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The Hunting Party: A Novel

The Hunting Party: A Novel

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The Hunting Party: A Novel

valoraciones:
4/5 (263 valoraciones)
Longitud:
386 página
6 horas
Editorial:
Publicado:
Feb 12, 2019
ISBN:
9780062868923
Formato:
Libro

Descripción

THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

“My favorite kind of whodunit, kept me guessing all the way through, and reminiscent of Agatha Christie at her best -- with an extra dose of acid.” -- Alex Michaelides, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Silent Patient

Everyone's invited...everyone's a suspect...

During the languid days of the Christmas break, a group of thirtysomething friends from Oxford meet to welcome in the New Year together, a tradition they began as students ten years ago. For this vacation, they’ve chosen an idyllic and isolated estate in the Scottish Highlands—the perfect place to get away and unwind by themselves.

The trip begins innocently enough: admiring the stunning if foreboding scenery, champagne in front of a crackling fire, and reminiscences about the past. But after a decade, the weight of secret resentments has grown too heavy for the group’s tenuous nostalgia to bear. Amid the boisterous revelry of New Year’s Eve, the cord holding them together snaps, just as a historic blizzard seals the lodge off from the outside world.

Two days later, on New Year’s Day, one of them is dead. . . and another of them did it.

Keep your friends close, the old adage says. But how close is too close?

DON'T BE LEFT OUT. JOIN THE PARTY NOW.

Editorial:
Publicado:
Feb 12, 2019
ISBN:
9780062868923
Formato:
Libro

Sobre el autor

Lucy Foley studied English Literature at Durham and UCL universities. She then worked for several years as a fiction editor in the publishing industry – during which time she also wrote her debut, The Book of Lost and Found. Lucy now writes full-time, and is busy travelling (for research, naturally!) and working on her next novel. Visit her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/LucyFoleyAuthor and follow her on Twitter @lucyfoleytweets


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Vista previa del libro

The Hunting Party - Lucy Foley

Publisher

1

Heather

Now

January 2, 2019

I SEE A MAN COMING THROUGH THE FALLING SNOW. FROM A DISTANCE, through the curtain of white, he looks hardly human, like a shadow figure.

As he nears me I see that it is Doug, the gamekeeper.

He is hurrying toward the Lodge, I realize, trying to run. But the fallen, falling snow hampers him. He stumbles with each step. Something bad. I know this without being able to see his face.

As he comes closer I see that his features are frozen with shock. I know this look. I have seen it before. This is the expression of someone who has witnessed something horrific, beyond the bounds of normal human experience.

I open the door of the Lodge, let him in. He brings with him a rush of freezing air, a spill of snow.

What’s happened? I ask him.

There is a moment—a long pause—in which he tries to catch his breath. But his eyes tell the story before he can, a mute communication of horror.

Finally, he speaks. I’ve found the missing guest.

Well, that’s great, I say. Where—

He shakes his head, and I feel the question expire on my lips.

I found a body.

2

Emma

Three days earlier

December 30, 2018

NEW YEAR. ALL OF US TOGETHER FOR THE FIRST TIME IN ages. Me and Mark, Miranda and Julien, Nick and Bo, Samira and Giles, their six-month-old baby, Priya. And Katie.

Four days in a winter Highland wilderness. Loch Corrin, it’s called. Very exclusive: they only let four parties stay there each year—the rest of the time it’s kept as a private residence. This time of year, as you might guess, is the most popular. I had to reserve it pretty much the day after New Year last year, as soon as the bookings opened up. The woman I spoke with assured me that with our group taking over most of the accommodations we should have the whole place to ourselves.

I take the brochure out of my bag again. A thick card, expensive affair. It shows a fir-lined loch, heather-red peaks rising behind, though they may well be snow-covered now. According to the photographs, the Lodge itself—the New Lodge, as the brochure describes it—is a big glass construction, über-modern, designed by a top architect who recently constructed the summer pavilion at the Serpentine Gallery. I think the idea is that it’s meant to blend seamlessly with the still waters of the loch, reflecting the landscape and the uncompromising lines of the big peak, the Munro, rising behind.

Near the Lodge, dwarfed by it, you can make out a small cluster of dwellings that look as though they are huddling together to keep warm. These are the cabins; there’s one for each couple, but we’ll come together to have meals in the shooting lodge, the bigger building in the middle. Apart from the Highland Dinner on the first night—a showcase of local, seasonal produce—we’ll be cooking for ourselves. They’ve ordered food in for me. I sent a long list in advance—fresh truffles, foie gras, oysters. I’m planning a real feast for New Year’s Eve, which I’m very excited about. I love to cook. Food brings people together, doesn’t it?

THIS PART OF THE JOURNEY IS PARTICULARLY DRAMATIC. WE have the sea on one side of us, and every so often the land sheers away so that it feels as if one wrong move might send us careering over the edge. The water is slate gray, violent-looking. In one cliff-top field the sheep huddle together in a group as though trying to keep warm. You can hear the wind; every so often it throws itself against the windows, and the train shudders.

All of the others seem to have fallen asleep, even baby Priya. Giles is actually snoring.

Look, I want to say, look how beautiful it is!

I’ve planned this trip, so I feel a certain ownership of it—the anxiety that people won’t enjoy themselves, that things might go wrong. And also a sense of pride, already, in its small successes . . . like this, the wild beauty outside the window.

It’s hardly a surprise that they’re all asleep. We got up so early this morning to catch the train—Miranda looked particularly cross at the hour. And then everyone got on the booze, of course. Mark, Giles, and Julien hit the drinks trolley early, somewhere around Doncaster, even though it was only eleven. They got happily tipsy, affectionate, and loud (the next few seats along did not look impressed). They seem to be able to fall back into the easy camaraderie of years gone by no matter how much time has passed since they last saw each other, especially with the help of a couple of beers.

