My library decided to drop these holds on me a week apart even though they were expected WEEKS apart so I ended up getting both right after the other. I do not think Foley is for me after both these middle ground books.
The Guest List
I don’t think this book is necessarily bad, but I am not quite so sure why its so popular either. The Guest List is not your typical mystery/thriller, while we know that SOMETHING happens in the future what we focus on instead is the lead up to crime. So we are guessing victim as well as culprit the entire time.
The writing is decent and keeps a forward momentum through the story that allows for it to never really feel like its dragging. The characters are interesting enough to keep you listening though not really engaging enough to love or really like since the perspective is switched between 5? I want to say 5 characters. I think it would have been better to pick a focus as I could only get partially invested in each story.
The twists and turns are plentiful but I honestly struggle to identify if its just decent foreshadowing that I saw them coming or that they were just really obvious. I was only surprised by one twist and that’s because I thought it was way too contrived of one.
The villain of the story was a little too mustache twirly by the end, seemingly having done every single wrong in all of the characters lives that has ever happened to them. It did make me cheer that they got theirs but also just felt way overdone.
The big problem I had with this story is that by focusing on the beginnings, we did not really see a lot of the fall out which I think would have been a more interesting part of the story. A lot of things were revealed about a lot of characters and almost none of it was resolved in any meaningful way. The side plots that I was actually kind of interested were just dropped unceremoniously without follow up. I felt like the ending was a good beginning to a story not the end of one.
And if you saw my earlier post you will know I listened to this on audiobook where it told me there was a half hour left but then ENDED and had an excerpt from Foley’s other novel. Can you imagine thinking you had a half hour left of resolution and it just ENDING?! I was so frustrated.
The Hunting Party
This is my second Lucy Foley in so many weeks and I have to say they feel a little color by numbers especially reading them so close together. Foley utilizes the same mystery format where we don’t know exactly who was murdered and we follow the days leading up to it. Eventually finding the murder victim and murderer.
In this story a group of old college friends unite for a ‘glamping’ vacation in the woods of Scotland. Secrets come out, drama is stirred, and someone is murdered.
She utilizes several POVs mostly seemingly to mislead and misdirect us but really leaves the story slightly unfocused and the characters harder to connect with. For some reason every POV is all the white straight people while the POC and gays are just barely there side characters. I guess this is a slight improvement from The Guest List where there was nothing but straight white people so we are slowly improving! But it did just feel weird that they are the only ones basically of all the couples not to have a POV or really very little to do with the plot.
I also found the Groundskeeper and Manager perspectives unnecessary and just slowed the story down. Wouldn’t he have been more intimidating and interesting if we weren’t in his head and his mysterious past slowly came out?
I again, don’t know whether its just good foreshadowing or just super obvious where we are going with the story. I called the murderer/victim and motive SUPER early in the story so it just felt very slow to actually get there.
I don’t think this format really lets us get to know the characters well enough since they are basically just lying to the readers the whole time. I get unreliable narrators but really, five of them? I think she leans on this trope too hard and I think it means that the twist is supposed to be what grabs us but when you predict them, you are just left with characters circling their real thoughts forever. Then these particular characters aren’t really likeable or even worse, they are uninteresting.
The writing was still sharp and easy to follow. I didn’t feel like I wanted to quit ever even while yelling to hurry it along. The audiobook narration is excellent and probably what kept me invested! I love some accents.