Book Review: The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

Goodreads: The Hunting Party
Genre: Thriller, Mystery
Rating: ★★★★☆

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
The outsider

The victim.
Not an accident – a murder among friends.

I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning to finish this book because once I picked it up and the ball got rolling, I didn’t want to put it down. It didn’t take long for me to warm up to the story and I was quickly intrigued by the dynamics within this group of friends who’ve known each other since uni. The more I learned about them, the more I wanted to find out what went down. From the beginning it wasn’t difficult to sense that something wasn’t right within the group and that there was a lot of awkward tension between a few of them. This tension was only heightened as the group arrived at their holiday destination: an isolated area in the Scottish Highlands located hours away from the closest train station. The setting was painted beautifully by Lucy Foley; it was eerie and haunting, and really set the tone for a juicy thriller! Surrounded by endless snow and the wilderness, and far removed from the closest hints of civilization, you could feel how the environment added to the idea that something sinister was waiting just around the corner.

The story was told in alternating narratives between three of the friends and the two outsiders who managed the luxurious lodge. I didn’t particularly gravitate towards any of the characters because many of them had pretty nasty personalities, maybe except for Nick and Bo, as they seemed the most harmless and least nasty of the group. While not liking any of the characters would normally put me off a book, it didn’t take away any enjoyment from my reading this one. There’s something horrifying and fascinating to read about how friendships can become so bitter and competitive over time, and without any party willing to acknowledge it, it only got worse and worse.

The writing was compelling and although this wasn’t as fast-paced a thriller as I expected it to be, it was definitely a page turner. After a certain point it wasn’t difficult to tell who the victim was, especially with all the tension and animosity this person created within the group. On the other hand, it wasn’t as obvious to me who the killer was, although many readers said that it was clear from the start. I guess I just didn’t read into all the signs enough but I was happy with trying to figure it out throughout the novel. It kept the pace going at a good speed, which otherwise might have been slightly tedious because there was a lot of backstory. While I usually like backstory to support character development, a lot of flashbacks to their uni days and much of the internal dialogue was very bitter and full of envy and made me feel squirmy. But that was probably the point!

There were some flaws with how the story concluded that left me feeling baffled, but I obviously won’t go into detail about those. I will say that those scenes were unbelievable and it was irritating to think of the book ending on such a weak note. Overall though, I think the author did a great job of bringing the storylines and the narratives together. This book really made me think about how well you really know “your people” especially when you believe you’re the one who knows them best.

Essentially I think this quote sums the story up quite well:

“But that’s the thing about old friends, isn’t it? Sometimes they don’t even realise that they no longer have anything in common. That maybe they don’t even like each other any more.”

On Friday I wrote a First Impressions post where I predicted whether I’d like this book and what I’d rate it, and I’m happy to say that I was spot on!

Have you read The Hunting Party? Did you love it or was it a let down?
Let me know in the comments below and let’s chat books 🙂

First Impression Friday: The Hunting Party

There’s a brand new meme hosted by JW Martin called First Impression Friday! It sounded like a fun way to reflect on a new book, so I thought I’d play along! Here’s what it’s about:

First Impression Friday will be a meme where you talk about a book that you JUST STARTED! Maybe you’re only a chapter or two in, maybe a little farther.Based on this sampling of your current read, give a few impressions and predict what you’ll think by the end. Did you think you’d love and ended up hating it? Or did you think you’d hate it and wound up loving it? Or were you exactly right?

I started reading The Hunting Party this morning and I’m about 20% of the way through (okay, it’s a little bit more than the first two chapters but still…). My first impression?

The descriptions of the secluded, snowy Scottish Highlands is eerie and lends the perfect atmosphere for a good murder-mystery. There are multiple narratives that gives a lot of insight into the various players. Although the main characters are all supposed to be childhood friends, you can feel there’s a certain kind of tension in the group that’s somewhat competitive. So far, all of this packaged together is setting up the story quite well for a high-intensity thriller.

The chapters have been very descriptive, so I think if this keeps on, it won’t be a very fast-paced thriller. But I can already feel the tension and unease pulling me in! I’m so curious to know whose died and of course, whodunit! I think this’ll be a ★★★★☆ read for me, and I can’t wait to find out if it lives up to the hype it’s been receiving on bookstagram. I really hope it does!

Have you read The Hunting Party? Do my first impressions sound similar to yours? If you’ve written an FIF, I’d love to know what you’re reading & what your first impressions are! Drop your link in the comments and let’s talk books 🙂