Nick and Bo, Nick’s American boyfriend, aren’t so much a feature of this boys’ club, because Nick wasn’t part of their group at Oxford . . . although Katie has claimed in the past that there’s more to it than that, some tacit homophobia on the part of the other boys. Nick is Katie’s friend, first and foremost. Sometimes I have the distinct impression that he doesn’t particularly like the rest of us, that he tolerates us only because of Katie. I’ve always suspected a bit of coolness between Nick and Miranda, probably because they’re both such strong characters. And yet this morning the two of them seemed thick as thieves, hurrying off across the station concourse, arm in arm, to buy sustenance for the trip. This turned out to be a perfectly chilled bottle of Sancerre, which Nick pulled from the cool-bag to slightly envious looks from the beer drinkers. He was trying to get those G-and-Ts in cans, Miranda told us, but I wouldn’t let him. We have to start as we mean to go on.

Miranda, Nick, Bo, and I each had some wine. Even Samira decided to have a small one, too, at the last minute: There’s all this new evidence that says you can drink when you’re breastfeeding.

Katie shook her head at first; she had a bottle of fizzy water. Oh, come on, Kay-tee, Miranda pleaded, with a winning smile, proffering a glass. We’re on holiday! It’s difficult to refuse Miranda anything when she’s trying to persuade you to do something, so Katie took it, of course, and had a tentative sip.

THE BOOZE HELPED LIGHTEN THE ATMOSPHERE A BIT; WE’D had a bit of a mix-up with the seating when we first got on. Everyone was tired and cross, halfheartedly trying to work it out. It turned out that one of the nine seats on the booking had somehow ended up in the next carriage, completely on its own. The train was packed, for the holidays, so there was no possibility of shuffling things around.

Obviously that’s my one, Katie said. Katie, you see, is the odd one out, not being in a couple. In a way, I suppose you could say that she is more of an interloper than I am these days.

Oh, Katie, I said. I’m so sorry—I feel like an idiot. I don’t know how that happened. I was sure I’d reserved them all in the middle, to try to make sure we’d all be together. The system must have changed it. Look, you come and sit here . . . I’ll go there.

No, Katie said, hefting her suitcase awkwardly over the heads of the passengers already in their seats. That doesn’t make any sense. I don’t mind.

Her tone suggested otherwise. For goodness’ sake, I found myself thinking. It’s only a train journey. Does it really matter?

The other eight seats were facing each other around two tables in the middle of the carriage. Just beyond, there was an elderly woman sitting next to a pierced teenager—two solitary travelers. It didn’t look likely that we’d be able to do anything about the mess-up. But then Miranda bent across to speak to the elderly woman, her curtain of hair shining like gold, and worked her magic. I could see how charmed the woman was by her: the looks, the cut-glass—almost antique—accent. Miranda, when she wants to, can exert serious charm. Anyone who knows her has been on the receiving end of it.

Oh yes, the woman said, of course she would move. It would probably be more peaceful in the next carriage anyway: You young people, aha!—though none of us are all that young anymore—And I prefer sitting forward, as it is.

Thanks, Manda, Katie said, with a brief smile. (She sounded grateful, but she didn’t look it, exactly.) Katie and Miranda are best friends from way back. I know they haven’t seen as much of each other lately, those two; Miranda says Katie has been busy with work. And because Samira and Giles have been tied up in baby land, Miranda and I have spent more time together than ever before. We’ve been shopping, we’ve gone for drinks. We’ve gossiped together. I have begun to feel that she’s accepted me as her friend, rather than merely Mark’s girlfriend, last to the group by almost a decade.

Katie has always been there to usurp me, in the past. She and Miranda have always been so tight-knit. So much so that they’re almost more like sisters than friends. In the past I’ve felt excluded by this, all that closeness and history. It doesn’t leave any new friendship with room to breathe. So a secret part of me is—well, rather pleased.

I REALLY WANT EVERYONE TO HAVE A GOOD TIME ON THIS TRIP, for it all to be a success. The New Year’s Eve getaway is a big deal. They’ve done it every year, this group. They’ve been doing it for long before I came onto the scene. And I suppose, in a way, planning this trip is a rather pitiful attempt at proving that I am really one of them. At saying I should be properly accepted into the inner circle at last. You’d think that three years—which is the time it has been since Mark and I got together—would be long enough. But it’s not. They all go back a very long way, you see: to Oxford, where they first became friends.

It’s tricky—as anyone who has been in this situation will know—to be the latest addition to a group of old friends. It seems that I will always be the new girl, however many years pass. I will always be the last in, the trespasser.

I look again at the brochure in my lap. Perhaps this trip—so carefully planned—will change things. Prove that I am one of them. I’m so excited.

3

Katie

SO WE’RE FINALLY HERE. AND YET I HAVE A SUDDEN LONGING to be back in the city. Even my office desk would do. The Loch Corrin station is laughably tiny. A solitary platform, with the steel-covered slope of a mountain shearing up behind, the top lost in cloud. The signpost, the National Rail standard, looks like a practical joke. The platform is covered in a thin dusting of snow, not a single footprint marring the perfect white. I think of London snow—how it’s dirty almost as soon as it has fallen, trodden underfoot by thousands. If I needed any further proof of how far we are from the city, it is this, that no one has been here to step in it, let alone clear it. Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore. We passed through miles and miles of this wild-looking countryside on the train. I can’t remember the last time I saw a human structure before this one, let alone a person.

We walk gingerly along the frozen platform—you can see the glint of black ice through the fallen snow—past the tiny station building. It looks completely deserted. I wonder how often the Waiting Room, with its painted sign and optimistic shelf of books, gets used. Now we’re passing a small cubicle with a pane of dirty glass: a ticket booth, or tiny office. I peer in, fascinated by the idea of an office here in the middle of all this wilderness, and feel a small shock as I realize it isn’t empty. There’s actually someone sitting there, in the gloom. I can only make out the shape of him: broad-shouldered, hunched, and then the brief gleam of eyes, watching us as we pass.

