* This review does not contain any spoilers*

The Guest List

the guest list

Genre:  Mystery
Publishing Date:  March 19th, 2020
Point of View:  First-person, multiple pov’s, dual time-line
Pages:  320 (US paperback)

On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. 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.

But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. As the champagne is popped and 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?

| Goodreads |

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Before release, I wasn’t really aware of this book coming out. There’s this live stream on Youtube where a bunch of people talk about their current read and then read together for an hour. A bunch of them were talking about this and it sounded interesting, so I decided to give it a try.


I enjoyed the secluded Irish Island setting. I’ve noticed in the past year that I’m a sucker for eerie settings. The idea of all these people coming together for a wedding on this weird stormy island was great. It’s easy to imagine how it would feel to be there, somewhere so far away from normal everyday life. The fact that it was a wedding also helped get to know all the different characters, linking them to their different roles during the wedding (bride, groom, best man, planner, etc.).

Most of the character’s backstories were interesting. I mean… I don’t think there was anything revolutionary about any of these characters. There’s nothing I haven’t seen in other thrillers. In general I was keen to find out what everyone’s deal was. Some of their stories were more compelling than others. Some characters I even felt for, which is pretty rare with these types of unlikable mystery thriller characters.

There were a lot of different ways the story could have unfolded. Given the larger cast of characters and the different reasons people had to hate each other, there were a lot of possibilities. The author did a good job of keeping all the options open until the reveal. Which is what you want in a book written in this style. However, this also has a downside to it. (see negatives section).

The major reveal was built up nicely. It’s kind of hard to discuss this point in a vague way so that I don’t spoil things. But I’ll give it a shot. Before we find out whodunnit, we switch between a bunch of different characters in rapid fashion. We get to see same moment, the moment things go down, unfold from each point of view. I thought that part was really fun.

The pacing was good. There weren’t any dull moments because the reveals were perfectly spread throughout. You were left in the dark about the main mystery of who died and who killed them, yet there is enough info sprinkled throughout to keep you interested.


The fact that everyone is a suspect does come at a price. Some of the connections between characters were a bit much. One of the synopses for this book says “Each of the principal characters has a reason to want one of their number dead.”. Which means that everyone in this wedding party has to be connected. Basically everyone is screwing each other over in some way or another. A lot of these connections worked well. But some of them felt like a total stretch and a bit lazy. I was just a little too aware of some things being put into place just to get another suspect, while disregarding how small the odds of that connection would be.

Some of the characters felt a like caricatures. The groom’s college friends were so flat and uninteresting. I could barely keep them a part at first and then their character discriptions were so basic. Basically, you’ve got the popular one, the loud bully, the angsty one who they all tease, the one who’s morally better/disagrees with the group. I think there’s one more I can’t even think of. They weren’t meant to be likable, which is fine, but they just didn’t have much to them at all.

Very little of it was truly unexpected. Despite there being a lot of suspects, it was easy to see a lot of the reveals coming. I hadn’t anticipated the major reveal of whodunnit (though I’m sure a lot of people did), so I found that one pretty satisfying. But a lot of the smaller reveals I saw coming from a mile away.

The whole thing is kind of ridiculous if you think about it too much. All these people are connected. Okay fine. All these people hate each other because they got screwed over. I guess that makes sense. So now we all want to kill someone! Uhm… you good?!

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A fun whodunnit style mystery set on a secluded island. Overall this had a lot of fun elements, such as the stormy setting, some of the characters backstories and connections, the major reveal. These things landed it a spot above average for me. However, it didn’t really blow me away, with some unbelievable very connections, some flat characters, and a bunch of things I saw coming.


I think this is generally a fun mystery that you can’t really go wrong with it. If you just want something entertaining or like the idea of the setting, go and give it a try. If you are looking for a truly shocking or realistic mystery, this probably wouldn’t be the book to go with.

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Thanks for reading and I hope you have a wonderful day!

One thought on “The Guest List || A Secluded Island Wedding, Classic Murder Mystery Style

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