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The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

The Hunting Party

by Lucy Foley
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Quick take

A peaceful Christmas getaway turns deadly in this locked-room murder mystery from the author of The Guest List.

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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.

They arrive on December 30th, just before a historic blizzard seals the lodge off from the outside world.

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

The trip began 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.

Now one of them is dead... and another of them did it.

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

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Why I love it

Everyone’s having a better life than me. We’ve all experienced FOMO—fear of missing out. Social media makes it worse because now, at any moment, we can see beautiful people doing wonderful things in gorgeous settings. Ugh. Something tugs at us as we scroll past these posts—envy, anger, exhaustion. Admit it: You want to be with those beautiful people. Well in The Hunting Party, Lucy Foley shows us what we’re missing—and how it might not be as perfect as it seems.

The book follows a group of best friends. There’s gorgeous Miranda and her equally hot husband Julien. There’s wonky lawyer Kate. Exhausted new parents Samira and Giles brought their baby along, while creepy Mark arrives with his wannabe-in-the-mix girlfriend, Emma. They’re all celebrating New Year’s Eve in the snowy highlands of Scotland at an exclusive hunting lodge managed by Heather and Doug, two people faced with their own emotional baggage. Did I tell you there’s also a serial killer loose in the highlands? And that cell-phone reception is spotty? Booze. Guns. What could go wrong?

Well I’ll tell you: Someone ends up dead. And who done it? Could’ve been anyone.

I loved how Foley stripped away each character to reveal underlying truths: (1) We aren’t who our friends think we are; (2) Just because we were pals back in the day doesn’t mean we have anything in common now; (3) One should never consume too much Champagne with rifles close at hand; and (4) Just as I suspected, snow stops being pretty once you’re trapped with killers. The Hunting Party was a thrilling read that kept me breathless—I hope you find the same.

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