Audiobook mini-review: The Guest List

Author: Lucy Foley
Publication date: June 2, 2020
Genre: mystery/thriller
My rating: 4/5 stars

Lately, I’ve been trying to diversify the genres that I read. This has included joining in a monthly horror read hosted by Melanie at TBR and Beyond, as well as picking up the occasional thriller and some historical fiction, to complement my usual contemporary/literary/YA/fantasy/nonfiction/poetry. (I’ve also been dabbling in some MG and even trying a romance once in a while–yes, I know, shocking! My opinions on those romances, though, are…less shocking, if you know me. But that’s a story for another day.)

All that is to say, this book, being a thriller, was a little outside my wheelhouse. I gave this specific one a shot because my friend M at Storme Reads a Lot was pretty psyched when it won the Goodreads Choice Award for the Thriller category last year, and…I guess I generally like to defer to those with more expertise when trying a genre that they know much better than I do? Their enthusiasm sold me on it.

Cool, enough rambling. Let’s make this actual review short, sweet, and to the point:

The Plot

This blurb is taken from Goodreads, for the sake of my sanity, because I’m not currently in a summarizing mood.

On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. It’s a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed.

As the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. The groomsmen begin the drinking game from their school days. The bridesmaid not-so-accidentally ruins her dress. The bride’s oldest (male) friend gives an uncomfortably caring toast.

And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why?

Trigger/content warnings: suicide, self-harm, depression/anxiety, revenge porn, abortion

My Thoughts

  • The setup was interesting, knowing off the bat that someone was dead but not revealing who actually died until well into the story. Very effective from a suspense perspective.
  • So. Many. Betrayals. I don’t think the summary does this part justice, honestly. And y’all know I love some backstabbing.
  • The depression rep hurt so much. Very realistic, but wow, they went there.
  • The whole “prep school good old boys” element felt a little over the top, but what do I know? Maybe British boarding schools really are that wild.
  • Some of it–especially the ending–felt way too convenient.
  • Also, the ending was really rushed and not very satisfying for me. I feel like we needed a little more closure.
  • As to why the dead person was dead: I had a feeling it was going to be the person who it ended up being, though the method and reasoning were not what I expected.
  • The audiobook was excellent, performed by a full cast. The actors were all great, and their different varieties of English accents highlighted the class differences between them in a cool way.
  • On that same note, I feel like in print the multiple narrators could have been confusing, but the audio made them very distinct.
  • Overall, an enjoyable (though rarely pleasant) ride. I’ll definitely be trying more from Foley in the future!

That’s all I’ve got for now. Catch y’all on the flipside.

As always,

Kathryn (“K-Specks”)

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