The Party by Lisa Hall - book review

When Rachel Walker wakes up with a crippling hangover in her neighbours' spare bedroom on the morning after a party, she has no recollection of how she got there.

The Party by Lisa Hall
The Party by Lisa Hall

But what she does know is that ‘something happened’ and it was ‘something bad.’

‘Lost memory’ is always an intriguing theme in novels and Lisa Hall, author of exciting bestseller Between You and Me, plays a clever game in this dark and gripping tale of a forty-something wife and mother determined to track down the truth of the winter night that turned her suburban world upside down.

Through flashbacks, shocking twists and turns, and an intensive, psychological rollercoaster, we journey with Rachel into a nightmare web of evasion, paranoia, mystery and menace, a complex maze that is guaranteed to ensnare readers from the provocative opening chapter.

Rachel Walker likes a few drinks but she has the worst hangover ever when she wakes up in the spare bedroom of he next door neighbours Neil and Liz Greene. And something’s not right… why does every muscle in her body ache, why is she covered in bruises, and why is she half-naked?

Her memory of what happened at the Greenes’ New Year’s Eve party is just a ‘gaping hole,’ and where is her husband Gareth? The Greenes tell her that her Gareth left early and that Rachel had wanted to stay on for another drink… but why are they being so evasive?

Rachel becomes convinced that she was raped that night and it fills her with terror. Everyone remembers what happened that night differently, and everyone has something to hide. Her husband seems supportive but Rachel gets the feeling that he doesn’t really believe her, and she grows increasingly suspicious of all those around her.

Little by little, Rachel starts to piece together the devastating events that took place in her friends’ house, at a party where she should have been safe. Someone knows the truth about what really happened and she is determined to find them…

This fast-paced, multi-layered mystery, which weaves seamlessly between windows into Rachel’s past and present life, is a white-knuckle thrill ride full of red herrings, sharp right turns, and edge-of-the-seat tension.


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A series of shocking revelations, the almost palpable sense of panic that grips Rachel, and Hall’s ability to constantly send our theories over a cliff edge make The Party an enthralling and unsettling page-turner.

There is drama here, suspense and high emotion as disturbing real-life issues are explored, and then steel yourself for the final thrust as Hall delivers her breathtaking coup-de-grace.

A dark and delicious thriller for the long summer nights…

(HQ, paperback, £7.99)