Where They Lie

Written By: Claire Coughlan
Media: Paperback Arc
Genre: Fiction
Published: February 20th, 2024
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Rating: 2 Stars

Where They Lie is a debut fiction novel by Claire Coughlan about a young woman reporter in the late 1960’s. Just before Christmas, Nicoletta Sarto, a reporter with the Irish Sentinel, gets the opportunity to look into a 25 year old case about a missing woman, the unearthed body of an infant, a convicted midwife and a mystery that desperately needs unraveling. While investigating the story of her career, Nicoletta discovers secrets far beyond what she expected to uncover, some of which will change her life in ways she could never have expected.

*I did my best to avoid spoilers* I was very excited to get to this one having read the synopsis then watching it sit on my TBR shelf until I could wrap up 2023’s to-do list. The new cover is excellent and far more fitting. Unfortunately I don’t feel as though the book lived up to my expectations and was difficult for me to finish. The story line was there, and it was quite good. I really enjoyed the twists and at one point I was even into it, then was immediately let down because what I had gotten excited about, was hardly spoken of again. I felt the writing left me with more questions than answers. It lacked detail, thought process among characters, transitions, and appropriate segues. The dialogue was clipped, lacking, and frankly not believable at times. For example the abruptness of the ends of each conversation and borderline rudeness of the characters interactions, but not in a contextual way, in more of an incomplete kind of way. Or the way Nicoletta acted after confirming the life altering news she finally figured out. Or Barney’s reaction at the party. In fact, almost all of the reactions you would expect from a human did not happen from these characters. Not one person questioned Morris’s obvious denial about who the baby belonged to. Some characters were seemingly forgotten during scenes. There were abbreviations that were never explained as if the reader should automatically know what they are with very little context clues. Key plot interactions were just too convenient and poorly thought out. There were details in places we didn’t need them and then missing in places we really could have used some more insight on. I feel like I never really get to know our Main Character and what little that is revealed makes me cringe rather than sympathize and not even because of the bad things that happened to her but due to her continuous poor reactions and decisions as if she is not learning from her mistakes at all. Not even a little bit. There are a lot of long pauses within convos used as segues. What actually happened to Julia was rushed through and poorly described. I still don’t understand how a hand cramp in one woman caused the death of another. It would have been nice to hear more from Gloria. There were many loose ends that didn’t get tied up in the end leaving so much information undelivered. For these reasons, 2 stars is a generous give for this title.

<!> An enormous Thank You to Claire Coughlan, Harper Collins, and Goodreads for allowing me the opportunity to read this title in exchange for my honest review. <!>

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