Cover Image: The Invitation

The Invitation

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Member Reviews

This is my first Rachel Abbott book and what a delightful introduction to her work! Although it is the second novel to feature Cornish policewoman Stephanie King, it read just perfectly as a stand-alone. Though some might consider it to be a police procedural, the police actually took the back seat in this story. They were present, but the group of friends were under the spotlight more than the police investigation.

The premise was very clever and the characters intriguing. The ‘friend‘ dynamic seems to cover up lots of enigmagtic secrets, power-plays, and precarious loyalties. The writing kept me riveted throughout. I’ll admit I did guess one major plot twist about halfway through the novel, but that in no way marred my reading enjoyment.

In addition to the overriding theme of friendship, the novel also touches on blackmail, murder and abduction.

Would I read another Rachel Abbott book? Certainly! I cannot imagine what took me so long to discover this great crime novelist!
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A group of old friends, with the exception of one person, who’s POV we get a lot, gather at a lavish mansion for a wedding. However, the night before the big day, the grooms troubled younger sister is found dead by an apparent suicide. 

A year later, the wealthy groom, Lucas, calls everyone back to the mansion for a “game”. He believes his sister was murdered, and the same guests, wearing the same clothes and doing the same exact things as the year prior, will help him to uncover who did it. 

I like the premise of this book a lot, but it was a bit slow-flowing for me at times and the characters, although very developed, were unlikeable. I didn’t read the first Stephanie king novel, but it doesn’t matter when you read this one, which is always good! The tension and mystery were good as were the twists. 

Thanks to NetGalley, Rachel Abbott and Bookouture for the egalley!
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Thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture for allowing me to read this Arc.
I never  thought I would say a book was absolute rubbish but this is a first!!
It's a whodunnit for kids!! And even then that's pushing it!!
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Many books right now are Agatha Christie/closed room mysteries and this is one of the best out here.  Last year a small group of friends are Invited to a manor house for a wedding and a tragedy happens. Low and behold, they receive an invitation to return this year on the anniversary of the event they all want to forget.  Now comes the fun, for us, not them, as Lucas the groom is determined to get to the truth of what really happened.  This is a creepy mystery thriller rather than a psychological Thriller and there are obviously a whole group of guests/suspects to keep an eye on and move in and out of our guilty /most awful category.. This is actually  the second appearance Of Detectives Stephanie King and Angus Brodie but you can certainly read this one out of order. Any of them could have been guilty for me, although I had an idea (which was wrong) before the whole plot explodes with several unexpected and a couple of really stretched twists!
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What devious game is about on the anniversary of a wedding party on a lavish  estate gone horribly wrong when the sister of the wealthy groom dies in an apparent suicide on the morning of Lucas and Nna' s nuptials? The first are the same close-knit circle of friends who were in attendance at that event, and it becomes clear that Lucas, at least, hasn't invited them back to mark that tumultuous day but to reenact in in order to satisfy his obsession - his belief that Alex, his sister, was murdered, and that one of his closest friends was responsible  This is a tricky thriller that kept me guessing to the last page - and also wondering why any of Lucas s wedding guests are willing to play the Murder Game.
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This is definitely a thriller. I couldnt put this book down. I was so into this story. This is the first book I have read by this author and she did not let me down. The many twists and turns keep you guessing. The characters are real and the story definitely has a dangerous tone to it. The ending was really shocking. I loved it.
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Stephanie King is back, somewhat, and has been promoted to detective. Additionally, she and her romantic interest, Gus, seem to be doing well. As I read this book, I realized that the series isn't really written to learn much about Ms. King. Her presence is incidental and merely a tool to tie murder investigations together. We learn a lot more about the people involved in the actual murder than we do about her, even though this is her second book. This is okay as long as the reader is expecting that. I feel this treatment was much more successful in this book than in the first in the series. Additionally, the murder story itself felt stronger. It very much felt like an Agatha Christie mystery with several intertwined characters and secrets. While I normally urge people to read series in sequential order, this series reads as much like a couple of stand alone books that have a few overlapping characters.
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Ok, so a couple of things first: I didn't know this was the 2nd book in a series & I think I've learned that I don't like Wedding gone wrong stories. I recently read and didn't like The Guest List and this reminded me of that one in several ways, however, I did like this book more than that one. I liked that , like The Guest List, the story is told from multiple points of view. Also like The Guest List, all the characters seem to have a secret. Also like The Guest List though, there are just too many characters to try and remember. The story flips back and forward between this and the previous year. The first part of the book is slow but I do think the second part made up for it.  This book is centered around grief, jealousy, secrets and lies. Part 1 is the wedding and the tragedy- which is a bit of a bore, but Part 2 takes place one year later, picks up and draws you in more to the mystery. I actually enjoyed this one more than I expected I would. However, the ending was a bit of a let down. I feel like half the questions were left unanswered and I wanted closure. I liked it better than The Guest List, but I didn't love it
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The Invitation by Rachel Abbott is a brilliant and gripping and twisty novel! A gathering of friends who can’t be trusted is right up my alley so this was a treat to read.  When there is something introduced called The Murder Game, I am going to want to read about it.

