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The Hunting Party Reader Reviews

The Hunting Party

Nikki McMath

Greed, Jealousy, hatred, envy, lust, fascination, infatuation and murder!

Greed, Jealousy, hatred, envy, lust, fascination, infatuation and murder! This book is a thrilling suspense ride through the New Year with a group of friends or some might say frenemies even – they are University friends from Oxford and are kept together by their yearly trips away to celebrate the New Year. This year things are very, very different and some home truths will be revealed along with deep dark secrets that will cause upset, hurt and someone will suffer the full effect of this.

A gripping page turner I could not put this book down and had to read it in one sitting! Lucy Foley has written a very clever story with twists and turns and well thought out characters with many facets and faces – loved it.

Jan Payne

With 'friends' like these... Imagine a darker, edgier Agatha Christie - very compelling and a real treat!

With ‘friends’ like these…

A group of friends travel from London to the Scottish Highlands to see in the New Year. Spoilt and entitled they are an unlikeable bunch and their many secrets and tensions start to be revealed. We also meet the estate staff and they all seem to have their own demons too. 
As the New Year comes in a body is found, clearly not an accidental death. The weather worsens and the estate is cut off, the environment becoming as hostile as the atmosphere in the lodge. The murderer must be at the party and everybody has a motive. 
Some of the characters are featured and explored more than others. The story is told by four of the women each writing in the first person. Occasional chapters appear featuring just one of the men and are told in the third person. There is also a subplot which didn’t seem really necessary. 
This is a taut and complex murder mystery/thriller. We don’t even find out the gender of the victim until well into the book, let alone their identity. Just when you thought you’d worked it out, the story took yet another twist – I didn’t see the ending coming, but looking back the clues were there. 
Imagine a darker, edgier Agatha Christie – very compelling and a real treat!

Christine Woolfenden

Are your friends really who you think they are? Secrets and lies will out when friendships are put to the test.

A group of high-flying 30 something friends go away on a new-year break to a hunting lodge in a remote area of Scotland. They all seem to be perfectly happy and in accord, but there are secrets and lies waiting to be uncovered. Some of the characters are likeable, but as the story unfolds we find that some are not as they first appear. The action goes backwards and forwards over the course of the 3 or 4 days. Each chapter is told by one of the characters, so we are constantly getting differing points of view, which I found interesting. 
I found that I got into this book very quickly and found it well paced (for the most part) and easy to read. As we delve into the characters' past, it becomes clear that not everything is as rosy as it first appears. Sometimes, as each character told their story, I felt that the pace slowed and I was reading faster in order to get to the next piece of action. 
There is a sub-plot which is revealed at the end, and I found this a little contrived and nothing to do really with the main story. It came out of the blue and I'm not sure it was necessary, almost as if the author felt she had to put it in to add more drama. 
Overall, I really enjoyed the book and would like it to a modern day, much darker, Agatha Christie plot, where everyone is trapped in their surroundings and find that there's a murderer in their midst.

Marie Bomyer

The best part of the writing here, for me, is the clever use of the classic whodunit setting. Isolated and trapped, a fractious a small group drink, flirt and slink their way towards a New Year disaster. Every sound seems to threaten; every space seems to have eyes watching; every misdeed is remembered and will come back to haunt the party goers.

The best part of the writing here, for me, is the clever use of the classic whodunit setting. Isolated, trapped and fractious a small group drink, flirt and slink their way towards a New Year disaster.

I cannot remember ever being introduced to such an unlikable group of people before: self-obsessed, vain, demanding, highly strung and often threatening in manner, if not action. It is hard to find anyone whose viewpoint is reliable. That is, no doubt deliberate. I did end up having sympathy for one person and positively liking another, not what I expected at all!

There are, however, some over repeated details and too much psychoanalysis for my personal taste. After a slow start the pace of the novel picks up rattling to a loud conclusion.

Kathy Martin

The perfect 'who dunnit' to curl up with on a rainy day. Who is the victim? Who is the murderer? Lucy Foley keeps you guessing right to the very end.

Like a modern day Agatha Christie, Lucy Foley keeps you guessing to almost the final page. A perfect setting for a New Year's Eve party in the Scottish Highlands. The story starts with a murder - but who has been murdered and who is the killer? A group of old friends from University, an eccentric Icelandic couple and the members of staff all contribute their view of events and add little snippets of information to keep you wondering and changing your suspicions. The perfect book to curl up with on a rainy day - once I was half way through I just HAD to see 'who dunnit'. This is the first book by Lucy Foley that I've read and I will now be ordering others.

Neil Williams

A group of 30-something old Oxford university friends meet up for their annual New Year's Eve party. This year however, there is something different...

