Cover Image: Lie Beside Me

Lie Beside Me

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Member Reviews

This police procedural was just ok for me. Louise, who is drunk a lot of the time, wakes up in her own bed next to a a murdered stranger. The rest of the book goes back and forth between the police investigation and Louise’s backstory. Her story is told awkwardly in the form of a letter to her husband Niall. Does he really need to be told how they met? Niall has his own secret issues with his ex-wife Dina. And then there is April, Louise’s best friend and enabler, a flamboyant American. We also meet the victim’s family and friends. There are way too many suspects and red herrings. There are also too many cops with personal dramas of their own. I finished the book, but it wasn’t great.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

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While I really enjoyed this book and it did keep me on the edge quite a bit, I also found it to be very unbelievable. I could not connect with any of the characters at all. That still did not make it a bad book though. I think what I really disliked about this one was the fact that the main character was a drunk who certainly never learned a thing from getting drunk. After blacking out repeatedly and almost getting killed or raped she just kept right on with the drinking. Drunk Louise... I despised her. She was in my opinion a phony. I did not like her. At least her best friend, April, was honest. To a point anyway.

This book is very well written and it definitely will keep you turning the pages. It's edge of your seat and makes you want to know why a man was murdered in a woman's bed. It gives you lots of emotions and makes you feel as though you are there in so many scenes. It's overall a good book. Just not believable to me. I did not like anyone. Well I may have to take that back. There was one person. I liked the female detective and how she handled things. She had a story of her own going on through this book and it was great. I loved how she thought. How she got ahead of things and finally took care of herself. I liked her.

I very much disliked Niall. He was so hung up on his ex that he could not see what was going on in his marriage. Why marry one woman if you are so in love with another? Makes no sense to me. Maybe circumstances made things the way they were. I just didn't like him at all. Not even at the end. I just didn't. He was a bit of a self righteous punk. My opinion of him is very low.

This story is told in two ways. One being Louise dealing with her marriage via letters to her husband. The other the person actually telling this story. The author if you will. Louise's letter to her husband seems to be very heartfelt and honest. I believe she truly loves the jerk. I believe she will make him a good wife. If she will stop drinking. I like finding out some of April's background and knowing what made her the way she was. That was very interesting.

Overall I will say that this is a good story. Well written and keeps you on your toes. Though I found it very much in many places unbelievable it was what it was. The two Louise's are what made me doubt the story. She talked about sober Louise and drunk Louise a bit to much for me. But it was till worth reading and I will give it it's due.

Thank you #netgalley, #GythaLodge, #Randomhousepublishinggroup for this ARC. This is my own true feelings about this book.

4/5 stars and I do recommend you read it. You will like it I'm sure.

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I think the book missed its mark with me. I haven't read any of the previous books but it was easy to sort of follow along and pick up what was going on. It still was a good thiller!

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A very twisty, perplexing case! I enjoyed the case and the return to the characters. This one was very twisty and kept me turning the pages. The first book in the series is still my favorite, but this installment was better than the second. I look forward to reading more in the series! My thanks to the publisher for the advance reader in exchange for my honest review.

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This book was a constant page turner with many surprising twists and turns. Louise is an ordinary housewife who drinks a bit much at times to the point that a dead man winds up in her bed next to her one morning and it’s not her husband, Niall . This story has you guessing who the killer is . Louise and her husband have a rocky marriage which plays out in her letters to him . I was never bored reading this and always wanted to learn more . I highly recommend this as a page turner, as the police dept delves deeper into Louise and Nialls marriage with many discoveries

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My first book by this author - good story! Definitely keeps you guessing and the investigation team took kind of a back seat to the suspect and victim. I would recommend.

Thanks #NetGalley for the ARC!

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I was intrigued by the summary of this book and was so excited to get to read it. I somehow didn't notice that it was the third book in a series and initially wondered why we were spending so much time with the investigative team but this ended up being exactly the kind of page-turning, twisty mystery I was looking for. There were a few weird sentences in there and I found a few of the characters to be a bit over the top, but they worked well in the environment they were in. I might just go back and read the first two Jonah Sheens mysteries to see what I've missed.

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Lie Beside Me is the third book in the DCI Jonah Sheens police procedural series. You do not need to have read the others to enjoy this one.

At an acquaintance’s wedding five years earlier, Louise Reakes made three startling discoveries. One, she could make exciting new friends. Glamorous, irreverent April sat next to her during the ceremony and the two have been besties ever since. Two, she could find love. Louise met her future husband Niall at the reception and the they quickly become a couple. The third discovery was the most important, though. She couldn’t do any of that without a drink in her hand.

