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Bibliophile | ‘The Search Party’ is the latest novel from Hannah Richell

The Search Party
by Hannah Richell
Simon & Schuster

It was twenty years ago that Max and Annie Kingsley met in their first year at university. They now have a 12 year-old son Kip who they adopted six years previously and they decided that leaving the rat-race of London would provide a better environment for their son who is “a little different”.

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They bought a run-down house in the wilds of North Cornwell and they worked on establishing a soon to be opened glamping business on their recently acquired coastal property, appropriately called Wildernest.

To road-test the new enterprise, they invited three old university friends and their families to spend the long May Day weekend glamping on their property. “Some downtime with old friends, a long weekend in the great outdoors”.

But, rather than taking the reader to the joys of friendship and the great outdoors, this tense thriller opens with a police investigation where one of the guests confesses that they all did things they regretted in a weekend that spiralled out of control.

Many of the 22 characters pass the storytelling baton to each other to reconstruct the events that led to multiple disasters as a storm gathered off the remote Cornwell coast and one of their group goes missing. Fortunately there is a character list and a map to help the reader keep track as the intensity builds.

Of course, as some of the accounts are from police interviews, information is sometimes selective but secrets, betrayals and even revenge plots are slowly revealed. There is no mobile phone reception and when the storm hits and power is cut off, the situation becomes desperate.

The only person not to talk is Kip who has selective mutism resulting from previous traumas in his young life, and it seems as if he could be the key to solving the disappearance of one of the campers as well as explaining why another remains in a coma in the hospital.

Richell is the author of international bestsellers Secrets of the Tides (2012), The Shadow Year (2014), The Peacock Summer (2019) and The River Home (2020).

Lezly Herbert


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