Published by William Morrow on February 12, 2019
Source: the publisher
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Everyone’s invited…everyone’s a suspect…
For fans of Ruth Ware and Tana French, a shivery, atmospheric, page-turning novel of psychological suspense in the tradition of Agatha Christie, in which a group of old college friends are snowed in at a hunting lodge . . . and murder and mayhem ensue.
All of them are friends. One of them is a killer.
During the languid days of the Christmas break, a group of thirtysomething friends from Oxford meet to welcome in the New Year together, a tradition they began as students ten years ago. For this vacation, they’ve chosen an idyllic and isolated estate in the Scottish Highlands—the perfect place to get away and unwind by themselves.
They arrive on December 30th, just before a historic blizzard seals the lodge off from the outside world.
Two days later, on New Year’s Day, one of them is dead.
The trip began innocently enough: admiring the stunning if foreboding scenery, champagne in front of a crackling fire, and reminiscences about the past. But after a decade, the weight of secret resentments has grown too heavy for the group’s tenuous nostalgia to bear. Amid the boisterous revelry of New Year’s Eve, the cord holding them together snaps.
Now one of them is dead . . . and another of them did it.
Keep your friends close, the old adage goes. But just how close is too close?
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This is one of those psychological thriller mysteries where a group of friends are gather together on a trip, and someone is murdered. So which character is the one that got killed? And who did it? I’m incredibly drawn to these stories and I’m pretty sure I’ve enjoyed them every time I’ve read them. There is something so fun about trying hard to figure out the whodunnit and then being surprised at the end-it’s so satisfying, even when I’m wrong, which is usually the case!
The things that I enjoyed most about The Hunting Party are the setting and the diversity of the cast. Most of this group of thirtysomethings have known each other for years, since their college days at Oxford. The newest one in the group, Emma, has taken it upon herself to plan the perfect New Year’s trip at a secluded, trippy lodge by a loch’ up in Scotland. So they all take a long train ride to the nearest station where the lodge’s seemingly grumpy gamekeeper picks them up and brings them back to their cabins and the main lodge. It takes two trips by vehicle to retrieve them all, and by the time they arrive everyone is a little on the cranky side. After they all settle in, however, the excitement is cranked up a little and their vacation begins on the right note with a little sightseeing by the water. The scene outside is wintry, dark, quiet, snowy, secluded, and frankly just chilling. Of note, there are two extra people vacationing while the friends are there-a couple from Iceland that seem unusually preoccupied with hunting. Also present are the gruff gamekeeper and the reserved lodge manager.
The story is told from the perspectives of some of the friends, the gamekeeper, and the lodge manager-all very different characters with very different personalities. The timeline goes back and forth between the train ride to the lodge around December 30, 2018 and January 3, 2019 which when the body is discovered. I loved the “now” chapters for their suspense and the desperate need to find out who the killer is as the snowstorm rages without the possibility of help from the local authorities. I loved the chapters from the early parts of the vacation because this is when we get to know each of the characters, their eccentricities, their peculiarities, and their weaknesses. This is when I was able to see who got along well together and who did not, who secretly had eyes for other people, and who secretly did not like people they outwardly pretended to like. AND I was able to find out who was keeping big secrets. There are a few plot twists in there!
Being able to read multiple POVs in one of these locked-room stories is just super fun to me, especially when there are unusual and strange characters adding to the mix. The addition of the snowstorm increased the suspense. And the descriptions of these wealthy, educated characters juxtaposed with the outdoorsy couple from Iceland and the reclusive lodge staff made everyone easy to visualize.
The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley is a quick read with lots of suspense. This is really all I want sometimes and truly, it came to me at the perfect time. I loved the snowy, winter vibe and I loved trying to guess the identity of the murdered person and the killer, which isn’t revealed until fairly far into the story. There are lot of secrets that come out-love that. The short chapters add to the frenzy that I felt in needing to know more about everyone. And I just loved the Agatha Christie-feel of this one. I recommend it to fans of good murder mysteries.