Review: The Guest List by Lucy Foley

The bride ‧ The plus one ‧ The best man ‧ The wedding planner ‧ The bridesmaid ‧ The body

On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favours, the boutique whiskey. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed.

But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. The groomsmen begin the drinking game from their school days. The bridesmaid not-so-accidentally ruins her dress. The bride’s oldest (male) friend gives an uncomfortably caring toast.

And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why?

I thoroughly enjoyed this clever, twisty, crime book. It kept me thinking and guessing the whole way through – firstly trying to work out who the victim was going to be (which I did manage to get before the reveal) and secondly who the murderer was (which I didn’t manage to work out).

The book was so clever, letting us have glimpses into the current and past lives of several key characters in alternating parts. Just when you thought you had a handle on someone you learnt something else that made you re-assess them again.

Very few of the people we got to spend time with in this book were genuinely nice. But somehow that didn’t matter. They were all very human, very rounded characters with messy back stories and human failings. They weren’t so unlikable as to put you off reading and indeed there were several who you just felt genuine sadness for.

The author deals with a few difficult themes in the course of the story too. Suicide, abortion, drug use, infidelity and childhood trauma all are raised at some point, they are important parts of the character arcs and written well but if you’re uncomfortable with any of these topics then this probably isn’t the book for you.

A brilliant crime novel and I’ll certainly be looking out for the authors next book.

With thanks to Harper Collins UK and Netgalley for a copy in exchange for honest review.

The Guest List is available now.

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