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"The Guest List," | Reviewed by Pat Sainz

“The Guest List,” by Lucy Foley is a mystery thriller that takes place on a small island near the coast of Ireland. Guests are gathering for a fancy wedding between Jules and Will.

Jules is an almost-famous publisher of an online magazine. Will is a popular star of a reality survival show in which he braves dangerous situations from climate and animals. The weekly show is especially appealing to women who tune in to it regularly. Will is breathtakingly handsome.

The fact that someone dies during the weekend is not giving away anything that isn’t revealed in the first chapter. I can promise readers that Foley’s superb storytelling will keep them guessing about the murderer’s identity to the very end.

Before the wedding weekend begins, Jules receives an anonymous note advising her not to marry Will because “he is not who he says he is.” Jules is so enamored with her fiancé, and determined not to allow for any hitches in her well-publicized wedding, that she chooses to ignore this warning. Will, for the most part, hasn’t shown any indications that he doesn’t adore her.

In alternating chapters, one of the six main characters tells his or her story of the weekend as it unfolds. Several of the characters describe in chilling detail flashbacks from the previous years that connect their relationship to the bride and groom. Any of them may have a motive to murder a particular person at the wedding. Their stories are compelling and create the tension that pervades the weekend.

An upcoming storm portends the danger that threatens the wedding guests who arrive by ferry from the coast of Ireland. Wind, rain, shrieking animals and power outages contribute to the building tension as the wedding progresses. Several of the main characters are so full of anger and hurt that they struggle, often unsuccessfully, to maintain the civility required for appearances’ sake at the social event of the year.

“The Guest List” is one of those books I couldn’t put down. I actually plan to reread it to pick up details I surely missed the first time around. I highly recommend it to fans of thrilling murder mysteries. I have become an admirer of the author Lucy Foley.

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