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  • Writer's pictureMandy McHugh

The Last Guest, Tess Little: A Review

Celebrities. A swanky invite-only dinner party. An unexpected suspicious death.

When Elspeth accepts her ex-husband's invitation to his fiftieth birthday party, she isn't expecting to become embroiled in a high-profile murder investigation. Richard is dead, killed at his own party, and the suspects are limited to the intimate guest list.

I really enjoyed this book.

Elspeth's voice is engaging and unreliable. Told in both past and present timelines, we see the investigation unfolding as we also get the layered background between Richard and Elspeth. What follows isn't so much of a high-paced who-dunnit, but rather an examination into these relationships and how unresolved tensions can affect our choices.

Perhaps what I loved most about this book was Elspeth's internal reflection. From her career to her friendships to her relationship with her daughter, we see her in different stages of her life and have to marry the current circumstances with the big=picture moments that shaped her. Unreliable is an excellent descriptor as the reader is never really quite sure where to stand with her.

This was more of a sneak-up-on me intrigue, and I think many readers will be fascinated by the structure and characters. This reminded me of Liane Moriarty several times, and I could definitely see this being made into a series. And no spoilers, of course, but if if you're like me, you'll love the atmosphere surrounding the octopus.

As a side note, there are some depictions of sexual assault that could be triggering for some readers.

Overall, The Last Guest is a thoughtful, well-paced character study of the lives we choose and the choices we never get to make. Big thanks to Ballantine and NetGalley for providing an eARC in exchange for honest review consideration.


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