A group of 30 something old Oxford university friends meet up for their annual New Year party. This year however there's something different. There's a tension between them. 
An interesting and clever novel that switches back and forth over a 3 day period, also switching between the perspectives of the main protagonists, Miranda, Katie and Emma from the friend group and Heather and Doug, the staff who are responsible for the secluded lodge where the hunting party is based. 
I enjoyed the pace of the story and the reveals dripped throughout the story. Would definitely recommend.

Lucy Hall

You are drawn into the world of university friends and their history as they attend a New Years weekend in a secluded part of Scotland... Someone's been murdered & the murderer is still amongst the group...Suspense & Intrigue as you get closer to the truth.

Suspense & Intrigue... This is a slow burner & its no secret that someone's been murdered and the murderer is still amongst the group... What you don't know is the victim! This was the only thing that kept me going, it took me a while to get through the book (2 weeks) so it wasn't as gripping as I hoped it would be, however it was one that would play on my mind... who did it!!? There were two additional main characters and an unexpected sub plot which I didn't anticipate.

Good first novel from Lucy Foley and I would definitely read her next one.

Siân Spinney

I devoured this book; I just couldn't stop reading it. The characters are well formed and the atmosphere is dark. How well do you know your friends?

What starts as a regular trip away for New Year's Eve ends in tragedy. Friends from university gather in the Scottish Highlands, away from civilisation to catch up on each others' news and pretend that all is well in their worlds. As with any group, if you scratch the surface there are old resentments and secrets that have been closely guarded over the years. A heady mixture of alcohol and snow begins to show the cracks in the relationships and by the time Big Ben strikes midnight the pretence of perfect lives have disappeared. Add to this staff members who are also keeping secrets and you have a story perfect for reading late in to the night.


Sarah Harper

Reminiscent of a good Agatha Christie, this breathes new life into the old whodunnit genre. A stunning read. Perfect for any murder-mystery fans out there.

Old friends seeing in the New Year together in the remote Scottish highlands. An idyllic setting. Complete isolation. Secrets. Lies. And murder.

Reminiscent of a good Agatha Christie, The Hunting Party breathes new life into the old whodunnit genre. I soon found myself carrying it with me everywhere on the off-chance that I could snatch a few minutes to read it. It’s brilliantly written, feeding the reader just enough information to keep them guessing. It's stuffed full of red herrings and they are all very subtly done. Although I was slightly daunted by the introduction of all of the characters en massse at the start of the book, their individual personalities and positions within the group of friends were quickly established. The tension and intrigue builds and builds as each of their back-stories unfold. We learn more about each of them through their interactions with the other characters, hints at their past and snippets of information from their friends. The suspense is palpable as we are forced to hold our breaths until the very climax before the identity of both the killer and the victim are revealed. It really is a stunning read. Perfect for any murder-mystery fans out there.

Charlotte Walker

I've realised I'm now too old to pull an all-nighter to read a book - but it was worth it!

I asked to read this book originally because the synopsis reminded me of Edgar Allen Poe's "The Masque of Red Death" - the concept that people are locked in a space, thinking they are safe only to be picked off one by one. The reality of the book is more Agatha Christie in nature but that is by no means a terrible thing, and I quickly readjusted my expectations. 

Despite my misunderstanding I was quickly sucked in to this story line. The drop-feeding of information and the way that the book swaps between before and after the murder has you reading "just one more chapter". I managed to read this book in two sittings as I can't quite pull an all-nighter before work anymore. 

The relationship between the two hotel workers was a bit predictable but adds a nice will they won't they side plot to the book that doesn't distract from the main plotline too much. The uneven character development for the guests also quickly rules them out as suspects and victims due to the lack or "dirt" on them. Despite this there are twists and revelations that you don't always expect with adds an extra layer of excitement on an already gripping story. 

This is a really good crime fiction book which is perfect for devouring on a winter weekend curled up by a warm fire. 

Lynne Morgan

A good murder-mystery story, which keeps you guessing almost until the end.

A good murder-mystery story, which keeps you guessing almost until the end. 
The book is set in the wilds of Scotland, where the remoteness of the landscape just adds to the feelings of suspense and danger. It is about nine friends, who are meeting up for their regular annual New Year reunion. Eight of the group have known each other for a long time – since meeting at Oxford University – the other is a fairly new addition, only having been in the group for three years. There’s a lot to catch up on, news, careers, family and relationships - but not everyone is telling all - and secrets abound! 
As the celebrations commence, old antagonisms and resentments rise, fuelled by the alcoholic merrymaking. One of the group goes missing and a blizzard begins to fall. The snow is so thick, and the area so remote and inaccessible that no-one is able to get in – or out! 
Lucy Foley cleverly writes each chapter from the point of view of a different group member. This helps to establish the personality of the main characters extremely well, whilst also enabling clues to be laid and thus successfully advancing the plot. 
This is Lucy Foley’s first crime novel – I look forward to her next!