What is it? Giles, in front of me, turns around. I must have made a noise of surprise.

There’s someone in there, I whisper. A train guard or something—it just gave me a shock.

Giles peers through the window. You’re right. He pretends to tip an imaginary cap from his bald head. Top o’ the morning to ya, he says, with a grin. Giles is the clown of our group: lovable, silly—sometimes to a fault.

That’s Irish, idiot, says Samira affectionately. Those two do everything affectionately. I never feel more aware of my single status than when I’m in their company.

The man in the booth does not respond at first. And then, slowly, he raises one hand, a greeting of sorts.

THERE’S A LAND ROVER WAITING TO PICK US UP: SPLATTERED with mud, one of the old kind. I see the door open, and a tall man unfolds himself.

That must be the gamekeeper, Emma says. The email said he’d pick us up.

He doesn’t look like a gamekeeper, I think. What had I imagined, though? I think, mainly, I’d expected him to be old. He’s probably only about our age. There’s the bulk, I suppose: the shoulders, the height, that speak of a life lived outdoors, and the rather wild dark hair. As he welcomes us, in a low mumble, his voice has a cracked quality to it, as though it doesn’t get put to much use.

I see him look us over. I don’t think he likes what he sees. Is that a sneer, as he takes in Nick’s spotless Barbour coat, Samira’s Hunter wellies, Miranda’s fox-fur collar? If so, who knows what he makes of my city dweller’s clothes and wheeled Samsonite. I hardly thought about what I was packing, because I was so distracted.

I see Julien, Bo, and Mark try to help him with the bags, but he brushes them aside. Beside him they look as neat as schoolboys on the first day of the new term. I bet they don’t love the contrast.

I suppose it will have to be two lots, Giles says. Can’t get all of us in there safely.

The gamekeeper raises his eyebrows. Whatever you like.

You girls go first, Mark says, with an attempt at chivalry, us lads will stay behind. I wait, cringing, for him to make a joke about Nick and Bo being honorary girls. Luckily it doesn’t seem to have occurred to him—or he’s managed to hold his tongue. We’re all on our best behavior today, in tolerant holiday-with-friends mode.

It’s been ages since we’ve all been together like this—not since last New Year’s Eve, probably. I always forget what it’s like. We fit back so quickly, so easily, into our old roles, the ones we have always occupied in this group. I’m the quiet one—to Miranda and Samira, my old housemates, the group extroverts. I revert: we all do. I’m sure Giles, say, isn’t nearly such a clown in the hospital where he’s a highly respected department head. We clamber into the Land Rover. It smells of wet dog and earth in here. I imagine that’s what the gamekeeper would smell like, too, if you got close enough. Miranda is up front, next to him. Every so often I catch a whiff of her perfume: heavy, smoky, mingling oddly with the earthiness. Only she could get away with it. I turn my head to breathe in the fresh air coming through the cracked window.

On one side of us now a rather steep bank falls away to the loch. On the other, though it’s not quite dark, the forest is already impenetrably black. The road is nothing more than a track, pitted and very thin, so a false move would send us plunging down toward the water, or crashing into the thickets. We seesaw our way along and then suddenly the brakes come on, hard. All of us are thrown forward in our seats and then slammed back against them.

Fuck! Miranda shouts as Priya—so quiet for the journey up—begins to howl in Samira’s arms.

A stag is lit up in the track in front of us. It must have detached itself from the shadow of the trees without any of us noticing. The huge head looks almost too big for the slender reddish body, crowned by a vast bristle of antlers, both majestic and lethal-looking. In the headlights its eyes gleam a weird, alien green. Finally it stops staring at us and moves away with an unhurried grace, into the trees. I put a hand to my chest and feel the fast drumbeat of my heart.

Wow, Miranda breathes. What was that?

The gamekeeper turns to her and says, deadpan, A deer.

I mean, she says, a little flustered—unusually for her—I mean, what sort of deer?

Red, the gamekeeper says. A red stag. He turns back to the road. Exchange over.

Miranda twists around to face us over the back of the seats, and mouths, He’s hot, no? Samira and Emma nod their agreement. Then, aloud, she says, Don’t you think so, Katie? She leans over and pokes me in the shoulder, a tiny bit too hard.

I don’t know, I say. I look at the gamekeeper’s impassive expression in the rearview mirror. Has he guessed we’re talking about him? If so, he gives no indication that he’s listening, but all the same, it’s embarrassing.

Oh, but you’ve always had strange taste in men, Katie, Miranda says, laughing.

Miranda has never really liked my boyfriends. The feeling has, funnily enough, generally been mutual—I’ve often had to defend her to them. I think you pick them, she said once, so that they’ll be like the angel on your shoulder, telling you: ‘She’s not a good’un, that one. Steer clear.’ But Miranda is my oldest friend. And our friendship has always outlasted any romantic relationship—on my side, that is. Miranda and Julien have been together since Oxford.

I wasn’t sure what to make of Julien when he came on the scene, at the end of our first year. Neither was Miranda. He was a bit of an anomaly, compared to the boyfriends she’d had before. Admittedly, there were only a couple for comparison, both of them projects like me, not nearly as good-looking or as sociable as her, guys who seemed to exist in a permanent state of disbelief that they had been chosen. But then, Miranda has always liked a project.

So Julien seemed too obvious for her, with her love of waifs and strays. He was too brashly good-looking, too self-confident. And those were her words, not mine. He’s so arrogant, she’d say. I can’t wait to hand him his balls next time he tries it on. I wondered if she really couldn’t see how closely he mirrored her own arrogance, her own self-confidence.

