Title: The Search Party
Author: Simon Lelic
Date of publication: ebook already out, print 20 August 2020
Genre: Mystery and thriller
Number of pages: 352
16-year-old Sadie Saunders is missing.
Five friends set out into the woods to find her.
But they’re not just friends…
You see, this was never a search party.
It’s a witch hunt.
And not everyone will make it home alive…
THE CHALK MAN meets THE HUNTING PARTY in this gripping story; witness four suspects as, alongside DI Fleet, you attempt to discover the truth about what happened to Sadie…
Simon Lelic completely fooled me. Here’s the truth! The Search Party is one hell of a search for the truth, with time ticking and the pressure closing in on the police… Adrenaline-pumping and brilliantly addictive, I couldn’t tear myself away from this novel!
One missing teenager. Five friends at a loss, on the police’s suspects list. A deadly trip to the wood. What would you do if your friend had gone missing and the days passed without news? What if the police turned to you for answers? What if you didn’t want to give them any? I wish I had the words to describe the outstanding fascination I have for this book. It all starts with a phone call to the emergency number. I was on my toes! Then, without a warning, I turned a page to see ‘Day 6’ announced. Immediately, I was feeling robbed! Where were the first five days???????? But soon, I realized those days didn’t matter… Or more precisely, the days to come would prove to be the key to not one but two cases. Sadie Saunders has been missing for six days when her friends are found in the forest, next to a body. From a missing-person case to murder, What?! Then voices began to clear the fog. Each friend slowly turning back time to give the police, and the reader, their account of what happened.
Between those interviews, DI Fleet and DS Collins fight the pressure of the community, the media, and their boss for results. Sadie hasn’t reappeared, but a body has, and things get muddier with every passing hour. If DI Flint had his eyes on a particular suspect, he starts to doubt himself, wondering if his own past has been tainting his view on the missing person case. Here is the time for me to tell you how much I am in awe of how the author managed to juggle several teen voices in an interview-like tone, layered with a perfect third-person police narrative following Fleet and adding depth to the whole book with a personal dimension which adds even more darkness to the investigation. This book is the Graal. A top-notch characterisation made gold to support an atmospheric and enthralling thriller. I mean, the mystery is real, it is good, it had me biting my nails again, but wow, those people? They just make the book. That authenticity in relationships, mistakes, secrets, enhanced by a terrific and terrifying setting in the wood just blew my mind.
So who will be at the top of your suspects list? Personally, I couldn’t make up my mind. I could feel details nagging at me, as if the trees were telling me something wasn’t right, I was missing something… Talking about the trees… You won’t find me wandering around the woods anytime soon. The author chose each word carefully so each twig creaking, each shadow, felt threatening. It all added to the building paranoia and the sense of danger around the teenagers, so much that I kept wondering if there was really a way out of it; not just the woods, but this whole horrendous and tense situation everyone was stuck in. Simon Lelic set a trap and I fell right into it. Absorbed by my reading, my brain jumping from one chapter to the other, making assumptions, I didn’t see the big wall of truth.
The Search Party is a bit hit. I loved everything about it. It made me feel alive. I couldn’t get enough of the characters. I didn’t want to let go and leave them behind, safe in the pages of the book. A truly chilling and complex novel!
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I would like to thank Viking and the fabulous team behind this book for inviting me to be part of this blog tour! I received a copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.