The Club by Ellery Lloyd: A fun, fast-paced and super-smart thriller – book review
It’s being billed as the celebrity event of the decade…
Naturally, the A-listers are all dying to be invited to the bash but what they don’t know yet is that if your name is on the list, you might not be getting out.
Ellery Lloyd, pseudonym for the London-based husband-and-wife writing team comprising journalist Collette Lyons and author Paul Vlitos, follow up their cracking debut, People Like Her, with a riveting and immensely entertaining take on the noxious cult of celebrity.
Think greed, revenge, jealousy and vaulting ambition, and with the darkest of hearts and a razor-sharp brand of satirical humour, this inspired duo whisks readers into the simmering tensions, burning ambitions and wildest whims of the glitzy, glamorous celebs whose dirty secrets are matched only by those who are paid to attend to their every need.
There’s no place like Home, a glamorous collection of exclusive private members’ clubs dotted across the globe where the rich and famous can party hard and then crash out in its five-star suites, far from the prying eyes of fans and the media.
And now the most spectacular and ambitious project yet – Island Home, a forgotten island off the coast of Essex – has been transformed into a height-of-luxury resort and its three-day launch party is easily the most coveted A-list invite of the decade.
But behind the scenes, and only hours before the first guests arrive, tensions are at breaking point. The project has pushed Ned Groom, Home Group’s moody, temper tantrum-prone CEO, and his long-suffering team to their absolute limits.
At the forefront of the staff are newly appointed housekeeper Jess Wilson who has never been told why her predecessor left, Ned’s overworked PA Nikki Hayes, Head of Membership Annie Spark, the super-fixer supreme, and Ned’s brother Adam, the partner who has always been in his elder sibling’s shadow.
All of them have something to hide… and that’s before the beautiful people with their own dark secrets even arrive on the island in their helicopters, speed boats, blacked-out SUVs and Model S Teslas.
As tempers fray and behaviour worsens, as things get more sinister by the hour and the body count starts to rise, some of Island Home’s members will begin to wish they had never made the guest list.
There is so much to enjoy in this superbly plotted foray into the an unforgettable weekend at the Island Home as this top storytelling team plunge us into a veritable nest of vipers where discontent, revenge, hidden truths and intrigue are on a grisly collision course.
In classic locked-room crime mystery style, the action takes place on an island where travel to the mainland is reliant on the tides, and with the perspectives alternating between the leading characters and a retrospective feature in Vanity Fair magazine, we are given tantalising glimpses of the deadly dangers awaiting the wealthy clientele.
With some topical issues taking centre stage, a backdrop straight out of a Bond film, an immaculately imagined cast of fascinating and flawed characters, and an alluring trickle of twisty surprises to enjoy, this is a fun, fast-paced and super-smart thriller that will keep you guessing until the perfectly satisfying finale.
(Mantle, hardback, £14.99)