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3.8 out of 5
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  • A little too convenient

    When Sadie goes missing her friends rally to go into the woods and search for her - but does one of them know the truth about what happened? The Search Party is an interesting and well-paced whodunnit in an atmospheric setting. Each of the characters have something to hide which is typical of Simon Lelic’s style of writing. We got chapters from the perspective of DI Fleet and then also stream of consciousness interview transcripts from each of the teenagers in the search party themselves. This made for good pacing but did get annoying at times and I must admit that a lot of the narrative voices did sound very similar which was a shame as the characters themselves were so different from each other. DI Fleet is a very interesting and complex character but I did feel a bit like we had been thrown into book 6 of the DI Fleet series without really knowing all the details at times. Not much work was done to introduce us to him as a reader and some of his major motivation points, such as his missing sister didn’t really get explained until right near the end which was frustrating but also left you lacking much needed empathy for him as a character. I really liked the setting of the woods which made for a really atmospheric backdrop to all the tension and lies that were going on around the characters. I did find the idea of each character having so many big secrets a little convenient though and I had guessed a big part of the plot very early on as well which didn’t help. There was also a formatting issue on the ARC edition on my Kindle where it leapt perspectives without any formatting change which was a bit jarring but hopefully they’ve sorted that out for release. Overall The Search Party is an atmospheric thriller but I felt a little more exposition would have been nice to introduce us to DI Fleet and the plot felt a little too convenient at times. Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Books UK – Viking for the chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Beautifully Crafted, Unpredictable Novel!

    A very different kind of read from Simon Lelic, but no less gripping from start to finish. When 16 year old Sadie Saunders goes missing, DI Fleet is brought in to find her. With the police seemingly making no headway, her friends decide to take matters into their own hands. But these five are not just her friends, they are also suspects . . . I don't think I've ever read another novel like this one - and I've read a LOT of books. With contributions to the narrative from each of the friends along with the Detective Inspector, this is a riveting read and I have been absolutely glued to the pages. What happened to Sadie? Well, I didn't discover that until it was put in print - although I thought of enough options. I really enjoy this author's writing; I reviewed both his first and second novels and am sad that I missed others but what there are so many good books out there and I can't get to them all! I really appreciate that all his books are different; he doesn't have a formulaic style and that makes for a much more surprising read. I seemed to move through it all so quickly, and yet the action went slowly - if that makes any sense to you. Beautifully crafted and skilfully plotted, this is a first class, completely unpredictable story and one I highly recommend. Absolutely worth all five sparkling stars. My thanks to the publisher for my copy via NetGalley; this is - as always - my honest, original and unbiased review.

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  • Chilling & Scary

    This is my first novel by Simon Lelic although I have had another of his books on my reading list for some time. In The Search Party, Sadie Saunders has vanished, and she is believed to have been killed. One of Sadie's circle of friends is the primary suspect so five of them set off to search for her in the woods where she was last seen... with terrible consequences. This book incited me and got into my psyche, refusing to leave, thus I read it in a single sitting. It's well written with precisely the right amount of drive, and the characters were interesting, though mainly abhorrent, including Sadie's friends and the majority of the police. The detective in charge of the investigation, DI Fleet, with his personal problems, was the only one that I considered affable. As most of the cast were untrustworthy, there were suspects galore as I switched my opinions over the course of the novel. The backdrop of the woodland created a chilling and claustrophobic atmosphere which enhanced the story and added another level of suspense. As this twisty, sinister and compulsive thriller headed towards the startling conclusion, the tension really escalated and I was caught off guard. A must-read for thriller afficionados. I received a complimentary copy of this novel at my request from Penguin Books/ Viking via NetGalley. This review is my own unbiased opinion.

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