Title: The Search Party
Author: Simon Lelic
Publication Date: 20th August 2020
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…
I’ve been looking forward to reading The Search Party for months and it was just as good as I’d hoped! It follows the investigation into missing teenager, Sadie Saunders and the search party her five friends embark on to find out the truth. There are many secrets between this group of friends and as we uncover them the truth begins to come into focus.
What I loved most about The Search Party is the atmosphere within it. Lelic has created an intense and highly charged read about a place with a dark past and a thorny present. The narrative is split between the accounts of the teenage suspects who each carry their own mysteries and the investigation into Sadie’s disappearance led by Detective Robin Fleet, who has his own connection to this place. Fleet is a great character who I found compelling and imperfect whilst still easy to root for. You can tell how much he cares about uncovering the truth for the right reasons and not just for the benefit of appeasing a hungry press, which seems to be the main goal of the Superintendent in charge of Fleet. I also think the teenage characters are particularly skilfully portrayed. They all genuinely feel like kids dealing with an adult situation and also have that unpredictability/recklessness that teenagers often possess which makes for a thrilling and surprising read. Add to that the eerie woods where the titular search party takes place and which give parts of the book a genuinely haunting feeling that really got under my skin. I flew through the pages of this book, desperate to know what the truth at the heart of this story was. It is intensely readable and fantastically written with characters that keep the reader totally invested.
I received a copy of the book from the publisher. My review is my own honest opinion.