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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Lodger

ISBN: 978-1804154540

Publisher: Boldwood Books

Publication Date: 08/01/2022

Format: e-book and audio

Narrator: Rose Robinson

My Rating: 4 Stars 🎧

The brilliant new psychological thriller from bestseller Valerie Keogh.

'A wonderful book, I can’t rate this one highly enough. If only there were ten stars, it’s that good. Valerie Keogh is a master story-teller, and this is a masterful performance.'— Bestselling author Anita Waller.

She’s in your home…

Leigh Simons can’t say for sure what made her do it. A moment of madness, perhaps, but when the young, loud and gorgeous waitress at her favorite coffee shop reveals she is homeless, Leigh offers her the empty room in her house.

In your head…

Gina is the perfect lodger; Leigh, lonely and frustrated with her life, becomes infatuated with the woman – her boldness, her zeal. If only Leigh could be more like Gina…

And missing without trace.

So when Leigh returns from a work trip she’s shocked to find Gina missing. Where could the young woman have gone…and why?

Leigh fears that something terrible has happened - why else would Gina leave her?

But as she sets out to find her missing lodger, what Leigh discovers changes everything she knows about Gina….and her own life, too.

Don't miss the brand new thriller by Valerie Keogh! Perfect for fans of Sue Watson, Shalini Boland and K.L. Slater.

My Review

A deep dive into a world of secrets, where no one is who you think they are, and everyone has something to hide.

Initially, THE LODGER (smashing cover) and the description grabbed my attention, and I immediately purchased the audiobook and e-book. My first book by the author, Valerie Keogh (with a long list of book titles), and I look forward to reading more!

Addictive, relentlessly twisty, and highly entertaining psychological thriller, THE LODGER grabs you from the first page to the deliciously wicked last line! (a good one).

Leigh Simons' life is pretty dull. She is a day trader, not wild about her job, and dislikes her creepy, nasty boss. She is dating a teacher, Matt, who lives in Salisbury (out of town), and he visits her only on weekends.

Leigh likes her coffee and a nearby coffee shop, which she visits often. She likes the bubbly and cherry barista, Gina, who is always upbeat.

However, she notices Gina is not her usual happy self on today's coffee run. After persuading her to take a break, Leigh asks her what is wrong. She explains her roommate is getting married, so she needs to find a new place to live or will be homeless. She cannot afford much on her salary.

Impulsively, Leigh extends an invitation to Gina to move in with her. Leigh inherited the house and has plenty of room and a lovely garden she just installed. She has a spare room, and Gina can be her lodger. Gina accepts graciously and is quite excited and ready to move in immediately.

After Leigh leaves, she starts second-guessing her decision. She does not know this twenty-five-year-old girl, but how bad could it be? She did not check references or is unsure what kind of person she is outside the coffee house.

The only thing is Matt will probably not like it, and she did not discuss it with him first. It is her house, so she can do as she wants. However, Leigh likes her privacy, so she is unsure how this arrangement will turn out.

Gina settles in and is tidy. She also prepares meals and brings home expensive food for Leigh. Leigh does not feel like being chummy. Matt also does not like this lodger situation.

At work, things go from bad to worse when Gina's boss Mr. Ledbetter comes on to her, and she slaps him. Of course, he goes to Human Resources, and now she is in trouble due to her temper. They mandate an anger management class for her out of town for a week.

Now she has to go away for the week for this class and leave her new lodger at the house alone. However, she will not be alone because Matt is coming to stay at her house for the weekend. Oftentimes he comes into the city to go to museums and art shows, but this time she will not be there.

When she tells Gina that she will be away for the weekend and that Matt is staying there, Gina gets very upset. Of course, who could blame her? She does not know this guy and has no lock on her bedroom door. Leigh thinks Gina is overreacting and says it is her house; if she does not like it, she can move out.

When Leigh gets to the course, she meets a guy which is always around. A bit creepy and stalkerish. He is around every day. He seems to come on to her. Something is off with this guy. They also are not allowed to use their cell phones. Then when she leaves the class, she forgets her Kindle, and the class calls and says this man will drop it by, which concerns Leigh.

While Leigh is at the class, she starts worrying about being too harsh with Gina and decides she will apologize and make it up to her once she returns. When she arrives home, Gina is GONE! No site of her. All of her things are gone, cleared out. The only thing left is some food in the refrigerator, which is all expensive stuff.

Where did she go? At first, she is relieved she is gone but then starts worrying about why she left in such a hurry. She left a note saying she was sorry.

Then strange things start happening. Mr. Ledbetter is missing from work. Then Leigh sees a woman's hand in the garden and thinks it may be her lodger. She calls the police but turns out it is a fake hand. What the heck? She then tells the police she is worried something happened to her lodger and wants to file a report. They say she needs to hire a tracer.

There is an investigation, and at first, they think Leigh is crazy, plus she has anger issues. Leigh has already decided she wants to break it off with Matt. He was very rough with sex and aggressive the night before her class, which scared her, plus their relationship was going nowhere.

However, Matt is acting strange. Then there is a sexual abuse charge against him. Mr. Ledbetter is missing, and she starts suspecting the crazy man from the class who dropped off her Kindle while she was away.

Do all three of these guys have anything to do with Gina's disappearance? Is Gina a con artist, a victim, or a predator? Is she dead or alive, and who is she? How well does she know Gina and Matt?

Wow, this story got ever stranger as it moved along. Leigh goes from being relieved Gina is gone to ultimately worried about her. What comes next is not what you expect, leading to a satisfying conclusion for a twisty domestic thriller.

A compulsive and chilling exploration of lies, deceit, trust, and obsession. I loved the audiobook narrated by the talented Rose Robinson for a superb performance. I enjoy UK narrators for an engaging listening experience.

With dark secrets and surprising twists, this one’s sure to be a new favorite! For fans of Samantha M. Bailey's Watch Out for Her and B. A. Paris' The Prisoner.

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

Pub Date: Aug 1, 2022

My Rating: 4 Stars ✨✨✨✨


"A wonderful book, I can’t rate this one highly enough. If only there were ten stars, it’s that good. Valerie Keogh is a master story-teller, and this is a masterful performance."

—Bestselling author Anita Waller.

About the Author

Valerie Keogh lives in Wiltshire with her husband and a huge black cat, Fatty Arbuckle. She grew up reading Agatha Christie and initially wrote crime novels - she now writes psychological thrillers.

The Little Lies was shortlisted for the Crime Fiction Lovers Award 2021

Valerie has a BA in English and an MA in American Literature.

She has recently signed a contract for four new psychological thrillers with Boldwood Books, the first of which, The Lodger, is published August 1st.

Order of publication:

Exit Five from Charing Cross (2014)

Deadly Sleep (2016)

Twisted Power (2016)

Bitter Business (2017)

Wicked Secret (2018)

Secrets Between Us (2018)

The Housewife 2019

The Dublin Murder Mysteries (2020)

The Three Women (2020)

The Perfect Life (2020)

The Little Lies (2020)

The Deadly Truth (2021)

The Lies He Told (2021)

The Couple in the Photograph (2021)

A Taste of Deceit (2022)

The Lodger (2022)

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