*I received a free ARC of this novel, with thanks to Harper Collins UK and NetGalley. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: A REMOTE ISLAND. AN INVITATION TO DIE FOR.
A gripping, twisty murder mystery thriller from the No.1 bestselling author of The Hunting Party.
On an island off the windswept Irish coast, guests gather for the wedding of the year – the marriage of Jules Keegan and Will Slater.
The wedding cake has barely been cut when one of the guests is found dead. And as a storm unleashes its fury on the island, everyone is trapped.
All have a secret. All have a motive.
One guest won’t leave this wedding alive . . .
Lucy Foley here takes what she gave us with The Hunting Party and improves on it.
We have a familiar set-up: guests stranded on a remote island, cut-off from help or resources when tragedy strikes. In this case, the small cast of suspects are surrounded by a mass of unknowing, irrelevant witnesses, as the other party guests frolic around them, but Foley keeps the reader’s attention firmly on the main players and allows the rest to blur into background noise.
Her style also feels familiar now. We start with the reveal of the body – minus the identity or even the gender of said body – then skip back to days earlier to find out what happened, to whom and why. There are plenty of motives for murder, present and past, as we gradually realise that nearly every guest on the island has dark secrets they would rather keep hidden.
We see the action unfold from multiple viewpoints, as the narrative voice alternates chapters between the bride (Jules), the bride’s sister and bridesmaid (Olivia), the best man (Johnno), the plus-one of the bride’s best friend (Hannah) and the wedding planner (Aoife). Each of these main characters uncovers different threads as the story knots and tangles around them, before completely unravelling for the big reveal.
I confess that, while I guessed some aspects as I played along, I was completely thrown by many of the reveals, but in a satisfying way – the clues were there to be picked up by the alert reader.
I would definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoyed The Hunting Party or who likes classic whodunnit mysteries with a focus on the characters and their motives.
It feels personal, this storm. It feels as though it has saved all its fury for them.
This isn’t the first time the electrics have shorted. But last time the lights snapped back on again within minutes. The guests returned to their dancing, their drinking, their pill-popping, their screwing, their eating, their laughing…and forgot it ever happened.
How long has it been now? In the dark it’s difficult to tell. A few minutes? Fifteen? Twenty?
They’re beginning to feel afraid. This darkness feels somehow ominous, latent. As though anything could be happening beneath its cover.
Finally, the bulbs flicker back on. Whoops and cheers from the guests. They’re embarrassed now about how the lights find them: crouched as though ready to fend off an attack. They laugh it off. They almost manage to convince themselves that they weren’t frightened.
The scene illuminated in the marquee’s three adjoining tents should be one of celebration, but it looks more like one of devastation.
– Lucy Foley, The Guest List
The Guest List is available on Amazon now!