Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Lying Next to Me by Gregg Olsen

No matter what you see, no matter what you’ve heard, assume nothing.

Adam and Sophie Warner and their three-year-old daughter are vacationing in Washington State’s Hood Canal for Memorial Day weekend. It’s the perfect getaway to unplug—and to calm an uneasy marriage. But on Adam’s first day out on the water, he sees Sophie abducted by a stranger. A hundred yards from shore, Adam can’t save her. And Sophie disappears.

In a nearby cabin is another couple, Kristen and Connor Moss. Unfortunately, beyond what they’ve heard in the news, they’re in the dark when it comes to Sophie’s disappearance. For Adam, at least there’s comfort in knowing that Mason County detective Lee Husemann is an old friend of his. She’ll do everything she can to help. She must.

But as Adam’s paranoia about his missing wife escalates, Lee puts together the pieces of a puzzle. The lives of the two couples are converging in unpredictable ways, and the picture is unsettling. Lee suspects that not everyone is telling the truth about what they know—or they have yet to reveal all the lies they’ve hidden from the strangers they married.

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Avid Reader☆☆☆
M/F Thriller
Triggers: Click HERE to see Avid Reader’s review on Goodreads for trigger warnings.

This book starts with Adam watching his wife being abducted from the shore while he and his daughter are rowing back from being out on the water. Despite being in fairly decent shape, he can’t row fast enough to get to her and even though he is calling out for help, there are not many people around. When the unthinkable happens, we watch as witnesses are interviewed, police become involved, and to see whether or not Adam is going to be able to withstand this traumatic experience.

The first chapter sucks you right in. You want to know what to do. You want to be able to help Adam and his daughter, but then, things start to come to light and you’re left wondering what the whole story really is. Despite the well-developed storyline, the characters are hard to relate to, mean and petty and altogether not very likeable.

Also, other issues I have with this story are that the police force are instantly biased in their search for who kidnapped Sophie and they are not afraid to show it. Also, Sophie’s parents are abusive and unlikeable, at best. I wanted to scream at Sophie’s mom and smack her dad. Finally, and what I would say is my biggest peeve about this story, is the issues with biological children and adoption. They are horribly offensive to those who are adopted.

So, while this is a good thriller, the issues outweighed my ability to truly enjoy the story. But it was well developed in the way it was told and the story.

Lying Next to Me was just a three-star read for me, I liked the beginning and the end was interesting but the rest was just meh. Adam and Sophie Warner take bit of a vacation with their three-year-old daughter, when the worst thing happens... Sophie is abducted right in front of her husband! Queue Adam's friend's sister, Lee, and her partner's arrival as the law enforcement on the case. Now we have a real crime drama mystery.

I enjoyed meeting each of the characters and getting a glimpse of their lives. I must say that they all seemed a bit one-dimensional and predictable. I was hoping for something to wow me but was left wanting. The story had its high points and many, many low points. I felt most of the middle was slow moving (I may have set this down and started another book), but this really gained traction toward the end. I will say that I thought I knew what was going on, but I was pleasantly surprised to be wrong!

3.5 stars

There is a really clever twist to this story and although at one point I was pretty certain how things would turn out, I was delighted at the ruse. That is after all why we read such books, to have the clues pile up and send us down blind alleys. In this book, we get to learn the facts by travelling back in time at key points in the story. These snippets gave us the hints to keep us hooked.

There were some things which I had serious issues with – the biggest being the release of her body for cremation within days of her death... we see too much crime on TV to think that this could possibly be the case – especially when they make a point of saying that they don't even have their own forensic team. Weird, and actually given there was no big funeral, it was just not necessary, so it threw me out of the story somewhat. Likewise, the overemphasis on the attempts at creating a child – important in the scheme of things, but not at quite a level of repetition. Instead, I would have liked more on Lee – she turned out to be a key figure, yet we know very, very little about her, other than the crime committed against her.

Overall, I think that the story is worth a read and definitely kept me guessing until the final reveal.

Throughout his career, Gregg Olsen has demonstrated an ability to create a detailed narrative that offers readers fascinating insights into the lives of people caught in extraordinary circumstances.

A #1 New York Times, Amazon Charts, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author, Olsen has written nine nonfiction books, eighteen novels, a novella, and contributed a short story to a collection edited by Lee Child.

The award-winning author has been a guest on dozens of national and local television shows, including educational programs for the History Channel, Learning Channel, and Discovery Channel. He has also appeared on Dateline NBC, William Shatner's Aftermath, Deadly Women on Investigation Discovery, Good Morning America, The Early Show, The Today Show, FOX News, CNN, Anderson Cooper 360, MSNBC, Entertainment Tonight, CBS 48 Hours, Oxygen's Snapped, Court TV's Crier Live, Inside Edition, Extra, Access Hollywood, and A&E's Biography.

In addition to television and radio appearances, he has been featured in Redbook, USA Today, People, Salon magazine, Seattle Times, Los Angeles Times and the New York Post.

The Deep Dark was named Idaho Book of the Year by the ILA and Starvation Heights was honored by Washington's Secretary of State for the book's contribution to Washington state history and culture. His Young Adult novel, Envy, was the official selection of Washington for the National Book Festival. The Boy She Left Behind was a finalist for the International Thriller Writers (ITW) award for best YA novel in 2018.

Olsen, a Seattle native, lives in Olalla, Washington with his wife, twin daughters, three chickens, Milo (an obedience school dropout cocker spaniel) and Suri (a mini dachshund so spoiled she wears a sweater).

Connect with Gregg

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Thomas & Mercer –

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Lying Next to Me by Gregg Olsen to read and review.

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