Julien kept trying. And each time, she rebuffed him. He’d come over to chat to us—her—in a pub. Or he’d just happen to bump into her after a lecture. Or he’d casually be dropping into the bar of our college’s Junior Common Room, ostensibly to see some friends, but would spend most of the night sitting at our table, wooing Miranda with an embarrassing frankness.

Later I came to understand that when Julien wants something badly enough he won’t let anything stand in the way of his getting it. And he wanted Miranda. Badly.

Eventually, she gave in to the reality of the situation: she wanted him back. Who wouldn’t? He was beautiful then, still is, perhaps even more so now that life has roughed a little of the perfection off him, the glibness. I wonder if it would be biologically impossible not to want a man like Julien, at least in the physical sense.

I remember Miranda introducing us, at the Summer Ball—when they finally got together. I knew exactly who he was, of course. I had borne witness to the whole saga: his pursuit of Miranda, her throwing him off, him trying and trying—her, finally, giving in to the inevitable. I knew so much about him. Which college he was at, what subject he was studying, the fact that he was a rugby Blue. I knew so much that I had almost forgotten he wouldn’t have a clue who I was. So when he kissed me on the cheek and said, solemnly, Nice to meet you, Katie—quite politely, despite being drunk—it felt like a big joke.

THE FIRST TIME HE STAYED AT OUR HOUSE—MIRANDA, SAMIRA, and I all lived together in the second year—I bumped into him coming out of the bathroom, a towel wrapped around his waist. I was so conscious of trying to be normal, not to look at the bare expanse of his chest, at his broad, well-muscled shoulders gleaming wet from the shower, that I said, Hi, Julien.

He seemed to clutch the towel a little tighter around his waist. Hello. He frowned. Ah—this is a bit embarrassing. I’m afraid I don’t know your name.

I saw my mistake. He had completely forgotten who I was, had probably forgotten ever having met me. Oh, I said, putting out my hand, I’m Katie.

He didn’t take my hand, and I realized that this was another mistake—too formal, too weird. Then it occurred to me it might also have been that he was keeping the towel up with that hand, clutching a toothbrush with the other.

Sorry. He smiled then, his charming smile, and took pity on me. So. What did you do, Katie?

I stared at him. What do you mean?

He laughed. Like the novel, he said. "What Katie Did. I always liked that book. Though I’m not sure boys are supposed to." For the second time he smiled that smile of his, and I suddenly thought I could see something of what Miranda saw in him.

This is the thing about people like Julien. In an American romcom someone as good-looking as him might be cast as a bastard, perhaps to be reformed, to repent of his sins later on. Miranda would be a bitchy Prom Queen, with a dark secret. The mousy nobody—me—would be the kind, clever, pitifully misunderstood character who would ultimately save the day. But real life isn’t like that. People like them don’t need to be unpleasant. Why would they make their lives difficult? They can afford to be their own spectacularly charming selves. And the ones like me, the mousy nobodies, we don’t always turn out to be the heroes of the tale. Sometimes we have our own dark secrets.

WHAT LITTLE LIGHT THERE WAS HAS LEFT THE DAY NOW. You can hardly make out anything other than the black mass of trees on either side. The dark has the effect of making them look thicker, closer: almost as though they’re pressing in toward us. Other than the thrum of the Land Rover’s engine there is no noise at all; perhaps the trees muffle sound, too.

Up front, Miranda is asking the gamekeeper about access. This place is truly remote. It’s an hour’s drive to the road, the gamekeeper tells us. In good weather.

"An hour?" Samira asks. She casts a nervous glance at Priya, who is staring out at the twilit landscape, the flicker of moonlight between the trees reflected in her big dark eyes.

I glance out through the back window. All I can see is a tunnel of trees, diminishing in the distance to a black point.

More than an hour, the gamekeeper says, if the visibility is poor or the conditions are bad. Is he enjoying this?

It takes me an hour to get down to my mum’s in Surrey. That’s some sixty miles from London. It seems incredible that this place is even in the United Kingdom. I have always thought of this small island we call home as somewhat overcrowded. The way my stepdad likes to talk about immigrants, you’d think it was in very real danger of sinking beneath the weight of all the bodies squeezed onto it.

Sometimes, the gamekeeper says, at this time of year, you can’t use the road at all. If there’s a dump of snow, say—it would have been in the email you got from Heather.

Emma nods. It was.

What do you mean? Samira’s voice has an unmistakable shrillness now. We won’t be able to leave?

It’s possible, he says. If we get enough snow the track becomes impassable—it’s too dangerous, even for snow tires. We get at least a couple of weeks a year, in total, when Corrin is cut off from the rest of the world.

That could be quite cozy, Emma says quickly, perhaps to fend off any more worried interjections from Samira. Exciting. And I’ve ordered enough groceries in—

And wine, Miranda supplies.

—and wine, Emma agrees, to last us for a couple of weeks if we need it to. I probably went a bit overboard. I’ve planned a bit of a feast for New Year’s Eve.

No one’s really listening to her. I think we’re all preoccupied by this new understanding of the place in which we’re going to spend the next few days. Because there is something unnerving about the isolation, knowing how far we are from everything.

What about the station? Miranda asks, with a sort of gotcha! triumph. Surely you could just get a train?

The gamekeeper gives her a look. He is quite attractive, I realize. Or at least he would be, only there’s something haunted about his eyes. Trains don’t run so well on a meter of snow, either, he says. So they wouldn’t be stopping here.

And, just like that, the landscape, for all its space, seems to shrink around us.

4

Doug

IF IT WEREN’T FOR THE GUESTS, THIS PLACE WOULD BE PERFECT. But he supposes he wouldn’t have a job without them.

