Good morning! I hope you’re all keeping well this Friday as we head into another weekend! Today I’m sharing my review of The Hunting Party, Lucy Foley’s first thriller. I’ve actually previously reviewed her second thriller, The Guest List, you can check out that review here.
Title: The Hunting Party
Author: Lucy Foley
Publication Date: 29th January 2019
About The Book…
EVERYONE’S A SUSPECT.
Bristling with tension, bitter rivalries, and toxic friendships, get ready for the most hotly-anticipated thriller of 2019. 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.
They became friends at Oxford and although the stresses of work and adult life mean they don’t spend as much time together as they once did, they still ensure one tradition is kept. They spend every New Year’s Eve together. This year they’re spending a few days at a remote lodge in Scotland, but for one of the party it’ll be their last one…
The Hunting Party is told from the points of view of five different characters, three of the guests, and the lodge manager and game keeper. Usually, I really enjoy a book that takes on different points of view as I find it makes it much easier to connect with the characters. For me this just missed the mark slightly, I think perhaps there were just too many points of view. I can understand why they chose to use the five characters they did but at the same time it felt like a little bit of overkill. At the same time, I think that the guests weren’t particularly likeable, which was probably by design, but I think that didn’t help my enjoyment.
One thing I think did work really well in the story was the way the timeline moved back and forwards moving between the party’s arrival at the lodge and the events following the discovery of the body. I think the book was pretty well paced, and I liked the way we were left to guess who the body was for a lot of the book. It certainly made it a little more challenging to try and work out who the killer was, it’s hard to guess motive when you’re not 100% sure who is dead!
I’m going to spend a moment talking about the characters, particularly those whose points of view are shared during the book. I’ll start with the lodge staff as I actually preferred them; both Heather and Doug moved to work on the estate and fairly early on I got the impression they were both running away from something and that’s one of the key things that kept me reading, slowly learning a little bit more about them and discovering what it was that lead them to the estate.
Of the nine guests in the group, we focus on three of them; Miranda, Katie and Emma. Miranda is the beautiful and outgoing one, the sort that everyone gravitates towards. I think as a character Miranda had some potential, there were some hints of something deeper going on with her, but ultimately for me she just came across as a slightly cruel mean girl. Katie has spent years in Miranda’s shadow, her faithful sidekick and it becomes apparent she’s started to resent that position. I really wanted to like Katie, I feel as though she was the one of the group, I could identify with the most but ultimately the way she handled herself frustrated me. Emma grated on me from quite early on, the latest addition to the group when she started dating one of the guys, I think the way she tried so hard to fit in just rubbed me the wrong way. I felt quite sorry for her, but at the same time I think she would have annoyed me if I had been one of the group.
Of the remaining guests I found Julien and Mark completely unlikeable, Giles and Samira felt like also rans, I don’t feel like I learnt much about them beyond their identity as parents and how much it annoyed Miranda they were no longer available for ‘fun’ things. Nick and Bo are the couple I would have liked to learn more about, Nick in particular intrigued me, and I would have preferred him to have been one of the main points of view from a likability perspective, although I have to admit for storytelling purposes it made sense for him not to be.
I’m not really sure what to make of The Hunting Party. I think it’s a book that had a lot of potential, but I said in a recent review that I think when you have a book written from multiple points of view it’s so important to connect with at least most of those characters and in this case I just didn’t. I enjoyed the premise and the way the plot moved back and forwards over a few days and I certainly wouldn’t call it a bad book, but I just didn’t make the connection to the characters which would have made me rate it that little bit higher.
I do have Lucy’s most recent release The Paris Apartment and hopefully I’ll feel a bit more of a connection to those characters.
About The Author…
Lucy Foley studied English Literature at Durham and UCL universities. She then worked for several years as a fiction editor in the publishing industry – during which time she also wrote The Book of Lost and Found, which was a bestselling debut of 2015.
Lucy now writes full-time, and her first crime novel,The Hunting Party, was a Sunday Times Bestseller.
Her second crime novel, The Guest List, hit shelves in February 2020.
Connect With Lucy
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As always if you’ve read the book let me know what you thought! If you’ve not read it yet will my review convince you to pick it up?