Published by Penguin UK on August 14, 2020
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, Crime, Suspense, Psychological, Mystery & Detective, General
Source: Purchased Book
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'Hugely gripping' Mark Billingham, Rabbit Hole 'Heart-stopping Elly Griffiths, The Locked Room 'What a read!' Stuart Turton, The Devil and the Dark Water
----------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 Observer, Thriller of the Month; witness four suspects as, alongside DI Fleet, you attempt to discover the truth about what happened to Sadie...----------
'A bloody good read and the very definition of unpredictable ' John Marrs, Keep it in the Family 'Clever and atmospheric' Mark Edwards, No Place to Run
'A brilliantly tense tale' Araminta Hall, Hidden Depths
'A marvel: intricate, complex and utterly gripping' Alex Lake, Ready or Not
'Simon Lelic just gets better and better' Dervla Mctiernan, The Murder Rule
'A chillingly complex, well-crafted web' Jane Corry, We All Have Our Secrets 'A skilfully-woven mystery that oozes with tension' T M Logan, The Holiday 'Atmospheric and chilling. Fantastic read!' Carla Kovach, One Girl Missing
The Search Party is a story that aims to entangle the reader into the web Simon Lelic has so expertly weaved. It incorporates the fear and danger of the forest – personally, there’s nothing more frightening than the open forest in the dead of the night. The branches reaching out and enveloping you in a death hug, the eerie noises that can empale you with terror, and the dark longs to crush you with its inky blackness. A group of friends is one member down, a disappearance, and the remainder of the group decides to lead a search party to locate her. However, what are their motives, and are they just covering up their misdeeds?
Sadie Saunders is missing. Her parents are beside themselves. She is the beloved child that could do no wrong, they invested in classes, her education, everything. She is destined for a high-powered career, and they are distraught that it all hangs in the balance. Her brothers Luke and Dylan are overlooked in comparison to Sadie, it’s sad how some parents cherish one child over another. Luke takes on the role of parent to Dylan due to the extreme lack of interest from their parents. It’s a burden he carries willingly, even if it is weighing him down. He reluctantly agrees to take part in the search party and leaves Dylan at home with his parents. He’s nervous about doing so, especially with his parents.
But what about the others in The Search Party? Mason Payne is the overly protective boyfriend who appears to be obsessively in love with Sadie. He lives with his abusive father and his mother abandoned them. He’s the prime suspect in the investigation and things keep adding up against him. Or Cora Briggs? She was more than a little miffed after Mason dumped her and choose Sadie. Is her jealousy enough to tip her over the edge? What about Abi Marshall? Another abused child with self-esteem issues about her weight. Finally, Fareed Hussain. The best friend of Mason has huge issues with how his mother mollycoddles him. Friendly, down-to-earth, the group peacemaker. Has the fact that he has had to toe the line, could he be hiding some pent-up aggression?
Simon Lelic has inserted a kaleidoscope of reality in The Search Party. He isn’t looking to show the perfect of everyone’s lives. He wants to show the imperfections, how one event can manifest into something bigger. The avalanche effect, the snowball starts small but soon it threatens to mow you down with nowhere to run. It’s the grey areas, life is full of them and the author highlights this with stunning clarity.
The Search Party was full of secrets and deceit. I really enjoyed it even if it took me a while to get fully into the swing of it. The ending portion of the story is compulsive and it’s the kind of book that you find yourself constantly speeding through the pages to understand the what and the why of it all.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I live in Brighton, England, with my wife and three children. My hobbies (when I have time for them) include reading (for which I make time, because I can just about get away with claiming this is also work), tennis, snowboarding and karate. After studying history at university, I became a journalist, before finally deciding to take the plunge and try writing novels full time. So far I’ve written ten books – seven for adults, and three for younger readers. My first novel, Rupture, was published in 2009, and my latest, The Hiding Place, will be out in May 2022 . . .