I Ranked Lucy Foley's Thrillers (The Hunting Party, The Guest List, & The Paris Apartment)
1. THE PARIS APARTMENT
WHAT IT'S ABOUT:
Jess goes to Paris to stay with her brother Ben in his upscale apartment. When she arrives she find him missing and all the other tenants are questionable. She must find out what happened to her brother while keeping herself alive.
I adored the creepy, ominous, sinister vibes of this novel. Everyone was acting so suspicious and it was delicious. It had me so intrigued wondering what everyone's part in Ben's disappearance was. The characters were very well written and layered. No one was what they at first seemed. The reveals were parceled out perfectly. Everything was so effortlessly interwoven in ways that made sense but weren't initially obvious to the reader.
The multiple perspectives worked well because we got an inside and outsider view of our protagonist, Jess. She is described by one character has a fox in a hen house. Yet depending on whose perspective we were reading from she could also be seen as a hen in a fox's den. I liked that duality of Jess being both in danger and dangerous.
This book reminded me a lot of Lock Every Door by Riley Sager. Only, like, an upgraded version. If you liked the concept of that book but hated the execution (like me) then give this one a read.
Two downsides were the excessive and cringe worthy romances in the novel (which added nothing of substance) and the climax which was surprisingly underwhelming (and rushed).
FINAL RATING: 4.5 stars
WORTH THE READ?: Absolutely!
TRIGGER WARNINGS: On page suicide attempt (unsuccessful), mention of character committing suicide.
2. THE HUNTING PARTY
WHAT IT'S ABOUT:
A group of old friends travel to a lodge in the Scottish highlands for their annual New Year's trip. Their old secrets come out and someone from the party won't make it out alive (and someone else is responsible).
I loved the chilly, shivery atmosphere of the snowy highlands. It really enhanced that feeling of being alone (read this if you like Ruth Ware's One by One). This was also aided by the narrative style which was very introspective. I liked the dichotomy of being inside these characters' heads and feeling we intimately know them while also not really knowing them at all (they're all harboring damning secrets). This mirrors the relationships the characters themselves have with each other.
I've gotten increasingly good at guessing correctly the twists and reveals of thrillers. This one, though, genuinely had me stumped for a good portion. There were so many red herrings that even if I thought I had a suspect soon I had to add another. Compared to The Guest List we get to see more of the aftermath of the murder in this novel. Also, there was still drama and shocking moments without it being so grossly over the top.
There is one character who sticks out as the character I believe Foley wants to be the reader's main suspect. I think this because of his past and how his narrative style differs from everyone else's (third not first person). Now, this is a spoiler free review so I'm not saying that this person did or didn't do it. I just found it peculiar that Foley altered the narrative style for him alone.
In terms of negatives, there are a number of times where the characters break the fourth wall and address 'you' (presumably the reader). I hate when authors do this because it ruins my immersion. Also, the ending felt a little too clean for how messy the characters' lives were.
FINAL RATING: 3.75 stars
WORTH THE READ?: Yes!
TRIGGER WARNINGS: Gun violence, stalking, sexual assault, character with PTSD
3. THE GUEST LIST
WHAT IT'S ABOUT:
A high profile couple are getting married on an Irish island. The night before, however, drama unfolds between the wedding party. By the time the wedding night has ended someone will be leaving the island in a body bag.
This one is the outlier among Foley's thrillers in that it's, well, bad. I'll start with the few things I liked before moving onto the rest. The reveal(s) about how all the characters are truly connected to one another/the victim reads as a lot more thought out than that of The Paris Apartment (though overall that one is still far superior to this one). I liked the setting and the storm really added to the atmosphere (especially in the scenes where they are searching for the body).
Okay, now onto the negatives.
It's not difficult at all to narrow down your suspect list among the characters here. Foley tries to mislead us, but I don't think it was too successful this time around. The way this novel progresses is so strange to me. About 90% of the novel takes place in the day leading up to the discovery of the body. It's mostly just the characters getting into drunken debauchery that left me feeling both annoyed and bored.
The ending was super rushed. There were so many things that we didn't really get closure on or if it was acknowledged it was just barely. It didn't leave me as a reading satisfied.
FINAL RATING: 2.25 stars
WORTH THE READ?: No!
TRIGGER WARNINGS: Drowning, suicide, drug and alcohol use, mention of abortion.