Book Review of The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

The Hunting Party was arguably Lucy Foley’s first big hit. In it, she harkens to the many tropes of some great horror films we’ve seen throughout cinema history: a group of friends go on holiday to a remote place and then a murder takes place and they’re all stuck there, terrified. But does she do it very well?

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The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley is a murder mystery/horror novel that, as aforementioned, takes a modern twist on the classic “cabin in the woods” storyline. I recently reviewed The Sanatorium which offers up a similar idea too: remote location, a group of people and a killer on the loose. I feel like The Hunting Party does a better job at keeping you hooked.

The Hunting Party plot – 4/5

The Hunting Party starts off with a group of friends and their partners who have been friends for ages. They decided to go to a remote house in the Scottish wilds which can only be accessed via a train and then a rickety drive in an offroad vehicle. Each character has their own back story and those that Foley writes about all have seemingly sound motives for possibly wanting to kill someone else in the group.

From the outset, we know a body has been found and so we know murder is going to take place. In the similar ways Lisa Jewell writes (read my review of her latest novel The Night She Disappeared here), Foley uses the trope of telling us the ending at the start and then narrating the novel through two different timelines that synchronise at the end – leaving the story is slowly build as we try and work out along the way what’s happened.

As with The Guest List, Foley does a great job of building suspense by writing the book from the first-person point of view of some of the characters. Not only does this help us build our own ideas as to who the characters are but it gives us individual perspectives into the different moments, allowing us to build a better visual in our head of the events taking place.

The Hunting Party characters – 4/5

As I touched on above, the plot of The Hunting Party is all written from the first person almost diary-like entries from a selection of the different characters. It’s always interesting when novels are written like this because you spend your time trying to work out which of them is the killer.

Obviously, Foley does a fantastic job of giving us plenty of backstory into their lives and throwing red-herrings at us as to why they may be the murderer. I’ll say the characters weren’t the deepest, most fleshed out. Despite their hefty backstories, their personalities didn’t shine through. Emma is the most different of the group – she’s the one not so highly educated as them and is the newest to the group, adding an interesting dynamic. She also arranged the trip so is constantly trying to impress.

Writing from the point of view of the characters doesn’t always lend to making for a better character-driven story, unfortunately. There just isn’t enough diversity in their personalities, making it sometimes quite hard to remember who you’re reading about.

The Hunting Party summary – 4/5

The Hunting Party is another great novel by Lucy Foley. If you read The Guest List because of the hype around it, then I’d definitely recommend picking up The Hunting Party too. Alternatively, if you just love a good murder mystery with a slight twist in it, you can’t go wrong here either.

With a gripping writing style and chapters that are just short enough to keep you wanting to read the next one, you won’t go wrong picking up The Hunting Party to scratch your murder mystery/thriller itch.

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