Published: February 12, 2019
Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 336 (Hardcover)
My Rating: 3.5/5.0
Everyone’s invited…everyone’s a suspect…
For fans of Ruth Ware and Tana French, a shivery, atmospheric, page-turning novel of psychological suspense in the tradition of Agatha Christie, in which a group of old college friends are snowed in at a hunting lodge . . . and murder and mayhem ensue.
All of them are friends. One of them is a killer.
During the languid days of the Christmas break, a group of thirtysomething friends from Oxford meet to welcome in the New Year together, a tradition they began as students ten years ago. For this vacation, they’ve chosen an idyllic and isolated estate in the Scottish Highlands—the perfect place to get away and unwind by themselves.
They arrive on December 30th, just before a historic blizzard seals the lodge off from the outside world.
Two days later, on New Year’s Day, one of them is dead.
The trip began innocently enough: admiring the stunning if foreboding scenery, champagne in front of a crackling fire, and reminiscences about the past. But after a decade, the weight of secret resentments has grown too heavy for the group’s tenuous nostalgia to bear. Amid the boisterous revelry of New Year’s Eve, the cord holding them together snaps.
Now one of them is dead . . . and another of them did it.
Keep your friends close, the old adage goes. But just how close is too close?
Once again, Lucy Foley has written a cast of almost entirely unlikable characters. If you’ve read The Guest List you’ll definitely see some parallels in this book (or vice versa), so the plot didn’t exactly feel fresh to me. With that pointed out, I still found I enjoyed listening to the audiobook because it does keep you guessing and with the highly flawed cast of characters there is no shortage of murder suspects.
A group of college friends from Oxford go on their annual New Year’s eve trip to a remote hunting lodge in the Scottish Highlands. They can’t stop reliving their college glory days, indulge in their own self importance, and are a rather unlikable group of people who can’t seem to remember why they remain friends this many years later. They’ve drifted apart, but this annual trip seems to bring out roles they played in college – popular girl, hot guy, quiet girl, party girl, etc. The only real new blood are the significant others of two of the Oxford clique and the one poor girl is trying so hard to fit in that it’s a bit creepy and desperate. We also get the POV of the lodge’s hunting guide and the lodge manager. They are the most relatable of all the characters and aren’t a bunch of proud jerks – they just get paid well to put up with them.
As with The Guest List, the story begins almost immediately with the murder after a brief introductory bit. Someone has gone missing and a blizzard has begun, thoroughly cutting off the lodge from civilization and any hopes of a rescue team. The timeline flip flops back and forth a little which helps to introduce the characters a little at a time and also drops hints about who may have been the victim. The style allows the author to peel away layer after layer and reveal each characters biggest vulnerabilities and flaws. I enjoy guessing who murdered who based off each new little piece of information as it’s revealed.
This was an entertaining read, perfect for a lazy vacation day. I did find the plot similarities to The Guest List (which was released most recently) a little lackluster, but it didn’t give away anything. If you loved this book and loved the style of story and/or characters, then you would probably enjoy The Guest List (or vice versa!) just as much.