The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley
Published by William Morrow on February 12, 2019
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
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All of them are friends. One of them is a killer.
During the languid days of the Christmas break, a group of thirtysomething friends from Oxford meet to welcome in the New Year together, a tradition they began as students ten years ago. For this vacation, they’ve chosen an idyllic and isolated estate in the Scottish Highlands—the perfect place to get away and unwind by themselves.
They arrive on December 30th, just before a historic blizzard seals the lodge off from the outside world.
Two days later, on New Year’s Day, one of them is dead.
The trip began innocently enough: admiring the stunning if foreboding scenery, champagne in front of a crackling fire, and reminiscences about the past. But after a decade, the weight of secret resentments has grown too heavy for the group’s tenuous nostalgia to bear. Amid the boisterous revelry of New Year’s Eve, the cord holding them together snaps.
Now one of them is dead . . . and another of them did it.
Keep your friends close, the old adage goes. But just how close is too close?
Spoiled rich people, they’re just like us! The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley is an interesting character study of the nature of friendship as well as the lies people tell themselves–and each other. While I enjoyed the book overall, I had trouble sympathizing with the majority of the characters, which left me with a somewhat unsatisfied feeling at the end.
I started to give a character breakdown, but there are nine complicated characters with equally complicated stories, so suffice it to say that there’s a lot of story going on. The group of friends go way back to their days at Oxford and this year, they’re gathering at a lavish, remote hunting lodge in the Scottish Highlands to ring in the new year. Throw in a treacherous blizzard that snows them in, add a huge list of years-old grievances, and you’ve got a fine recipe for murder. By New Year’s Day, one of the friends is dead.
I loved the writing style, which is certainly suspenseful. Combine this with short chapters that kept me wanting to read more and I was quickly hooked. However, this story is the definition of a slow burn, and I found myself eager to discover not just who is the killer, but which character is the victim. The ultimate reveal felt somewhat anticlimactic to me.
In addition, the large cast of characters makes it tough to keep track of who’s narrating at any given point. Plus, the point of view changes at times from first person to third person, which was a bit jarring until I got used to it.
That being said, it’s an engaging story overall–I just wish the resolution were more satisfying. After so much buildup, I wanted it all to end with a bang and it didn’t do that. It’s also tough to find any redeemable qualities about most of the characters. I could only take so many #richpeopleproblems. But I do love a locked-room mystery and the remote, snowed-in setting really does a lot to contribute to the atmosphere. I recommend this one, with the caveat that you need to love a slow burn and understand that you’ll probably detest most of the characters from the start.
Rating: 3.5 stars