The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley
Publication date: eBook – 03 December 2018/hardback – 24 January 2019
Page count: 400 pages
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This review is spoiler-free.
I’ve been on the hunt for a great thriller ever since finishing up The Girl on the Train back in 2015. I don’t read thrillers to often, but the ones I’ve read lately have felt like a letdown. Enter The Hunting Party, a twisted tale of murder amongst friends in the Scottish highlands. I was hooked on this book from the first page and was completely blown away. It is easily the best thriller I’ve read in ages.
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 don’t want to say too much about The Hunting Party because, well, it’s a thriller and it’s always best to go into these books knowing as little as possible. The thing that will stand out to most people is the fact that not only is the identity of the killer unknown, we don’t know who the victim is until the very end. The way that Foley artfully crafts the book around this fact is just so fantastically done. She creates an incredible level of tension throughout the narrative as characters’ pasts are dug up and their motivations questioned. The isolation in at the Lodge makes for an even more creepy atmosphere that feels like a throwback to the very best of Agatha Christie.
This is one of those books in which every character is despicable — there are almost no good people in The Hunting Party and I absolutely loved it. Despite this fact, she still makes you care about each and every person’s point of view and drink down the deepest, darkest secrets. I can’t really say who my favourite characters were, but there are a few standouts that I think many readers will delight in reading about.
Foley has created a deliciously compulsive book that will have readers staying up late into the night. I cannot recommend this book more highly!
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