Now Louise thinks of herself as two unique people – fun, vivacious Drunk Louise, who’s always good for a laugh, and over whom she has no control, and Louise, the sober iteration of herself, who gets blamed and berated by Niall for everything Drunk Louise does. So, she isn’t exactly surprised when she wakes up in the wee hours of the morning next to a dead man who is most definitely not her husband. Louise just wishes she could remember what exactly Drunk Louise had done.

A bit later that morning, DCI Jonah Sheens and his team are called to the crime scene at Louise’s house where she tells them she was picking up the milk from her doorstep when she found a dead body in her front yard. Jonah’s constable, Juliette Hanson, sits with and soothes the seemingly shaken Louise while Jonah joins the forensic team and sends out Ben Lightmen and Domnall O’Malley to question the neighbors. Once forensics has finished up, Jonah heads in to talk to his witness. She, of course, heard nothing, saw nothing, knows nothing.

But it doesn’t take more than a few hours of digging into victim Alex Plaskitt’s life to realize Louise is lying, and Jonah and his team quickly move to take her into custody. But now that they know the who, the question plaguing Jonah is why? Because nothing about what happened makes sense and he has only a few more hours to put together the case against Louise and discover the reason she murdered a man before he has to let her go.

The book is written from two differing perspectives. Jonah and his team are featured in the chapters written in third person omniscient which follows them as they do the grunt work necessary to solve the case. The author fluctuates between giving us small details about their personal lives and taking us through the banality of what they do: paper/computer work, the endless questioning of witnesses, following up on each miniscule lead, and spending hours driving from one point to another. We learn that Juliette is still being stalked by her abusive ex, something she has shared with no one but Ben. She and the gorgeous but enigmatic Ben had been good pals once but there has recently been a strain to their relationship, and Juliette can’t help but wonder if it has something to do with the new young man she’s been seeing. Juliette thinks about asking Ben about it, but he’s a vault, and she knows she’s unlikely to get an honest, satisfactory answer out of him. Jonah is having ex problems as well. He made the mistake of reconnecting with a woman from his past several months before, one he definitely wants to put behind him, but she’s suddenly calling him endlessly and he’s not quite sure how to handle it. Jonah is sure he doesn’t want his new to love to know that his ex is hovering.

Louise is having problems with the past, too. She hates that she ever let Drunk Louise into her life, and she hates even more that Drunk Louise steals her memories. Louise’s chapters are told in a first-person perspective, in the form of a long missive she is sending to her husband, whom she now believes to be a passive-aggressive jerk (he is). These sections deal with how her sober self is trying to piece together how she landed in a prison cell facing a murder charge and how to take back her memories from wherever Drunk Louise has hidden them. They also deal with how April, her primary drinking buddy, has a habit of disappearing just when either Louise, drunk or sober, needs her most.

The author does a fantastic job of handling innumerable characters and giving them all depth. Not only do we learn a lot about the members of Jonah’s team and what is happening in their lives, but we also get a clear picture of our victim, Alex, the people in his life and Louise, April and Niall. I’m always impressed with how Lodge takes a police procedural, which as its name implies is all about the process of solving a crime, and turns it into a deeply character driven narrative. She brilliantly shows us how much personality affects both the execution and the resolution of a transgression.

The pacing here is closer to true life than that of most mysteries. We get a glimpse of how tedious a lot of police work is and how much you have to love figuring out the puzzle to be able to stick with it. We don’t race from event to event but rather sit back and put pieces together to get the whole picture.

As always, once the last piece is slotted in, we discover a far different scene than what we expected. Lodge takes us on a compelling journey, a ride of revelations and analysis and showing how our image of an entire event can be changed by just one more piece of information. Everything is brought to a very satisfactory – and surprising – conclusion.

Lie Beside Me lacks the excitement and pizzazz of a lot of today’s thrillers but it is an extremely interesting, well-written, character-driven mystery that I would strongly recommend to fans of that genre. While you don’t need to start with the first book, She Lies in Wait, I would recommend doing so if you can. It’s a good story in its own right and one that does provide some additional – unnecessary but nice to have- background information about the investigative team.

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Lie Beside Me by Gytha Lodge is the third book in the DCI Jonah Sheens series. Louise wakes up one morning, and there is a dead body in bed next to her. She doesn't know who he is and can't remember what happened the previous night. Detective Jonah Sheens thinks Louise is the most likely killer, but he also realizes that someone could be framing her. This story kept my interest, and there were lots of twists and turns. I don't think it's necessary to read the previous books in the series. Thanks to NetGalley for the free digital review copy. All opinions are my own.

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An interesting book with an interesting premise, but I just couldn't get into it for reasons I can't even fully explain. Just fell flat.

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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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