CBR Bingo: Snakes
The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley was the December 2021 Mocha Girls Read book club selection. The theme was “snow on the cover”. I’ve heard a bunch of hype around this book. I am also a sucker for a cozy mystery or a thriller tv show. So I was more than a little intrigued. Everyone is a suspect so this works rather nicely for the “Snakes” square.
We meet a group of friends who went to Oxford together and are stuck in a hunting lodge in the Scottish highlands. They get together nearly every year and go on a lavish holiday. The book switches POVs from the caretakers of the lodge to the friends. We learn that someone is found dead by the lake, but it isn’t revealed for most of the book. It’s pretty clear most of them aren’t sure why they are still friends. Some of the group are likable but most of them are painted as horrible people. This is to make them all feel like suspects! There’s the couple with a baby, the gay couple with an American boyfriend, the snobby couple who like to make everyone seem like they have it together (spoiler they don’t). The so-called boring couple with the people-pleasing girlfriend, the creepy male friend who gets smashed and says inappropriate things, and the single lawyer woman who is teased for not having a life. Each chapter reveals secrets between the friends, resentment, unrequited longing, and jealousy. Between their bickering, we meet some creepy Scandinavian lodge guests and learn about the dark pasts of both caretakers.
I found the writing interesting, but the killer reveal didn’t pack as much oomph as expected. My favorite character was the female caretaker. She was our observer of the fractured friendship group. I felt like there were too many chapters focused on leading us down the wrong path of suspects to keep you guessing. I know people grow over time, but these friends have festered together. All the secrets are dragged out into the light with some action sequences to close it out. It was a quick read. I’d be open to trying another Lucy Foley book.
I’d recommend this to mystery/thriller fans who need to devour something in a few sittings. It’s kind of like A Million Little Pieces with more murder or Big Little Lies with less drama and more snow.