The Dinner Party by R.J. Parker

Today I am delighted to share my thoughts on The Dinner Party the brand new thriller from author R.J. Parker. I’ve been a fan of his work since I first read Follow You, a few years back and a new title is always cause for excitement. This is the author’s first book with new publisher, One More Chapter, and I have to say thank you to them for sending me an advance copy for review. Today is the books e-book birthday so happy publication day Mr Parker – hope it’s a great one.

Here’s what the book is all about:

Source: Advance Reader Copy

About the Book

An addictive and twisty psychological thriller about the dark secrets that lie within a peaceful neighbourhood.

Eight friends. Eight secrets. One killer.

A group of old friends gather in a peaceful suburban street for a dinner party.

They are expecting a fun evening of wine, food and pleasant company. But then they start to play the game…

It’s about trust and dark secrets – it tests marriage to its limits – and none of them can begin to imagine its consequences.

Because the next day, two guests are dead and the others are trapped in a nightmare…

Available from: Amazon | Waterstones | Kobo | Googleplay | Apple Books

My Thoughts

Where to even start. You could say the beginning – and what a beginning it was, setting me up in spectacular fashion with an opening chapter that had me totally hooked. This is one where as I was reading I was becoming more intrigued, and I could feel a smile spreading on my face as I was left thinking – yes. This is what I’ve been waiting for.

What can you say about a book that starts with one of the main characters, effectively the narrator of this whole story, doing a grand impression of a Sunday Roast come wannabe Shish Kebab? Three paragraphs in and I knew I was sold on the book and desperate to find out exactly what had happened and how a simple dinner amongst friends had descended into this …

Well, as it happens, I had a while to wait to find that out, but what I got in the meantime was a twisted and suspense filled read as the author took us back to the fateful night that changed everything and a simple game of trust which pushed long standing friendships to their limit. Eight friends seated around a dinner table, prompted by one to record their deepest darkest secrets and see just how much their partner really trusted them. By dawn, one of the eight was dead and another missing and our protagonist, Ted was caught right in the middle.

I know what you’re thinking. No good can ever come of sharing secrets, can it? In this case you’d be absolutely right, but how dark a secret could these friends be hiding and would it really be worth killing for? Well that is the crux of this book, and Mr Parker has done a brilliant job of both tempting the reader with little hints of a reveal, but also keeping you guessing right until the end. Nothing is ever quite as it seems and with so many of them eight, Ted included, acting suspiciously, it is really hard to know who to trust. I thought I trusted Ted and his wife, Juliette, but then again …

I’m the last person who can really comment on the subjects of trust and secrecy, especially in relationships. I don’t do trust easily, I do relationships even less, but even I could appreciate the way in which the author had created four very different, very believable couples, all with their own private cross to bear. The friendship between the group seemed both easy and strained at the same time, the tensions of a marriage on the brink a stark but realistic contrast against the seemingly happy couples that surrounded them. The cynicism and sarcasm was spot on, the hesitant enthusiasm of others in the group just enough to let you know that there was something one of them really wanted people to know.

Now if you have read any of the author’s other books and are a little concerned about how gruesome the murders may be, don’t be. The body count may be higher than you’d expect, but the scenes are not graphic. And, oddly, they really fit the nature of the story. And there is so much suspense, so many questions which arise the further you read, you’ll be as busy trying to solve the mystery as you are keeping a tally on the corpse front.

I really liked the character of Ted. He was a brilliant choice of narrator as he had his own secrets to keep meaning you were never one hundred percent sure you had the full story, but you trusted him anyway. Keeping the single narrative voice worked really well, the reader discovering elements of the truth at the same time as Ted, but being fed enough info to start building your own ideas of what was going on. And he was an empathetic character with a real connection to his son which was heart warming to read in amongst all the carnage.

I really enjoyed this book, loved every minute of reading it, and I can’t wait to see what the author brings us next. This was another perfect blend of mystery, thrills, suspense and murder that had me wondering to the very last page. Fans are going to love it.

About the Author

Richard Parker also writes as R J Parker for HarperCollins and was formerly a TV script writer, script editor and producer before turning his hand to penning twisted stand alone thrillers.

THE DINNER PARTY is his latest stand alone thriller and has been called ‘the most addictive, twisty, psychological thriller of 2019.’

Author links: Twitter | Facebook | Website

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