Rating: 3 Stars
The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley is definitely a page turner, with all the elements that make it a great thriller. At least, till you finish. Then you realize that you have been left with some unanswered questions, that keep niggling at you.
A group of friends has been spending New Year’s Eve together for the last ten years, ever since they were students at Oxford. This year they find themselves isolated and cut off from the rest of the world on an estate spread over thousands of acres in the Scottish Highlands. The cracks in their long lasting friendship begin to appear on the train journey to the remote location. They reach the estate on 30th December, and by New Year’s Day, one of them has disappeared.
Things seem to be normal as they all try to capture the old feelings of being carefree and having a good time, but over time each one of them has become resentful and holds grudges from things said and done over the last decade. As events start to unravel, it seems like any one of them could be a murderer….or the victim.
Going back and forth in time, the story is told from 5 different perspectives, and it is not clear who the victim is until very near the climax. The suspense is gripping and the setting is bleak and brutal. The characters are nothing new, just the typical type of people in almost every book about old friends. There’s the Queen Bee around whom the whole group revolves, the handsome but shallow Hunk married to the Queen Bee, the simple and quiet Best Friend, the Angry dude with a secret crush on the Queen Bee, the Gay couple, the Loved Up couple with a kid, and the Wannabe who wants to be best friends with the Queen Bee.
Even with such cliched characters, the story is interesting and keeps you glued to find out who has been killed, and who has the stomach to commit murder. After investing so much time, you suddenly find that the ending leaves a lot to be desired. The climax is not spectacular, but it is satisfactory. The epilogue, though leaves a lot of relevant questions unanswered while giving details on things that were rather irrelevant to the main story.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!
I have some questions that I need answered. I was ready to give the book a higher rating, until I realized that there were some very glaring loose ends.
- What was the purpose of the converstion that Heather overhears in her office? How did the guy get the note in the first place? And did it turn up later on to destory him? Also, why was the woman talking to him like it mattered to her, if she was already resentful and disillusioned with him?
- The court case was biased because the jury was impressed by the killer’s plea that it was unintentional, but what about the attempt to murder that was quite deliberate with a rifle stolen from the estate? Weren’t there more than enough eyewitnesses for that?
- I have a problem with protagonists being stupid, taking matters into their own hands, and wandering, delibrately and knowingly, into danger without telling anyone else!