November is the perfect time of year to read mysteries. It’s starting to get cold out and all I want to do is curl up with a book that will captivate me from the first page to the last. Ashley Elston’s The Lying Woods fulfilled my desire for a smart mystery with twists and turns that I did not see coming.
When Owen Foster’s mother shows up at his boarding school out of the blue, he knows something isn’t right. But what he doesn’t expect is to be yanked out of school during his senior year because his father has embezzled money from the family business and disappeared, leaving Owen and his mother behind to deal with the consequences of his actions.
Owen struggles to adjust to his new normal. Pretty much everyone in his home town blames Owen and his mother for what his father has done and whether it’s glares in the hallway at school or threatening phone calls being made to his mother, Owen doesn’t feel safe. His refuge becomes a pecan farm outside of town, where Owen picks up a part-time job – and ends up following in his father’s footsteps. As the threats become more dangerous and Owen’s life continues to unravel, he works to get to the bottom of what happened, once and for all.
Told through alternating sections from Owen’s POV and his father’s time working at the pecan farm, Elston weaves together an intriguing mystery. You can’t help but feel for Owen as he struggles to accept his father’s actions and his new life, one that he never expected to live. Owen is hurt and angry and protective of his mother and desperately trying to establish a new normal. Despite the fact that he sometimes acts without thinking, you’ll be rooting for him from page one.
The alternating chapters from Owen’s father add a vital layer to the story. We get to see Owen’s mother and father fall in love and hints of the future to come. And yet, while clues are embedded in these chapters, the ending concludes with a bang that you’re unlikely to see coming. Elston has masterfully plotted this story out and the way everything wraps up is incredibly satisfying.
The Lying Woods is an exciting novel perfect for fans of contemporary mystery. With clever plotting and alternating POVs, Elston’s latest novel is sure to keep you on your toes.
About the book:
Owen Foster has never wanted for anything. Then his mother shows up at his elite New Orleans boarding school cradling a bombshell: his privileged life has been funded by stolen money. After using the family business, the single largest employer in his small Louisiana town, to embezzle millions and drain the employees’ retirement accounts, Owen’s father vanished without a trace, leaving Owen and his mother to deal with the fallout.
Owen returns to Lake Cane to finish his senior year, where people he can barely remember despise him for his father’s crimes. It’s bad enough dealing with muttered insults and glares, but when Owen and his mother receive increasingly frightening threats from someone out for revenge, he knows he must get to the bottom of what really happened at Louisiana Frac–and the cryptic note his father sent him at his boarding school days before disappearing.
Owen’s only refuge is the sprawling, isolated pecan orchard he works at after school, owned by a man named Gus who has his own secrets–and in some ways seems to know Owen better than he knows himself. As Owen uncovers a terrible injustice that looms over the same Preacher Woods he’s claimed as his own, he must face a shocking truth about his own past–and write a better future.
The Lying Woods is available for purchase today!