The Guest List by Lucy Foley - a wedding and a murder
The Guest List by Lucy Foley
Genre: Thriller / Mystery
Published June 2020, 330 pages
A 'LOCKED ROOM' MYSTERY TROPE
This book uses the 'locked room' mystery ala Agatha Christie. The plot in a nutshell? A group of wedding guests have been invited to an exclusive wedding on a remote Irish island, and then a big storm comes up stranding people on the island, and - a murder!
The Guest List introduces each major player (suspect) in alternating chapters from the bride and groom to ushers and best friends and a 'plus one'. Though I must admit getting the ushers mixed up because there really wasn't ever enough backstory given to set them apart for me. There's the wedding planner and her husband who are also the owners of the property. The maid of honor (sister) and best man (school friend) were well described, broken, sad people as well as strong suspects.
Of course, everyone has secrets, and as the wedding reception gets into full swing with plenty of drinking and socializing, the secrets start to come to light and tempers flare. Some of the secrets are doozies and with each chapter of revelations my guess about the victim and killer changes. lol.
About half way through, chapters about "Now - The Wedding Night" start entering the mix and these short chapters lead us to the discovery of the murder - a little foreshadowing without giving so much away that the victim or killer is clear yet.
“...Life is messy. We all know this. Terrible things happen, I learned that while I was still a child. But no matter what happens, life is only a series of days. You can’t control more than a single day. But you can control one of them.”
I listened to this book and the voicing is delightful! It's a group of 4-5 men and women that give a great range of voices to the story. Each chapter is told in first person of the character being highlighted. The thoughts and dialog are first person from their perspective. At the close of the chapter, there's often a mini cliffhanger that leads further into the story.
Lucy Foley certainly has this type of thriller locked in, pun intended. Suspense builds almost from the very beginning and as each character becomes more developed, more clear, the plot swirls and thickens. It's a skill to keep up the level of tension, reveal just bits of a secret, but not drag it out so much that it becomes repetitive or boring, AND keep us guessing about not only the killer, but also the victim.
I also read The Hunting Party - a very similar setup - a group of friends in a remote place, a storm comes up, murder occurs, though in this case you know the victim pretty early in the story. But, I liked this group of characters better and felt the tension/suspense more in this one. It's worth a read!
Olivia, the young sister has issues that cause her to self-harm, so if that's a trigger for you, you may want to skip this book.