Four people walked into the dining room that night. One would never leave.
Matthew: the perfect husband.
Titus: the perfect son.
Charlie: the perfect illusion.
Rachel: the perfect stranger.
Charlie didn’t want her at the book club. Matthew wouldn’t listen.
And that’s how Charlie finds himself slumped beside his husband’s body, their son sitting silently at the dinner table, while Rachel calls 999, the bloody knife still gripped in her hand.
Classic crime meets Donna Tartt in this nerve-shredding domestic noir thriller that weaves a sprawling web of secrets around an opulent West London world and the dinner that ends in death.
The Dinner Guest is a deceptively subtle psychological thriller. Its full impact, as a result, doesn’t hit you until you have walked away and are thinking back on what you read.
Sometimes, this story moved a bit slow for me until I finished it and realized the story’s pace is totally fitting. It is ingenious in its delivery of the journey to figure out who killed a dinner guest and why. One of the dinner guests will not leave the table alive, but which one and why.
I had to explore so many secrets as they slowly unfold in increasingly complex layers to figure that out. Those secrets leave no doubt that the perfect picture can hide an abundance of imperfections.
The narration is primarily through Charlie and Rachel, who have subtly unique voices that rarely leave doubt about who is telling the story. Both perspectives are essential to fully disclose the story, and at no point did I find it confusing or redundant. They are both interesting characters. Both have an exciting story to tell, even when it seems like they are just recounting the mundane.
The timeline is anything but linear going backward and forward as the plot dictated, the murder being the central point around which everything else is told. This sounds like it could be very confusing, but surprisingly it is not. To understand the unraveling of the secrets, some latitude with the timeline is essential. The narration is written clearly and distinctly, so I always knew when I was in the story.
I loved the ending. I had to read it twice to make sure that I read it correctly. I do not think I have read such a gloriously devious conclusion before, and I must say, I am in awe at the mastermind that came up with it. It seems so innocuous at first. Then I thought about it and realized it was perfect – the perfect revenge, the ideal manipulation, and the ideal conclusion to the story.
The Dinner Guest will surprise you with its subtle delivery and level of deviousness, and you will love every single morsel of the perfect dinner.