Review of ‘The Guest List’ by Lucy Foley

Thanks to NetGalley and HarperCollins for the ARC of this book.

I was excited to read this book. From the description it had loads of elements that could make a brilliant thriller: deserted island, death at a wedding, limited cast, stormy weather, intrigue etc. Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to its promise. The killer, their motive and their victim were so heavily signposted throughout the book that there was no element of surprise when they were revealed at the end. I thought it might be leading up to a really clever reveal as to how the crime was planned so it could be committed without detection but that didn’t happen either. So it was quite a slow burn build up to a rushed, unexciting ending. Quite disappointing.

In addition, all the characters were so sharp and unlikable that it was not much fun spending time their company. The murder victim had committed so many awful acts to give everyone at the wedding the motive to kill them, it was hard to believe anyone could get away with behaving like that without anyone noticing for so long.

I don’t think I could recommend this book, which is a shame because I was looking forward to discovering a new favourite thriller writer.

Review of ‘Believe Me’ by JP Delaney

Thanks to NetGalley and Quercus Books for the ARC of this book.

This book follows actress Claire, who funds her acting classes by working for an agency entrapping married men to prove their infidelity to their wives. When one of these wives is murdered, she gets entangled in the police’s attempts to catch the killer.

I didn’t really enjoy this book. It probably had some interesting things to say about the nature of lies and acting versus reality, and how some people imagine their life as a series of movie vignettes. However, I’m getting a bit tired of twisty thrillers with unreliable narrators where you can’t trust anything that is happening. It’s very hard to like or relate to characters when they all seem to be lying and all appear to have a dark side.

In addition to not being able to trust the narrative, most of the story was very unrealistic. Can we believe a person would sleep with a murder suspect in order to infiltrate their life and get a confession? Would the police pick an inexperienced actress with a history of self-harm to work undercover rather than a trained undercover police officer? I don’t think so.

The topics of brutally harming women, sexual violence, mutilation and murder were all a bit squeamish and unpleasant for me, even though they are balanced by a strong female lead. I just don’t want to read any more books where men commit sexual violence towards women. It is not an entertaining or fun subject. I thought The Girl Before’, the author’s previous book was far superior to this, although, it still dealt with some similar topics and themes.