Author: Lucy Foley
Released: January 24th, 2019
Received: Own (BOTM)
Warnings: Animal death, adultery
Lucy Foley introduces a world reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s suspense in The Hunting Party.
It’s the holidays, and that means it’s time for one group of longstanding friends to take a trip like no other. Though they probably weren’t expecting what sort of events would make it so memorable for them.
The group heads off to an isolated lodge – in the winter – in hopes of having an eventful New Years. They certainly got that, as one of them would be dead before the holiday season is over. To make matters worse – they’re all suspects, and trapped together.
“But it is a lot easier to face the day when you know you won’t have to face other people and their happiness.”
If you’ve read any of Agatha Christie’s works (or Ruth Ware’s One By One), then The Hunting Party is going to have a lot of familiar tones and elements for you. That is not automatically a bad thing, especially as Foley attempted to play around with the general concept.
We all know the tale. A group of friends (or co-workers, or even strangers), gets trapped in an isolated location, and then the unthinkable occurs. A murder is discovered, making everyone present a suspect.
Panic ensues, right? Well, that’s kind of where The Hunting Party deviates. The whole story is set in two periods of time; before the murder, and after. Much of what follows after is limited to just a couple of characters, who seem to keep their heads on straight. Mostly.
Everything before the murder is setting the scene, and showing just how true it is that they’re all suspects. That part is quite nicely done. As is the building of suspense. There was a large amount of this book where I sincerely didn’t know who died, let alone who the murderer was.
Ultimately though, I feel like the book kind of fell flat for me. There wasn’t much of an emotional investment in it. Perhaps at least in part because we didn’t really see the group reacting to said murder. Not much, at any rate.
One could argue that their reactions weren’t the focus, but I feel like that is one of several decisions that removed the human element in the story. Ironic, in a way, I know. The group consisted of several characters (Miranda, Katie, Mark, Giles, Samira, Julien, and Emma), yet there are a few that we learn next to nothing about.
Then again, there are a few who I would be quite happy to never meet in real life, so I guess it’s all a balancing act, as per usual. Overall this was a decent thriller, especially as a read for around the holidays. I just wish that Lucy Foley had pushed certain elements a little bit harder.