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.
Horrible characters, secrets, cheating… I hated pretty much every character in this novel, but I’m pretty sure that was what the author intended… and I have to admit, it was a fun and rather addictive read!
The Dinner Guest follows main character Charles, married to Matthew, as he meets – seemingly by coincidence – a woman, Rachel, in a bookshop one day who manages to firmly plant herself in their lives. Things are not quite as they seem, and plenty of dark secrets and hidden history is revealed as we quickly discover (and this isn’t a spoiler, it happens right at the start of the novel) that Matthew has been murdered – and Rachel takes the blame.
The story is set into two timeframes – one ‘before’ Matthew’s murder, where we find out more about the lead up to that fateful day and the relationship between Charles and Matthew, which has always seemed to harmonious but which seems to go downhill when Charles discovers something awful…
The other narrative is based in the present day, ‘after’ the murder, when Charles and their son Titus deal with the aftermath. We read the story from various perspectives, but mostly Charles’ and Rachel’s.
As I mentioned previously, the characters in this novel are unlikable – in fact, many are insufferable! They’re rich, entitled, snobby, exclusive and seemingly have no awareness of how their actions affect others. This creates a really intense atmosphere where you wonder who is being authentic and who knows more than they let on…
There’s plenty of mystery in this novel and I whizzed through it in no time! I’d recommend it for anyone who fancies an easy read, that’s entertaining but not too taxing – a good, fun thriller with lots of twists!
Many thanks to the publisher, HarperCollins UK, for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest review.