The Guest List

I became aware of Lucy Foley earlier this year when her book The Hunting Party was selected as a Barnes & Noble book of the month. It was a popular choice, so when I saw an advance copy of her new book, The Guest List, I snagged it.

An isolated Irish island seems like the perfect place for a wedding—and the perfect place for a murder. While everyone should be celebrating, after the vows are said and cake it cut, someone turns up dead. Suddenly everyone is a suspect, and several people have hidden but compelling motives. But who really did it?

The story is told from a variety of perspectives, giving a good look at each character’s motives and thought processes. You start the book knowing it’s an Agatha Christie-esque mystery, where you know what’s happened, but not the who or the why. You’re left to piece things together through the narratives of the night before the wedding and the day of the event.

I was a little skeptical at first, because I know this is exactly the same style as Foley’s other book (which I didn’t read, but it’s just the principle). But I found the book actually quite engaging, even if I did hate every person in the book. What I will say, though, is that the way everything neatly traced back to the dead character was a little unimaginative. Each character had motive, and even though only one did the deed, everyone got revenge. The “got what was coming to them” feel left me a little dissatisfied.

So while it was a fast-paced read that kept me engaged and kept me linking all the stories together, it didn’t quite achieve the mind blowing climax I think Foley was going for.

The books isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, as it’s a little on the vulgar side in terms of language as well as content, which I found off-putting as well. I just don’t enjoy reading about characters who see women as sexual conquests instead of people. The book also touches on sensitive, triggering subjects, including suicide, abortion, and sexual exploitation via blackmail.

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