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As gripping page-turners go, this one’s a winner. Once you start reading The Hunting Party,  it’s very, very difficult to put it down, especially as you approach the denouement. All credit to Lucy Foley for building the tension and suspense as the novel progresses at a cracking pace, never boring or tedious, and racing to an exciting climax.

For anyone who loves a good mystery suspense – this is for you.

The setting is superb and perfect for the opportunity to add the unpredictability of a Scottish winter as backdrop to the front stage drama. The teaser of not even knowing who the victim is until all the sordid secrets have been spilled, adds another dimension to the tension; not only are we guessing who the murderer may be, we don’t even know the sex of the victim which means anyone could have been killed and anyone could be the killer.

Having said all of that and having thoroughly enjoyed reading it, The Hunting Party is not without its flaws.

The most immediate issue for me is the complete lack of empathy I felt for any of ‘the party’.

A group of former Oxford peers have, for reasons that become less and less plausible as the novel progresses, stayed in touch over the years and have spent their New Year’s Eves together in some remote, fabulous and wildly expensive location. Quite frankly, they’re all as vile as each other – shallow, arrogant, self-obsessed – and not one of them invoked an iota of sympathy.

Then comes the plot. It’s fair to say Lucy has thrown every red herring and every twist and turn in her toolkit into her story, to the point that I found myself thinking “Oh, here we go, another secret and another dark past.”

I was tripping over motives and opportunities for who could have done the dirty deed.

No need to try and engage your sleuth brain in these pages, it’s all handed to you on a plate, a plate which gets heavier and heavier as the plot progresses.

We get to know most of the characters in the story through first person narratives that intertwine and build to a crescendo. Just one character is written in the third person and no explanation is forthcoming.

A red herring narrative technique, perhaps?

If so, it works, you’re kept guessing right up until the final few pages. By the time I reached the final uncover and the subsequent outcome, I found credibility being stretched beyond endurance but then, so what?

Why let probability get in the way of a rip-roaring good read…and that’s exactly what The Hunting Party is.

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