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The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley - Review

Sunday, December 15, 2019

I bought this book just a couple of weeks ago while Christmas shopping in Waterstones. It just appealed to me and I liked the blurb. I then started reading it immediately, I was just in the mood for something thrilling and hoped this would fit the bill.

My short review is that all of the people in this book are reprehensible humans and I didn't care which of them lived or died, to be quite honest. Maybe that's part of the appeal. I'm not sure.

Anyway, it's about nine old friends from university who always spend New Year's Eve together and who are this year going to the Scottish Highlands to stay in a lodge and get away from it all. We first meet them when they arrive at the local train station and get in a car with the gamekeeper Doug to make their way to the Lodge.

The nine are made up of four couples and then Katie, who is single. Most of them met at university - the inner circle of Miranda, Samira, and Katie. Miranda is Queen Bee, married to the gorgeous Julien and enjoying a life of leisure - but Julien has a deep secret and Miranda's life isn't as perfect as she would like to think. Samira is married to Giles and they've just had a baby, Priya, and honestly, everyone is kind of a dick towards a couple with a young baby, but whatever. Katie is a lawyer, and single, but has something on her mind. There's Nick and Bo, who for me were painted as very much the token gays with no depth to their storyline or characters at all, and there's Mark, Julien's friend, and his girlfriend Emma. She's the newbie to the group, she's only known Mark for three years. She is eager to ingratiate herself into the group and is a real people pleaser, Miranda in particular. Miranda says mean and nasty things to everyone, but especially Emma.

Then there's two members of staff, Heather and Doug. They both live on the estate and both have their reasons for wanting such remote jobs. The book has parts from their points of view, and from Miranda's, Katie's, and Emma's.

There's two strands to the narrative. In the first one, it's the 2nd of January and Heather and Doug are out searching for one of the guests. They find a body, but the reader isn't told who it is. In the second strand, we're back in time to the 30th of December and New Year's Eve, watching the friends come back together and watching as they rip themselves and each other apart.

Several of the characters just aren't well enough drawn for me to care about - like Nick, Bo, Samira, Giles, and even Julien. I liked Miranda's inner dialogues and I liked Katie as a character. I liked Heather, too, I would think to think she lives a long and happy life after the book finishes. I really disliked most of the characters and hoped they all died, but the book was compelling and I wanted to see what happened. I thought the remote Scottish setting was really well written and really creepy. The Lodge has several small cabins for guests and otherwise is totally dark, and I could definitely picture everything described. The book is generally okay written although I thought there were some continuity issues.

I'm going to give it four out of five because I found it compelling and wanted to finish it, but I didn't think it was written all that well.

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