Book Review; The Search Party – Simon Lelic

A missing girl. Five friends. Who will survive?

Page Count 352

 Publication date July 2020/ Publisher Berkley

GoodReads link




The entire town thinks Sadie Saunders is dead. Missing now for a week, they say she was murdered. And they think they know who did it.

Aware of the suspicion that surrounds them – and one of them in particular – Sadie’s five best friends vow to find out the truth. So they pack their bags and set off for the woods where Sadie was last seen.

But what starts as a search quickly turns into something more sinister. Each of them has a secret, and they all know more about Sadie’s past than they are willing to admit. As the landscape opens up, and the darkness closes in, the reality of their situation begins to dawn on them.

It was never really a search party.
It was a witch hunt.

And not everyone is going to make it home.



I have to admit I struggled to get into this to begin with. Whether I’d just hit a reading slump or it was the way the novel opens up I’m not sure.
We begin at a crime scene, a group of friends has gone to help search for their missing pal Sadie.

Straight away we’re hit with several mysteries:
-A dead body with as of yet no cause of death.
-The fact they’re searching far from where Sadie was last seen but nobody else knows why..
-A possibly biased detective with some sort of history involving his sister..
-Where is Sadie?

For me it was all a bit much to be throwing out in the first 10% of the book. As I didn’t yet know about or care for any characters, I’d have preferred all these questions to have been sown into the plot as I read.

We read from first person perspectives of Fleet and the teenagers before and after the incident in the woods. Most of the novel is past tense with the exception of witness testimony- I enjoyed this aspect, like a story within a story, being explained directly to me by the characters themselves. Unfortunately though there was nothing to mark the transition from their voices to Fleet’s, I stumbled a few times realising the time and perspective had changed with no indication. Hopefully this will be addressed in the final print.

So it may sound like I was less than impressed BUT then the ending was an absolute belter. I did NOT see it coming and yet it made perfect sense. It took me an entire week to get through The Search Party possibly because I was on the edge of a slump and having read 14 ARCs this year I was beginning to tire of it.
However the pay off for this novel makes it absolutely worth reading.

The Search Party is perfect for YA thriller readers.

Roxanne’s Reactions:

Author: Roxanne Michelle

Dramatic, curly-haired wannabe writer from a nowhere town in Somerset. Stop-starter of all projects great and small. Here to talk books, film, mental health and lifestyle.

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