It had been everything he could do, when he picked them up, not to sneer. They reek of money, this lot—like all those who come here. As they approached the Lodge, the shorter, dark-haired man—Jethro? Joshua?—had turned to him in a man-to-man way, holding up a shiny silver phone. I’m searching for the Wi-Fi, he said, but nothing is coming up. Obviously there’s no 3G: I get that. You can’t have 3G without a signal . . . Ha! But I would have thought I’d start picking up on the Wi-Fi. Or do you have to be closer to the Lodge?

He told the man that they didn’t turn the Wi-Fi on unless someone asked for it specifically. And you can sometimes catch a signal, but you have to climb up there—he pointed to the slope of the Munro—in order to get it.

The man’s face had fallen. He had looked for a moment almost frightened. His wife had said, swiftly, I’m sure you can survive without Wi-Fi for a few days, darling. And she smothered any further protest with a kiss, her tongue darting out. Doug had looked away.

THE SAME WOMAN, MIRANDA—THE BEAUTIFUL ONE—HAD SAT up in front with him in the Land Rover, her knee angled close to his own. She had laid an unnecessary hand on his arm as she climbed into the car. He caught a gust of her perfume every time she turned to speak to him, rich and smoky. He had almost forgotten that there are women like this in the world: complex, flirtatious, the sort who have to seduce everyone they meet. Dangerous, in a very particular way. Heather is so different. Does she even wear perfume? He can’t remember noticing it. Certainly not makeup. She has the sort of looks that work better without any adornment from cosmetics. He likes her face, heart-shaped, dark-eyed, the elegant parentheses of her eyebrows. Someone who hadn’t spent time with Heather might think that there was a simplicity to her, but he suspects otherwise, that with her it is very much a case of still waters running deep. He has a vague idea that she lived in Edinburgh before, that she had a proper career there. He has not tried to find out what her story is, though. It might mean revealing too much of his own.

Heather is a good person. He is not. Before he came here, he did a terrible thing. More than one thing, actually. A person like her should be protected from someone like him.

THE GUESTS ARE NOW IN HEATHER’S CHARGE, FOR THE moment—and that’s a relief. It took no small effort to conceal his dislike of them. The dark-haired man—Julien, that was the name—is typical of the people that stay here. Moneyed, spoiled, wanting wilderness, but secretly expecting the luxury of the hotels they’re used to staying in. It always takes them a while to process what they have actually signed up for, the remoteness, the simplicity, the priceless beauty of the surroundings. Often they undergo a kind of conversion, they are seduced by this place—who wouldn’t be? But he knows they don’t understand it, not properly. They think that they’re roughing it, in their beautiful cabins with their four-poster beds and fireplaces and underfloor heating and the fucking sauna they can trot over to if they really want to exert themselves. And the ones he takes deer-stalking act as if they’ve suddenly become DiCaprio in The Revenant, battling with nature red in tooth and claw. They don’t realize how easy he has made it for them, doing all the difficult work himself: the observation of the herd’s activities, the careful tracking and plotting . . . so

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  • (4/5)
    A lil draggy but good pace. I enjoyed this light yet interesting read.
  • (2/5)
    its a slow burn all the way to the end. Skipping pages makes it better.
  • (4/5)
    3.5 stars

    Novel is definitely a slow burn. The pace didn’t pick up until the last 100 pages. However, I didn’t see the twists coming. The ending could have been flushed out more.
  • (3/5)
    It has all the elements of surprise however it didn't quite hit the mark! I didn't particularly enjoy the part where the author kept the guest's identity a surprise not did I enjoy the ending. I caught myself so many times thinking, this isn't how it should happen. Overall though it does keep you on tenterhooks, so 3/5 starts for me
  • (5/5)
    it took me a few days to clear all the relationships among those people, Miranda andJulien, Emma and Mark, Nick and Bo, Samira and Giles and Priya, Heather and Doug, Lain. all those people, their stories and personal traits, their intentions and desires are too complicated. but luckily, i can understand most of the vocabulary the author used. i wouldn't say the plot of this story surprises me most, but it's definitely worth reading.
  • (4/5)
    A group of friends heads to the Scottish Highlands to celebrate the New Year’s holiday together. Of course, the remote getaway is not as relaxing as they hoped. One of them ends up dead—and the odds are good that another one is the murderer.Lucy Foley’s The Hunting Party intrigued me until the end. The story takes the reader back and forth between the before and after of the murder—without sharing exactly what happened. So, even though I did not like anyone in the friend group, I still had to keep reading to discover the identities of the victim and the killer.It’s a book for anyone in need of a good mystery. With plenty of secrets and surprises along the way, it is sure to keep you intrigued.I received a complimentary copy of this book and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own.
  • (3/5)
    I received this book for free free as part of an Instagram tour (TLC Book Tours specifically) I did to promote the book.As a whole, this was an okay thriller. There were some things I liked and some things I didn’t.My main issue was that the story was a little slow. It takes a while for the storyline to pick up. Usually with thrillers, I’ll be turning the pages like crazy trying to find out what happens next. But that didn’t happen with this book until the last 100 pages. There were also a lot of characters and it was hard at first to differentiate them all, especially with the point of view shifts. Speaking of points of view, there was a tad bit too much of inner dialogue whenever there was a switch. It sometimes felt a little unnecessary. As for what I liked, I found that the mood and tone were very effective. It really helped set the scene. The book was very atmospheric and really captured the eerie vibe of the Scottish woods. The reveal at the end was a little underwhelming but in a way I liked that simplicity. Sometimes thrillers go way out there, so it was nice to see one that didn’t. Overall, this wasn’t a mind blowing thriller in any way but I still found it entertaining.
  • (4/5)
    The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley was an absolute blast. Last year I went through several weeks where all I wanted to read were murder mysteries and this was the first one from the recommended reading list. The Hunting Party is a psychological thriller taking place at an isolated hotel in the middle of the Scottish countryside during a snowstorm. There are a multitude of characters in this book but they're all such distinctly different personalities that you're unlikely to get character fatigue. [A/N: Did I just invent 'character fatigue'? If you ever tried to read Casual Vacancy then surely you understand what I'm talking about.] Stuck out in the Scottish highlands with no way to get help, a murder puts a real crimp on the New Year's festivities. Backtracking from two days prior to our main event, the reader is introduced to a group of friends who have known each other since college. There are cliques within this clique and not everyone is likable (in fact I don't recall particular loving any of them). You're trying to work out who the killer is along with the rest of them and the craziest thing is that I wasn't even totally sure who was dead until the last 20 pages! O_O If you're looking for a real page turner that will keep you on the edge of your seat this is the one for you. 9/10 because the unnecessarily explicit sex scenes really turned me off.Let me know if you worked out who the killer was before it was revealed. (I did but it was made harder by my lack of confidence in who was actually dead. You'll get what I mean if you read it.)
  • (5/5)
    It kept my attention the whole time! Definitely did not know who it was till the very end!
  • (4/5)
    Summary: A group of friends gather together to celebrate the New Year at an isolated lodge in the Scottish Highlands. The group arrives right before a huge blizzard moves in (cue the creepy music). Two days later, one of them is dead. Thoughts: Overall not a bad atmospheric mystery/thriller. I enjoyed the fact that the author kept the reader guessing at who got murdered and who did it. The ending left me with mixed feelings.
  • (3/5)
    I'm not quite sure why I enjoyed The Hunting Party, but I did. I was looking for a light, festive-themed murder mystery, and this book definitely fits the bill. The story centres on a group of thirtysomething college friends who are celebrating New Year in a remote Scottish hunting lodge. It is told largely in flashback, using four first-person narratives and one third-person perspective. Sadly, the delineation of character lets the book down; some characters are flat and play no real part in the story; the men are particularly two-dimensional. The 'shared narration' conceit is less effective than it could have been because the narrators are so similar and their tones of voice so uniform. It is also unclear why and how these narratives emerged. The plot features the usual dodges and misdirections, but its pacing is perfectly judged. Despite its flaws it is well worth reading – especially in winter.
  • (3/5)
    I was enjoying this book; I liked the way it built the story. I liked the way it made me feel about certain characters. I liked the way that you knew there had been a murder right at the start of the book, but not who the victim was - that detail being slowly revealed over the course of the book.

