Book review: The Guest List by Lucy Foley

I was immediately grabbed by the premise for this book: a wedding on a remote island – which one guest won’t leave alive.

From the first chapter it’s beautifully written, full of brooding tension and hints in the language of a violent incident to come: “Clots of wine spatter the wooden floor; a crimson stain spreads across white linen”

We soon find out that this event has happened but how it’s happened, who’s involved and the circumstances leading up to it remain a mystery to be teased out over the next chapters.

The scenes are well sign-posted and I didn’t get confused between the different timelines although it jumps about a lot.

The island setting off the coast of Ireland is crucial to the plot, creating a locked-room feel and adding to the sense of danger with its bog, tides and Celtic gravestones.

As we get to know the characters there are also hints of shocking events in the past which have been covered up – until now, and are threatening to explode.

The characters are superbly drawn. Due to past experiences they include entitled, embittered, shallow, damaged and vengeful people. All are complex and flawed; all have secrets, all have motives. Any one of them could be the killer.

I sometimes find that stories told by several narrators can get repetitive and the characters feel superficial but I didn’t find that the case with this book at all. The multi viewpoints were so well done and really helped me understand the characters’ reasoning.

This is a thrilling story packed with twists and although I anticipated some of these I was kept guessing about others and one at the end was a complete surprise but made perfect sense.

If you love psychological thrillers my guess is you’ll love this one!

The Guest List is published by Harper Collins. Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for a review copy of this book.


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