Hello everyone, and welcome back to The Bookworm’s Fantasy! I hope you’re all doing well. Today I’m posting my review of Lucy Foley’s fantastic psychological thriller, ‘The Hunting Party’. I had no idea what to expect going into this book – but ended up really enjoying it! Keep reading to discover my thoughts…
EVERYONE’S A SUSPECT.
AND EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT IT.
In a remote hunting lodge, deep in the Scottish wilderness, old friends gather for New Year.
The beautiful one
The golden couple
The volatile one
The new parents
The quiet one
The city boy
Not an accident – a murder among friends.
‘The Hunting Party’ (December 2018) is Lucy Foley’s fourth novel but is her debut crime novel, following on from ‘The Book Of Lost And Found’ (2015), ‘The Invitation’ (2016) and ‘Last Letter From Istanbul’ (March 2018). Since then, she has also released ‘The Guest List’ (February 2020). Foley studied English Literature at Durham and UCL universities and worked for several years as a fiction editor in the publishing industry, before leaving to write full-time.
The novel has received lots of positive reviews, from the likes of The Times: “Proves that the traditional country-house murder formula… can still work brilliantly,” Daily Mail: “Clever, twisty and sleek, it has “hit” written all over it” and Woman & Home: “The suspense will keep you reading long after lights out.” Many fellow authors also praised the novel, such as A.J. Finn: “A ripping, riveting murder mystery” and Sophie Hannah: “Very gripping and so good on the awfulness of some long-history friendships.”
‘The Hunting Party’ follows the lives of a group of friends, during their New Year’s getaway to an isolated lodge in the Scottish wilderness. When one of them gets murdered, it soon becomes clear that these friends aren’t as close-knit as they first thought…
The narrative is told from the first-person perspectives of Heather, Emma, Katie and Miranda, with each chapter switching between the characters. The reader is given an in-depth perspective to their thoughts, feeling and emotions. There are also sections that are narrated via the third-person, with a focus on Doug, the gamekeeper. The novel switches between the present (2nd January 2019) and the past (30th December 2018). The narrative is fairly complex and requires some concentration, in order to keep track of who is speaking and when.
My favourite character in the novel is probably Miranda. Miranda isn’t the “nicest” character all of the time, but I couldn’t help being drawn to her. She’s the leader of the pack and is extremely outgoing and confident. She’s very fun and is the life and soul of the party. However, Miranda can be pretty nasty at times, and she does and says some horrible things. It is clear to see that Miranda has experienced her fair share of hardships, and her life isn’t really going the way she’d expected it to. I felt a great deal of sympathy towards her at times; but most of all, I felt that she was a very well-written, realistic character with plenty of flaws.
Other characters in the novel include: Julien (Miranda’s husband), Katie (a successful lawyer who is hiding some deep secrets), Emma (Mark’s girlfriend and the newest member to the group), Mark (the “tough” guy), Heather (the lodge manager), Doug (the caretaker), Nick (the “gay” friend), Bo (Nick’s boyfriend), Samira (mother to young baby Priya) and Giles (Samira’s husband). As you can see, there is a relatively large cast of characters – again, I would recommend concentration when reading this book, as it can get a little tricky to decipher who each character is and what part they play.
** TRIGGER WARNING ** This novel explores the themes of abuse in great detail, including both physical and sexual violence. Infidelity is also discussed throughout the novel, with some scenes of a sexual nature. These issues are explored with appropriate sensitivity; but if you feel that they may trigger a negative response, I suggest you skip this book.
As the narrative motors onwards, tensions between the group members increase dramatically. They must work together and put their differences aside, in order to discover “whodunnit” – in the knowledge that one of their own group is in fact the murderer.
So, let’s talk about the end scene. There’s a dramatic end scene in which the murderer is finally revealed, in the most astonishing way. I was really surprised when I discovered who the perpetrator is, and I never could have predicted that outcome. There isn’t a action-packed end scene, more of a shocking resolution which changes the entire course of the book. I have to admit, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the ending as I found it all a bit too dramatic and unbelievable. However, that being said, you may enjoy it more than I did!
Overall, I highly recommend this novel to those of you who enjoy psychological thrillers, particularly if you like “whodunnit”-type books. The novel is well-paced with some fantastically-written characters, and contains plenty of mystery and suspense throughout. I did find the book quite hard to follow, and it took me a while to get into it – but once I did, I was hooked! The ending wasn’t quite my cup of tea for the reasons stated above; however, this is still a very good read.
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Happy reading 🙂