    But then we got to the big reveal, and it highlighted what had been bothering me. The characters - the group of frenemies coming together for their annual meet to celebrate a new year. A collection of college graduates (in this case, Oxford) now in those 30s. And all the stereotypes are here. The glamorous one; the earnest one, the one with a dark side, the mousy one, the one not quite a proper member of the group. The exact same group of character stereotypes were in E Lockhart’s We Were Liars.
  • (4/5)
    A group of thirty-something’s, friends since university, meet at a remote Scottish estate for an extended New Year holiday. Slowly growing apart, rifts appear in their relationships and on New Year’s Eve one of them goes missing, to be found a day later, obviously murdered. Extreme weather has them snowed in with no imminent arrival of the police or any way for them to leave. Who among them is the murderer?The story runs from the 30th December when they all travel to the estate, through to the 2nd January when the killer is unmasked, and is told in the various voices of the characters, often overlapping or providing different perspectives on the same events.I found the book a bit slow going at first, especially because none of th characters is particularly likeable and everyone has secrets they want to keep hidden. As we learn more about their past lives and painful truths are exposed, I did find myself being drawn into the story, like watching a car crash, painful but you cannot turn away.The victim is not revealed until near the end of the book, which adds tension and interest, and the eventual killer and their motivation are excellently jolting. Along with me, you will be thinking, how could I have not seen this?
  • (4/5)
    I bought this book on impulse on a recent foray into Waterstone’s, tempted by the big display peppered with critics’ encomia, several of which offered comparisons to Donna Tartt’s The Secret history, and Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. As both of these rank among my favourite books, and buoyed up on post-payday enthusiasm, I took a punt, although aware that all too often in such impetuous purchases I have, as the knight presiding over the closing scenes of Indian Jones and the Last Crusade would say, chosen poorly.Not so this time, however. While I would definitely question the validity of the reference to The Secret History, the book certainly delivers a tense whodunit worthy of Dame Agatha in mid-season form. Nine Londoners in their early thirties repair to a remote but luxurious lodge on an estate in northwest Scotland to celebrate the new Year with style. They have been friends for years, and most of them were students together at Oxford a decade or so earlier. They are not without a fair degree of emotional and experiential baggage, but these get-togethers for New Year have become a tradition, and always passed smoothly.The landscape is glorious, but not without its own lurking menace. As the revellers arrive at the tiny local railway station, they find that their Lodge is a considerable drive away. Winter in the Highlands is no laughing matter, and shortly after they arrive a light snowfall begins. The gamekeeper who has turned up to meet them and drive them to their accommodation a taciturn man who struggles to hide his disdain for what he views as the overprivileged and irredeemably trivial visitors. In one of his few speeches that extends beyond the curtly monosyllabic he warns that the weather may turn much worse, and that they might well find that they are stranded beyond the few days that they had arranged. Just as they arrive at the lodge, a news report on the car radio advises listeners that the police are still investigating a murder in (relatively) nearby Fort William, but are no nearer making an arrest. Of course, this all sounds as if the writer is piling the melodrama on thickly, and leaving no potential cliché overlooked in establishing a scenario of wayfarers marooned without contact with the outside world. I certainly felt my eyes rolling involuntarily, and sensed an oncoming sigh of, ‘Here we go again!’. But Lucy Foley is better than that, and while there may be something immensely familiar about the broad strokes behind the scenario, if not the specific detail, she brushes this off through her focus on the strains that gradually emerge in the various relationships. There is indeed a death, and it becomes apparent that it is a murder rather than an accident, but Foley handles the dissemination of information very deftly, switching between a ‘present’ of 2nd January, and the two or three days leading up to that date.Foley writes in a brisk style that immediately captures the reader’s attention, and keeps them locked in with a blend of deftly managed suspense and genuine mystery about who might be behind the various chilling events that occur. This was highly entertaining.
  • (4/5)
    An annual reunion of friends at a new location with the added beauty and terror of a huge snowstorm that cuts everyone off from the rest of the world is where THE HUNTING PARTY begins and where we meet the characters.The reunion starts off with a long ride from the train station to the remote lodge with a scary gamekeeper as the driver, the juggling of who gets what cabin, the first-night dinner together, and finding out there is another couple in residence as well as the group of friends.The group has been friends for a long time, but do they really know each other? Are they jealous of each other? Why do they do this reunion every year? They all seem to have secrets and pasts that the others don’t know about.The first-night dinner brings many feelings about each other and frightening feelings about the couple from Iceland. They are poorly dressed and seem most interested in the hunting party that has been arranged.Along with the Lodge guests, we meet mysterious Heather. She seems all organized and put together on the outside, but she has her secrets and something in her past that she wants to forget.THE HUNTING PARTY lets us get to know the guests very well. Actually a little too well...going into all the detail about their lives past and present got a bit too much, but I guess it was necessary for the reader to get the full impact of the reunion and events. We are taken from the festivities to Doug, the gamekeeper, finding a body and showing Heather where he found it. When Heather sees the body, she knows it wasn't an accident.Waiting to find out which one of the friends was the victim and who the killer was kept the tension high. The identity was not made known until the very end. The mystery was a well-kept secret.Ms. Foley's writing is very descriptive and beautiful. I could see every detail of the landscape and feel the emotions of each character. If you can describe writing as lush, that is how beautiful the sentences flowed and created a picture.If you enjoy a mystery, antics of characters, learning that the characters really didn't show their true colors, and waiting for the “ball to drop,” THE HUNTING PARTY will be a book you will want to read. The story line was perfectly carried out and nothing was revealed until the very end. It was an interesting study of personalities. 4/5This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
  • (4/5)
