I love it when a book surprises you with something that you just don’t see coming…
In The Search Party we have, essentially, a mystery to solve. But, as one of the detectives in the book says, there’s more than one thing going on and Simon Lelic definitely keeps us guessing on more than one occasion.
What we know at the start is that a young girl, Sadie, has gone missing. Many people in the town assume her boyfriend killed her while others think she’s run away. The police have found her bag near the local river but no sign of a body. The pressure is on. Bizarrely, Sadie’s friends decided to head out into the local woodland to search for Sadie and it would seem another of their group has been killed. It seems someone has something to hide, and Detective Fleet – who has his own history with the town – is under pressure to work out what happened.
Cutting between the stories from the teenagers involved as they’re talking to the police and the view of Detective Fleet, this is really cleverly constructed. We slowly piece together some of the mysteries surrounding the missing girl and subsequent events. We have a character in Fleet that we can’t help but empathise with, and a resolution that nobody would have desired but which shows certain characters in a very different light to the one we’ve seen them in.
Huge thanks to NetGalley and the publishers, Penguin, for brightening up my day with this read.