Alexandra Harper-Williams

Perfect read for curling up in front of the fire on a winter's evening.

Nine friends go on vacation to a remote location in the Scottish Highlands to celebrate the New Year together. But what was supposed to be a fun break turns into a nightmare, with a killer on the loose as they are snowed in - with no escape.

Lucy Foley is great at depicting and bringing to life the different characters in all their psychological complexities. I very much enjoyed reading this novel, as it kept me entertained throughout and I look forward to reading more by this author in the future.

Emma Lewis

Old friends (some new) + New Year’s Eve, in remote location with extreme weather + a sprinkle of mixed feelings = satisfying mystery read!

I really enjoyed this story and was gripped by trying to work out who was guilty as this is written in the style of ‘everyone is a suspect’. I liked that you didn’t even know who the victim was until nearing the end.

You have a group of privileged friends who all met at Oxford University, and over the years a few new additions joined the group. They are on their annual New Year holiday, this time to a very picturesque remote lodge in Scotland. After a few drinks old feelings of jealously, hatred and even lust come into play resulting in the death of one of the party.

This book was written very well and easy to follow as the narrative jumps from present day to the build up to the murder. I found the outcome and ending to be very satisfying, I would recommend this book to friends & family.

Les Wood

An interesting concept although a it's bit of a Marmite book.

This book is cleverly written and gives detailed, rounded descriptions of all the characters involved without revealing the murder victim or the murderer. However, that is where I had a problem. As there is no reveal of even the victim until around page 320 'get on with it' keeps coming to mind. After that in a whirlwind, goodies become baddies and vice versa at the turn of each page creating a 'oh it's him, hang on a minute, no it's her' read. Eleven fractured people with secrets, in a novel like 'The Sixth Sense', once you know you can't re-read it or share with others who are about to pick it up. I have to state that it was an uncorrected proof so I trust that my issues with continuity, movement, location, conditions and description will be addressed, especially 'the elegant parentheses of her eyebrows". Reduced by 70 pages it would, in my mind, be a really good novel but then I'm old and impatient!

Cathy Petersen

A thoroughly enjoyable crime novel that actually delivered on all it promised.

This was really good, a thoroughly enjoyable crime novel that actually delivered on all it promised. It was clever, well-constructed and convincing. Foley’s characters are skilfully developed through the different points of view as the novel progresses enabling you to get a real feel for the personalities, the tensions and rivalries among long-time friends. I enjoyed the sense of desolation that is conjured up with the remote Scottish location and while the theme of being trapped with a killer among guests has been done before, Foley’s psychological twists and turns kept this from feeling that you’ve been here before. One of the best elements of this was that not only did you not know who the killer was but you were never really sure who the victim was either. Very well done and I shall definitely be looking out for any future crime novels by her.


Clare Turner

A classic crime novel, strongly recommended.

It is the end of December, bitterly cold, and nine close friends (or so we believe them to be) arrive at a luxury lodge in a remote part of the Scottish Highlands, to celebrate New Year together. There are two other guests (a rather shadowy and creepy Icelandic couple), as well as the office manager and the gamekeeper, with an odd-job man appearing from time to time, but that is pretty much it. And as the weather worsens so do relations between the friends, with a very dramatic and catastrophic New Year. Then a body is found. But the police can’t get through…

This is a traditional crime story and extremely well done; it is Foley’s debut crime novel, but it would be a great pity if it were her last. Classic techniques – the clearly delineated group and place, red herrings like the so-called “Highland Ripper” – are handled with great skill. Even the switching of focus between five of the characters, and the veering of time, from 30th December to 2nd January and back, add to the suspense rather than distract as might have been the case in less skilled hands. And although the main characters may not always be entirely credible and are certainly not likeable, they are always intriguing.

I really did finish it in one go: I had to know what happened. If you are a fan of crime fiction and want an entertaining and intelligent read, I recommend this most strongly.

Paul Garland

A group of friends are cut off by snow in a luxury Scottish lodge at New Year when a body is found but who is it and who is the culprit.

To celebrate New Year, nine friends are staying in a very exclusive luxury Scottish lodge. They soon become cut off by heavy snowfall, one guest disappears and a dead body is found by the gamekeeper. However, we are not told who has disappeared or the identity of the body.

The story switches between past and present and between characters which didn’t always make for easy reading. I found that the characters lacked individuality, fortunately, each chapter is headed with the name of the character concerned because I had to keep flicking back to the start of the chapter to check who I was reading about. The book isn’t for those who like fast action, it concentrates on the backgrounds of the people and lodge employees, their past and present interactions.

The pace changes near the end, for a while and the action picks up but this was too little, too late. I felt the story’s moral was that time can change friendships, made as students, when they have to face the cold, harsh world.