    The Hunting PartyByLucy FoleyWhat it's all about...A group of friends always spend NYE together in different exclusive expansive and expensive destinations. This year they have chosen an estate in a deep dark far away forest. They get there and are immediately snowed in. And someone is murdered. That’s what we have...My thoughts after reading this book...This book was a sort of slow moving book but I loved that aspect of it. Tiny secrets were revealed about the lodge and the guests bit by bit. Was it the happy closely knit group of friends they portray to the world? Perhaps not!What I loved best...I loved the slow reveal of all these personalities. I loved learning their secrets!What potential readers might want to know...Readers who love a well written kind of chilling mystery should really enjoy this book. There are lots of mysterious characters and even a mean girl! You know the one...bossy, unsympathetic...just plain mean!I received this book from the publisher through Edelweiss. It was my choice to read and review it.
  • (4/5)
    A New Year’s reunion for 8 friends in the remote Scottish wilderness and one is a murderer and one won’t make it out alive! Historic blizzard seals the lodge from the outside world. Story is full of suspense, secrets and surprises. Interesting characters that find out how keeping your friends close can be harmful! Reminded me of Agatha Christie’s Orient Express mystery. Kept me guessing all the way thru! Recommended for mystery thriller lovers!
  • (2/5)
    I somewhat liked the mystery aspect of the novel. That’s what got me into reading this one in the first place. However it wasn’t what I thought it would and I finished the novel only because I wanted to know who it was that did the murder and the story behind it. The plot itself could use a little more as it’s lackluster and not interesting. If you’re looking for a murder mystery that’s a classic whodunit it’s not here. There may be slight similarities to it but it’s really more of a bunch of thirty somethings in a house and something bad happens. The events leading up to the murder are each told in a point of view of a character. At first it may be difficult to tell which one is which. You rather forget who is who as the characters are rather bland and uninteresting. Miranda stands out the most but even she’s not that likable. She’s a resentful spiteful twit who likes to step over others and hates their successes as she’s amounted to pretty much nothing. I’ve never seen such a spoiled brat as Miranda. Then you have Katie and Emma who aren’t that interesting either. Although if I had to choose, it’ll be Katie who was somewhat interesting. Until of course, she decides to do something extremely stupid and she ends up being just as spiteful as Miranda. Goodness, I didn’t think I was watching one of those soap operas or reality shows where they have this much drama.Then there’s Heather and Doug who aren’t a part of the group of friends but they each had their own story to tell. Well not really. Not much was revealed from them except they had horrible pasts. Okay. Details please. It’s nice to have well rounded characters but they ended up being vacant and lifeless. The mystery element (what little of it) was there and it came and went throughout the chapters. When all is final and revealed well, it’s all right but it’s not the best either. There’s not much in the way of background information and if there was, not much is given and the characters have no substance at all. The plot comes up empty and the whole thing with Iain, was that meant to be a red herring? This entire story just didn’t amount to what I thought it would. It’s disappointing as I wanted to like the book and was hyped for it. Don’t really recommend this one. If you really want to read it, I suggest library take out. Otherwise skip this one entirely.
  • (4/5)
    A book about a group of friends from Oxford and their significant others who spend the New Year's holiday in a secluded Lodge in Scotland. One ends up dead and everyone has a motive. This book starts with the discovery of the body, the day after New Year's and goes back and forth between Three Days Before when the guests arrive and Now, working its way up (and the suspense) to the murder. You don't find out until pretty late in the book who the victim is, and then you have to wait until the end to find out who and why. I really liked this book. I am giving it four stars just because it lacked that "WOW, I didn't see that coming" (for me anyway). However I would definitely recommend!
  • (5/5)
    This is a suspenseful thriller about a group of English thirty-somethings spending the New Year holidays at a lodge in the Scottish highlands.   Those in the group have been friends since their days at Oxford,  and they have a tradition of spending New Years Eve together.  The story begins with their train trip to Scotland and their fraying relationships are exposed from the start.   Their stay at the Lodge is filled with bad behaviour and plenty of excess alcohol.  One of their number is killed but their identity is kept secret until the end when the killer is revealed.  None of the Oxfords friends is particularly attractive as a person so it's easy to have no sympathy for the deceased or the killer.  The lodge employees are more sympathetic characters and they are the good guys of the piece.The story is told by alternating narrators which results in the reader having an overview that the characters are missing.  This approach to character development and storytelling makes the story more interesting and presents a profile of each narrator that adds background colour.  Of course, not all of the narrators are reliable reporters, something revealed at the end. There's a disturbing scene where a deer is shot and killed by one of the group.  A bit of gratuitous violence.It's a brilliant suspense story with a satisfactory ending.  Some might debate how the law ultimately treats the killer, but it typifies the vagaries of the criminal justice system.
  • (5/5)
    They've been meeting every New Year's weekend for as long as most of them have known each other, and everyone has agreed that this remote location north of Fort William in Scotland is the best ever.Four days in Highland wilderness in cabins and a lodge near Loch Corrin. It's very exclusive, nine guests and the gamekeeper and the manager.Right from the beginning of the book, on 2nd January 2019, we know there is a body, but we don't know who it is or, for most of the time, whether it is male or female.The narration hops around the time frame from 30 December to 2nd January, and from narrator to narrator. So we see events from several sets of eyes, but events don't necessarily overlap. The guest is reported missing on New Year's Day and the gamekeeper finds the body early the next day.I must admit to worrying about whether I would find the structure of the novel confusing, but it certainly gives the reader an "insider's view" of the relationships between the characters. It also preserves the anonymity of the victim, because the person keeps contributing to the narration right up to the end.A good read.
  • (4/5)
    I was hooked immediately. What's not to like? Isolated lodge, snow storm. old friends - and a 'locked room' murder. Foley does a fantastic job drawing her characters - particularly Miranda - the "queen bee." Her sense of entitlement, manipulation and downright nastiness is exceptionally done. And she's not the only one - each of the old friends has their own memories, resentments and secrets. And let's not forget the small staff at the lodge......Delicious! I love a good whodunit - and there are many choices in The Hunting Party. Foley keeps the reader guessing with each new revelation. I was kept guessing right to the end. Excellent!
  • (4/5)
    I found the story line captivating! If you have some great stories like this one, you can publish it on Novel Star, just submit your story to hardy@novelstar.top or joye@novelstar.top
  • (4/5)

