This book certainly captures you from the very first sentence
'My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it."
Well that grabbed my attention! It's 1980s Dublin and Andrew and Lydia are a respectable couple, who look to have it all: beautiful grand house and estate called Avalon, Andrew's career as a judge, their 17 year old son Laurence. But underneath they have many secrets and struggles. When drug addict and prostitute Annie Doyle winds up accidentally dead by their hands, Lydia and Andrew try to cover it up by burying her in the garden but not everything can be swept under the rug and slowly a loose thread unravels the truth.
The story is told in 3 different perspectives over 5-6 years: Lydia (who knows what happened and is desperate to keep the truth from her son and to keep him with her in Avalon), Laurence (who's obese and relentlessly bullied in school but who has picked up on the atmosphere at home and has suspicions) and Karen (Annie's sister who refuses to give up hope and is determined to find her sister). I do like multiple perspectives so I enjoyed this but I did find there was quite a lot of repetition across the stories at times, which felt a bit tedious unless it was also uncovering new information. Nugent has crafted some well thought out characters. I liked Laurence and felt sorry for him, I rooted for him as he had horrible parents. I also liked Karen and rooted for her too. Lydia is a piece of nasty work, straight off I didn't like her (I don't think anyone is supposed to like her!). She will do almost anything to protect her reputation and to get what she wants but she has layers due to her upbringing and is no doubt an interesting villian, she does make you think.
Nugent effortlessly weaves the story together and just when you think you've figured something out, you'll get thrown a curve ball! We get hints of the 80s without being bombarded by it, from Live Aid, Prince Andrew and Fergie marrying and Chris de Burgh's Lady in Red to leaving a marriage with no chance of divorce and the implication and social stigmas of that as well as women being institutionalised due to falling pregnant out of wedlock. Class, race, appearance, self control and control over others are big issues, sometimes in subtle ways and often with dark humour. This is a fast reading, twisty turny page turner mystery that will keep you guessing to find out the reason to WHY this happened and how all the pieces of the jigsaw finally fall into place. [NetGalley]