But even Louise’s husband isn’t convinced, and as the investigation builds, Louise finds out that everyone has secrets, especially the people closest to her. 
I could tell there was a bit of a backstory already between some of the characters, which had likely been established in the first two novels. However, “Lie Beside Me” can also be a standalone novel, as it was easy to follow along with the characters and plot development, regardless of their previous relationships. 
As is commonplace in police procedural novels, there are a lot of characters (both potential suspects and police members), but the main protagonists were likable and I was invested in their outcome. Lodge provides ample twists and turns, grabbing me at page one and not letting up. 
Louise struggles with alcohol, which of course is a main component of this plot, but it also has its twinge of sadness and reality. She calls her alcohol-fueled self “Drunk Louise”, and identifies this persona as a separate identity from her own. It is tragic and emotional, but it is also utterly realistic and human. It is heartbreaking to hear Louise talk about the gaps in her memory that occur as a result of her nights of drinking to obliteration, and yet it plays such an important role in the story as well. 
The story is told in alternating viewpoints, with chapters narrated by Louise and by various members of the police community (in particular detectives Henson and Sheens). I love police procedurals as they are narrated from the perspectives of the police investigators, and I am able to see how they think, understand their emotional investment, and get a bit of a glimpse into their lives. Lodge is able to give me all of this, and the character development in “Lie Beside Me” is strong.  
The ending was definitely unexpected, and it seemed that each character had their own individual plot twist. Lodge ended the story completely, while still leaving the interpersonal questions unanswered, to be addressed in further novels. “Lie Beside Me” is police procedural done right, and I look forward to future Jonah Sheens novels (and I also hope to find the time to read the first two novels in this series as well!). Thanks to Lodge for providing me with a new detective to love!
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Lie Beside Me, DCI Jonah Sheens book 3, I absolutely love this series by Gytha Lodge. These novels just keep getting better and better. Louise Reakes has a problem, with alcohol, and with the body of a large dead man in her bed. The bed she usually shares only with her Husband, Niall Reakes. Niall is out of town, and Louise, or rather Drunk Louise is up to her sloshed tricks again. This story follows Louise, as what seem to be journal excerpts, along with the view point of DCI Sheens and his crew. I absolutely LOVED the twists and turns of this story and the fact that Louise is a very unreliable narrator managed to keep me stumped. Thank You to Gytha Lodge, Random House, and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this complementary e-galley.
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Louise wakes up after a night of drinking in bed with her husband. Although, it isn’t her husband, it’s a stranger, and he’s cold and dead. With lost memory and the blame on her, how will she be able to figure out if she in fact did kill the man or not. 

I like how it’s told, in series of the detectives and then as Louise recalling the story in what would seem to be a note to her husband. It’s a nice change from detective work, police procedural, to a story of a marriage with lies and secrets and trust issues. 

As with all of Lodges books, there are far too many perspectives. Each detective, a lot of the suspects even all get their own voice which becomes overwhelming and hard to keep track of. As well with her books, the ending is unexpected and slightly out of left field. I guarantee you won’t see it coming.
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Lie Beside Me by Gytha Lodge introduces us to alcoholic Louise Reakes, who is functioning but mostly an alcoholic who often blacks out leading to the morning when she wakes up with a dead stranger lying in bed next to her and she doesn’t know him or if she killed him. What we do know is that her husband is out of town on business, she’s in a blood-soaked bed with a dead man and she doesn’t remember anything that has happened the previous evening. The rest of the book is police procedural and we are thrown a lot of options for who might’ve killed the dead man or if drunk Louise did the deed. It was an entertaining book until we get to the last 1/4th of the story where the author has to wrap up the plot quickly. Also, I don’t have to like everybody but drunk Louise was very unlikable and I’m a little wary of drunken unreliable female narrators. Louise is the storyteller of various chapters as she recounts her life in a diary format to her husband, Niall. In these chapters, Louise spends a lot of time explaining (yawn) why she is drunk Louise or sober Louise with dual personalities. This would’ve been a solid four stars if not for the ending. ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫
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I would like to thank the publisher and author as well as Net Galley for providing a free e-copy of this book in exchange for my review.  And I'm so grateful to Net Galley for introducing me to Gytha Lodge with the release of their first book!  Because - wow!

This is the 3rd book in the DCI Johan Sheens series.  Book 1 in the series was one of my first ARC;s from Net Galley and it blew me away.  This one, still has that power!  There are a lot of characters and backstory to the book, and that can be a bit confusing, but if you focus in on the victim and the investigation you can really get caught up in the story, and stay up far too late in the night, wanting to see what will happen next.  Several times, I thought 'ok, I know where this is going, how it will be resolved' only to turn a page and get thrown for a twist.  What a whirlwind!

No doubt, this is a 4 star book for me!
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