This is an interesting take on a typical Christie plot with a lot of secrets and deceit but for me lacked the suspense of a Christie story. The identity of the body becomes obvious and the red herrings did little to change my mind, possibly due to the unlikable characters.

Overall a reasonable read but for me a little more action would have improved the story.

Reba Khatun

I would definitely recommended this book for when you want to shut the world out for a day. Foley is a superb author who writes beautifully. This dark, clever mystery had me guessing till the big reveal.

This book had me on the edge of my seat from the first chapter till the very last. Considering this was a large book I practically inhaled it. I didn’t think I would be able to follow the story with nine friends and additional characters but Foley is an excellent writer.

A group of friends are spending the New Year in the Scottish wilderness. Their close knit relationship is unravelling slowly. They're getting on each other’s nerves and conversations are a bit awkward. Tensions are already running high when one of the friends disappear in an unexpected snowstorm.

The novel is set in two timeframes, before and after the murder. The hotel staff, Heather and Doug are wary of each other but cannot trust the guests. The characters are memorable and the setting is perfect for this creepy crime novel.

Josie Barton

The Hunting Party is a clever murder mystery which takes you deep into a world where anything can happen and where the old adage, “keep your friends close and your enemies closer”, springs to mind.

Celebrating New Year in the idyllic setting of the Scottish highlands is the stuff of dreams and when a group of university friends meet up, the celebration should be the most memorable aspect of the get together. However, all is not as it seems in this remote highland hideaway and the tension between the characters soon starts to escalate.

Told from several different perspectives, what then follows is a carefully crafted murder mystery which leaves no snowflake unturned in the effort to find out just what is going on and why friendships so carefully crafted, ten years ago, are now starting to disintegrate.

The author writes well and controls the narrative with a fine for detail and an ability to create, with the addition of whirling snows storms, a really atmospheric and compelling story. Time and place come so beautifully alive that you sense the danger, feel the overwhelming chill of cold start to enter into your bones, and watch as the shadows lengthen in the eeriness of the Scottish landscape. There is much to take in, both in terms of characterisation and plot, and the twists and turns of the narrative certainly keep you guessing until the end.

Kelly Silcox

They all have a shared history but is that enough to keep them together in the future? More importantly, is it enough to keep them alive?

They all have a shared history but is that enough to keep them together in the future? More importantly, is it enough to keep them alive? A group of old college friends have decided to celebrate New Year at a remote hunting lodge in Scotland. What could possibly go wrong? 
As the time has passed since they were together at college it is obvious how much each person has altered. Is the simple fact that they were at college together enough to keep them together in the future? 
When a blizzard sets in, too much alcohol is drunk and things are said that can’t be unsaid. Then a body is found.

Tracey Poulter

A group of friends in their 30s travel to a remote estate in the Scottish Highlands to see in the New Year but one of them isn’t coming back...

I enjoyed the premise of this book; the idea that a group of University friends from Oxford meet up each year, despite the changes that the years bring – some married, some with children, some more successful than the others – gives a great opportunity to explore the dynamics of friendship. A remote location that gets cut off by the snow leads to a classic Agatha Christie-style murder mystery with a limited pool of suspects, revelations about their past and a number of red herrings thrown in. It is quite a long way into the book before we are even sure who has been killed, which is a really clever twist. The friends were an unlikable group of people and didn’t evoke my sympathy so, although I was interested to find out if I was right about “whodunit”, I wasn’t actually desperate to know.

Miriam Smith

Lucy Foley has expertly created a traditional but up to date whodunnit that captures the reader's attention from the start and she deserves all the attention and praise she is currently receiving for this, her first crime novel.

I was very much looking forward to reading The Hunting Party, so many fellow reviewers were recommending it and the blurb sounded exactly what I like from a crime mystery. Set in the Highlands of Scotland, my favourite holiday destination, I actually felt like I was staying in the lodge with the characters and could relate to the surrounding towns, dense, scary forests and beautiful but icy lochs. Very atmospheric and with the right amount of tension and suspense, I thoroughly enjoyed this Agatha Christie-style mystery.

"In a remote hunting lodge, deep in the Scottish wilderness, old friends gather for New Year. The beautiful one. The golden couple. The volatile one. The new parents. The quiet one. The city boy. The outsider. The victim. Not an accident - a murder amongst friends."

Skilfully spun through several narrators (once you get familiar with who's who and how they relate to each other) this made for intriguing and enjoyable reading and with so many individual and diverse characters, each one truly had an interesting story to relate.

The author Lucy Foley has expertly created a traditional but up to date whodunnit that captures the reader's attention from the start and she deserves all the attention and praise she is currently receiving for this, her first crime novel.

Book Information

ISBN: 9780008297152
Publication date: 31st October 2019
Author: Lucy Foley
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 416 pages
Genres: Books of the Month, Crime / Mystery, Thriller / Suspense,
Categories: Thriller / suspense, Crime & mystery,