Book 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 favors, 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?

The lights go out.

The first line of the novel alone was enough for me to get started. Fans of Agatha Christie would be drawn to Lucy Foley’s latest book, “The Guest List” which reveals a murder taking place in an isolated island off the coast of Ireland. There is nothing more exhilarating than to read an atmospheric murder mystery with a cast of complex characters painted with dark secrets. Though reminiscent of Christie’s “And There Were None” and “The Murder on the Orient Express”, Foley’s latest book offers more than just a whodunit hunt.  

Told from multiple perspectives, Foley gives a comprehensive look into each of the strongly written characters’ thoughts, motivations, and secrets alternately as the plot progresses.  Each chapter pulls us deeper into finding out the identity of the killer. But what I like most in this book is the fact that none of the characters are likable which easily points a finger towards all of them–an assumption that everyone is a suspect.  And just when we are truly convinced of our suspicions, what Foley does is circle us back, knocking us off with a feather. 

This novel contains all the hallmarks of both a character and plot-driven narrative that makes a great thriller. A slow-burner with an ending that is surely satisfying and riveting, “The Guest List” is enough to rattle our nerves but gives us exactly the reasons why.  

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Author: Lucy Foley

Genre: Mystery Thriller / Crime Fiction / Suspense

Length: 320 pages

Publisher: June 2nd 2020 by William Morrow

ISBN-10: 0062868934

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