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.
My thanks to the publisher for my digital copy of this book, received via NetGalley, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.
Books about murders amongst groups of people in remote settings seemed to be a bit of a thing for me last year. First up was In A Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware, then In The Dark by Loreth Anne White, both of which I enjoyed very much. This kind of story, with a whiff of Agatha Christie’s Then There Were None about them, must have been having a bit of a moment. Or maybe it was just me and what I was drawn to. Anyway, The Hunting Party was the last one I got to and I did wonder whether there could be a new twist on a set up that I’d already read twice last year. However, this book had so much hype that I was still looking forward to reading it, and it did not disappoint.
Firstly, the author managed to create a great sense of place in this novel. I have spent a lot of time in very remote parts of Scotland, and the sense of isolation and loneliness that can surround you once you get that far from civilisation, particularly during bad weather when places can really get cut off, is very oppressive and quite unsettling for people who are used to living on our densely populated little island. It is quite hard to believe that such remoteness and inaccessibility can exist at not too great a distance from our crowded cities, and its perils and difficulties can be hard to comprehend for those who have never experienced it before. This atmosphere, expertly captured and magnified in the writing, used to its utmost menace in the plotting, really gives the book a gripping and intense sense of threat.
The characters are brilliantly drawn and imbued with depth and understanding. They feel like real people, and not all particularly pleasant ones, which gives us a rich buffet from which to select our murderer, but it is very hard to choose with the plentiful array of suspects served up. I honestly think I suspected every individual at different points within the novel and had no true idea who was going to be guilty at the end, or what their motive was. I must have changed my mind a dozen times as to who had done it, and turned the pages quicker and quicker to get to the resolution. The pacing was perfect and propelled me to the end without any dip in tension.
I set aside one quiet, lazy Sunday to read this book, and I devoured it cover to cover in a single sitting, with only short breaks for food and beverages and a dog walk. This is the perfect book in which to indulge in a proper reading session, one where you forget the outside world and totally immersive yourself in the narrative the author has created until you feel like you are part of the story and as desperate to find out who is the killer as the characters in the book. A fantastic whodunnit in the best traditions of the genre with a modern flair.
The Hunting Party is out now and you can get your copy here.
About the Author
Lucy Foley studied English Literature at Durham and UCL universities and worked for several years as a fiction editor in the publishing industry, before leaving to write full-time. The Hunting Party is her debut crime novel, inspired by a particularly remote spot in Scotland that fired her imagination.
Lucy is also the author of three historical novels, which have been translated into sixteen languages. Her journalism has appeared in ES Magazine, Sunday Times Style, Grazia and more.
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