    breathtaking! a masterpiece. If you have some great stories like this one, you can publish it on Novel Star, just submit your story to hardy@novelstar.top or joye@novelstar.top
  • (5/5)

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    The Guest List + One by One + Mean Girls

    While at Oxford, a group of friends begins to split into couples (with one exception). It’s to the point, the group only gathers for New Year’s Eve. This year, the spot chosen is a Scottish estate that sits on the size of its own country. When a body is found, the caretakers must try and figure out if there was foul play and if help will be able to get them through the snow-in in time.

    I was surprised to find I loved this even more that The Guest list! First, I guessed almost everything about TGL. Here, I got the victim right, but was completely wrong about the predator. As well as some other twists. I also love that this book is so dark throughout. These people are supposed to be the oldest of friends, but you see how almost everyone truly thinks. I also appreciate how Lucy does her PoVs. She doesn’t have everyone as a narrator, so she doesn’t overwhelm the reader. However, she doesn’t only give us one or two narrators, ruining “whodunit.”

    I will say I wish I had had more time to order the book from the UK. I really wanted the UK edition, as I prefer that cover. Unfortunately, I couldn’t trust the post right now so wound up buying the American version so I could have it for my Readathon.

    Buy this for yourself or someone looking for an unpredictable mystery! Or, if you’re twisted, get it for someone who has mentioned they’re not as close to their school friends as they used to be.

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  • (5/5)

    This was a good book, I liked it a lot.” ... If you have some great stories like this one, you can publish it on Novel Star, just submit your story to hardy@novelstar.top or joye@novelstar.top
  • (4/5)

    Esto le resultó útil a 1 persona

    A Perfect Murder Mystery! Gripping And Tense. A must-read for All Thriller Fans.

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  • (3/5)

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    The Short of It:When a group of entitled friends get together to celebrate New Year’s Eve at a fancy hunting lodge during one of the worst blizzards ever, drama ensues.The Rest of It:The Hunting Party is a book that I added to my list long ago. I enjoy stories where the characters are essentially trapped, and forced to be with one another. This is definitely that. Over New Year’s Eve, these friends rent a hunting lodge to host the party of all parties, partake in a little hunting, and drink themselves right into the new year.What they don’t count on is the murder of one of their own, or that someone will commit adultery, or that someone is hiding a pregnancy.I enjoyed The Hunting Party but felt like it lagged a little mid-way through. I expected a very “Clue-like” experience and a lot more suspense but again, still enjoyable. I am looking forward to Foley’s new book The Guest List which comes out in May. I have a review copy so I hope to get to it very soon.For more reviews, visit my blog: Book Chatter.

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  • (4/5)
    Excellent plotting and characterizations make for a great multi-voice narrative. Just when I feared a twist would negate all the great story that had come before, Foley proved me wrong. Brava.