Title: The Hunting Party
Author: Lucy Foley
Publisher: William Morrow
Publish Date: February 12, 2019
My Rating: 4/5
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?
A group of old university friends take a trip to celebrate New Year’s together. They travel to a remote estate in the Scottish Highlands. Within a few days, tensions have risen, secrets are revealed, and someone dies.
The character list for this novel is fairly long, with eleven guests plus a baby staying at the estate and three employees working there. The employees are Heather, Doug, and Iain. The university friends are Miranda, Katie, Julien, Mark, Nick, and Samira. Miranda and Julien are now married. Katie is single and traveling alone. Mark is married to Emma. Nick is dating Bo. Samira is married to Giles, and they have a baby, Priya. In addition to this friend group traveling together, an Icelandic couple, Ingvar and Kristin, are also staying at the estate.
With so many characters, it is not surprising that multiple points of view are used in this novel. The viewpoints are Heather, Doug, Miranda, Katie, and Emma. The switching POVs are seamless, and are easily distinguished from one another. The story is told over a three day period, using a flashback approach. The stories open with the “Now” where a body is discovered. Then the events of the preceding days are told, flipping between what happened in the preceding days to the events in the “Now” timeline. This novel has a lot happening, but I found it easy to follow and never got confused with the who and when of the story.
As for the plot, it’s an intriguing mystery. While a dead body is found right off the bat, the identity of the deceased is not known until near the end of the story. So, not only was I trying to guess who the killer was, but also who the victim was.
I enjoy this type of mystery. A group of people in an isolated location. A murder. Secret and lies. Dysfunctional friendships and drama. Such an entertaining read. Highly recommended.
I received a free digital copy of this book via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.