The Search Party by Hannah Richell review: A slow-paced mystery with some great storytelling

It takes a while to get into The Search Party by Hannah Richell, but you'll be glad you did when you get to the end.

Participants Pull Out Of World Scout Jamboree In South Korea Due To Severe Weather
Participants Pull Out Of World Scout Jamboree In South Korea Due To Severe Weather / Chung Sung-Jun/GettyImages
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Disclaimer: I got a free copy of The Search Party by Hannah Richell from NetGalley in return for an honest review.

When it comes to mysteries, you don’t always want the details revealed at the beginning. The Search Party by Hannah Richell keeps some of the details a secret, but this does cause a bit of a problem.

The novel is a great read by the end. As all the pieces of the puzzle starts to form, it becomes more and more intriguing. One thing is clear: everyone has secrets.

Some of the characters I can’t stand from the beginning. Then there are others who I wanted to learn more about and was disappointed when the story moved on from them. Kira was by far the most intriguing for me, and I enjoyed learning more about her.

The Search Party by Hannah Richell has a big list of characters

Something you’ll notice as you start the novel is that there’s a list of the characters we get to meet. Yes, the list is long. It can feel like you’re not really going to get to know any of them. That’s not the case.

Richell does a great job in jumping between the characters. There are reminders here and there about who the children’s parents are and how they fit in.

We get time with the women on their own as they head out to the Homestead, leaving the men to look after the children. I love it that there’s a line about the men babysitting and one of the women points out that it’s parenting. More of that in fiction, please!

The book does a great job of showing us how people can grow apart but still be in each other’s lives. The parents are university friends, with some of them not physically seeing each other in 20 years. Others are only just meeting. We get this realism of how life moves on but technology makes it possible to still stay somewhat connected.

The mystery unfolds in two timelines

I enjoy stories that are told in two timelines as long as the future doesn’t ruin the past too much. The Search Party by Hannah Richell does a great job of this. We know that something happens to a character. It all opens that Dominic is looking for answers about his daughter, Phoebe. However, we don’t know what happened or what went on.

The aim is to care about the characters and to get to know them. We get to find out secrets and attitudes first before we even know what the police are investigating. This does create a bit of a slow burn, but I love not knowing who to be worried about. I spent time looking at clues in the writing to see what could have happened. By the way, I can’t stand Dominic and I found myself not really caring about his worry but I did care about Phoebe.

It was also great seeing the story of the weekend play out and then see how characters try to cover their tracks. It adds to the realism of the story, and certainly made me want to keep reading.

One of the downsides is that the ending isn’t all that unique. There are a few red herrings thrown into the story, but by the last quarter of it, I was able to guess what had happened and who had done it. I won’t give away spoilers here.

Stars: 4 out of 5.

Next. A Death at the Party by Amy Stuart book review. A Death at the Party by Amy Stuart book review. dark

The Search Party by Hannah Richell is available to buy on Tuesday, Jan. 16.