The Party House by Lin Anderson is a deeply atmospheric psychological thriller set in the Scottish Highlands, for fans of Lucy Foley, Ruth Ware and Sarah Pearse’s The Sanatorium.
Devastated by a recent pandemic brought in by outsiders, the villagers of Blackrig in the Scottish Highlands are outraged when they find that the nearby estate plans to reopen its luxury ‘party house’ to tourists.
As animosity sparks amongst the locals, part of the property is damaged and, in the ensuing chaos, the body of a young girl is found in the wreck. Seventeen-year-old Ailsa Cummings went missing five years ago, never to be seen again – until now.
The excavation of Ailsa’s remains ignites old suspicions cast on the men of this small community, including Greg, the estate’s gamekeeper. At the beginning of a burgeoning relationship with a new lover, Joanne, Greg is loath to discuss old wounds. Frightened by Greg’s reaction to the missing girl’s discovery, Joanne begins to doubt how well she knows this new man in her life. Then again, he’s not the only one with secrets in their volatile relationship . . .
Having read the Dr Rhonda MacLeod series I knew I just had to read this stand-alone psychological thriller by Lin Anderson. She brings her Scottish settings to life so perfectly that I always feel as though I’m back north of the border and even my accent changes back to that weird English/Scottish hybrid I rocked during my 16 years living there!
Set in the highlands of Scotland, The Party House is a gorgeous holiday home that has a bad reputation. The locals blame it for bringing Covid to their rural community so when they hear it’s about to open again, there is understandably an uproar. But during the backlash an horrific discovery is made when the body of a missing girl is discovered in the grounds…
The gamekeeper of the estate, Greg, aroused my suspicions early on in the proceedings as he obviously had something to hide. But he has recently started a new relationship with Joanne who has travelled up to Scotland from London to spend time with her new partner. This couple seemed very much suited even though they haven’t known each other for long. But they both had secrets they were hiding from each other and these are gradually uncovered as each of them show their true selves. Lin Anderson tells their story from both points of view but often the truths were revealed to the reader at the same time as the characters maintaining the tension throughout.
The Scottish Highlands are ofcourse the star of the show here and it’s occupants are shown to be relatable with their mistrust of outsiders as they are determined to look after their own. I had no idea who was responsible for the death of Ailsa, a girl unable to defend herself in death as in life. There were plenty of twists and turns and I was never really sure who to trust although I really did like Joanne-even though I found some of her decisions highly questionable! But Lin Anderson brought everything together perfectly and I was left wanting more. Im hoping there are more stand-alone psychological thrillers to come from her as I absolutely loved The Party House-it really is a page turner of the highest quality!
Highly recommended by me!
The Party House is published by McMillan on 4th August 2022.
Lin Anderson is best known as the creator of the forensic scientist Rhona MacLeod series of crime thriller novels, and for her part in founding the annual ‘Bloody Scotland’ crime writing festival.