The Dinner Party by R.J. Parker #BookReview

All your friends are invited. But which of them will survive?

An addictive and twisty psychological thriller about the dark secrets that lie within a peaceful neighbourhood.

Eight friends. Eight secrets. One killer.

A group of old friends gather in a peaceful suburban street for a dinner party.

They are expecting a fun evening of wine, food and pleasant company. But then they start to play the game…

It’s about trust and dark secrets – it tests marriage to its limits – and none of them can begin to imagine its consequences.

Because the next day, two guests are dead and the others are trapped in a nightmare…

Today is the ebook publication day for The Dinner Party and I'm thrilled to be sharing my review. Huge thanks to Richard Parker and One More Chapter for sending me an advance copy of the novel.

What could be nicer than a dinner party with old friends? Particularly as one of the group has been ill recently and so it's a while since they've all been together. Unfortunately, as evenings go, it's not really what could be termed a resounding success - but things soon become much, much worse...
Ted and Juliette welcome their friends into their home for a evening of good food and enjoyable company but when Ella suggests a game, they are not immediately all keen to play - and understandably so, for it's the sort of risky suggestion which is always likely to end in acrimony and tears. Each person has to write down their deepest, darkest secret and it must be something they've never told their partner and to have happened since they exchanged vows. As one of the guests remarks, "Already sounds dangerous" and after the first chapter of book (which is set a few days after the party and sees a blood-soaked Ted in what seems to be mortal danger) it's hard to disagree with Jakob. As each of the couples exchange their sealed secrets, they have to decide whether to burn the contents without ever viewing them. Despite supposedly reinforcing trust in a relationship, it very soon becomes evident that far from allowing couples to draw a line under past events, it instead fosters an uncomfortable atmosphere of suspicion and resentment.
What might have been a tense and ill-advised game becomes something far more horrifying when one of the guests is murdered, and Ted, the main protagonist of the story finds himself caught in the middle of a situation which rapidly spins out of control. A second death soon follows and the remaining dinner guests are wracked with guilt at the deadly consequences of that evening. Ted is torn between telling the police everything that happened that night and protecting his friends from the unwelcome intrusion into their lives but little by little there are revelations which cause him to doubt whether he can trust anybody - including his wife, Juliette.
The Dinner Party is published by One More Chapter which is very apt because that's exactly what I kept telling myself! I've been a fan of Richard Parker's books for some time now and he never disappoints. This is one of those novels I tore through in a few hours because the storyline is completely compelling with the sort of uncomfortably real premise which set my pulse racing. As the story progresses, there are surprising developments which meant that I really didn't know if any of the characters could be trusted - and that included Ted. His loving relationship with his young son, Georgie ensures his likability but it's also obvious that something that happened in the past still preys on his mind. He withholds information from Juliette on a few occasions but is he protecting her or himself?
There is something particularly unsettling about the deceit which lurks beneath seemingly ordinary lives and there's a creeping sense of danger as the dramatic fall-out from that evening results in further bloodshed. One of the many things I loved about The Dinner Party is that the rising body count feels plausible as the snowball effect of a fateful suggestion leads to drastic decisions which eventually results in a shocking confrontation that links back to that first chapter. Having Ted as the central character who gradually discovers the truth at the same time as the reader means that it is only too easy to empathise with him, as his sense of confusion gives way to disbelief and then horror.
A new book by Richard Parker is always something to look forward to and he again written a novel which is an absolute delight to read from start to finish. I couldn't fail to love The Dinner Party; it's a first-rate thriller with an intriguing, fast-paced plot packed with suspense and exciting twists. Highly recommended!

The Dinner Party is available now as an ebook and the paperback will be published on 12th December 2019. Purchasing links can be found here.

About the Author

Richard Parker also writes as R J Parker for HarperCollins and was formerly a TV script writer, script editor and producer before turning his hand to penning twisted stand alone thrillers.

THE DINNER PARTY is his latest stand alone thriller and has been called ‘the most addictive, twisty, psychological thriller of 2019.’
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