The Guest List by Lucy Foley @HarperCollinsUK @DrHorrocks #bookreview

On an island off the windswept Irish coast, guests gather for the wedding of the year – the marriage of Jules Keegan and Will Slater.
 
Old friends.
Past grudges.
 
Happy families.
Hidden jealousies.
 
Thirteen guests.
One body.
 
The wedding cake has barely been cut when one of the guests is found dead. And as a storm unleashes its fury on the island, everyone is trapped.

All have a secret. All have a motive.
One guest won’t leave this wedding alive . . .

I know it has been said in many reviews of this book that it is set up just like an Agatha Christie novel. It would be perfect for our module on Popular Fiction and Publishing where we look at how the ‘whodunnit’ has evolved as a form. But I digress, this is a book review not an analytical essay. And, there is far too much sex for an Agatha Christie novel, so here endeth the comparisons!

This is a strange book, in many ways. I have given it four stars overall however, I would say the beginning is four stars. Moody, gothic, atmospheric and really draws you in to the isolation of the island upon which our celebrity couple are to hold their exclusive wedding. The scene setting is excellent if not a little cliched at times. Chapters alternate between different characters, bringing a new voice, a fresh perspective to the action that is unfolding.

So far so good. However, by the middle we know something has happened just not what, when and to whom and this is where my review would dwindle to three stars.

The middle dragged. I was frustrated with waiting to find out the who, when and where. However as the book reaches its climax it rockets to five stars. To conclude consecutive chapters, from different viewpoints remember, with the same phrase “and then the lights went out”. Well! By the second time I thought, this is clever, I like this, by the fourth time I was ripping through the pages wanting answers. And the end delivers. This isn’t a fusty old replica of an Agatha Christie, the ending is so much more. It is skillful, it is intricate, it has you guessing to the end.

So, I have settled on a four star review. If you find your interest wavering, push through to the end as this is where the power of the book really lies. And actually, returning to my opening point, it is a remarkably good book for demonstrating just how far we have come from Agatha Christie and yet it is still a genre of writing capable of bringing new plots and even more surprises; especially at the pen of Lucy Foley.

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3 thoughts on “The Guest List by Lucy Foley @HarperCollinsUK @DrHorrocks #bookreview

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