Take a look at the plot:

The first time Jemma and Matt were invited to Polskirrin – the imposing ocean-view home belonging to Matt’s childhood friend Lucas Jarrett – it was for an intimate wedding that ended in tragedy. Jemma will never forget the sight of the girl’s pale body floating listlessly towards the rocky shore.

Now, exactly one year later, Jemma and her husband have reluctantly returned at Lucas’s request to honor the anniversary of an event they would do anything to forget.

But what Lucas has in store for his guests is nothing like a candlelight vigil. Someone who was there that night remembers more than they’ll admit to, and Lucas has devised a little game to make them tell the truth.

Jemma believes she and Matt know nothing about what happened to that woman… but what if she’s wrong? Before you play a deadly game, make sure you can pay the price…

Though this is second in a series, I read it as a standalone and enjoyed it immensely. I think either way you go in, you will enjoy this novel!

Out now! Get it here, it’s free if you have Kindle Unlimited and $3.99 if you don’t!
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Thank you to NetGalley, Bookouture and Rachel Abbott for lending me an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
Eight people are invited to a summer party, only seven survive. Someone knows more than they are talking about. This summer, secrets will be exposed and seven people will never be the same again.
This book has great reviews on Goodreads, but I just couldn’t get into this book! I found all of the characters very unlikeable and the story was just too slow for me. There was a lot of foreshadowing, hinting and mystery, but really I just wanted to get the plot moving! I DNF’ed at 50%, deciding it was better to set this one aside then struggle through it.
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At first I was a bit confused by the happenings of "a year later" but that was probably me just not paying attenting, lol. We start off at a dinner party for a wedding that is supposed to happen the next day.

We are intorduced a bit to the characers, but when it came to the sister, that is where I had gotten confused. Something had happened to her when she was young but somewhere in my mind I took that as the "before story" and that the dinner party was "a year later".  Not the case.

Most of the group is aware of what had happened to the sister when she was young, as they had all grown up together, but one of the wives (possibly girlfriend at that time) didn't know what had happened. So you only get little bits of people not wanting to talk about it. Then tragedy hits, again... 

NOW, one year later, they are all invited back but no one expects it's for the reason they are all called there for... The brother who was originally going to ger married the year before, thinks someone there is the killer. He sets up a Murder Mystery Dinner where all the guests have to try to retrace their steps and try to recall their conversations while wearing the exact clothes and eating the same food that fateful night. 

If they don't follow the game to find out who commited the murder they year prior, the host will start telling all their secrets.... 

It was a pretty interesting read with some twists I didn't necessarily see coming. I didn't expect the exact ending but did kind of guess who the killer was. I was entertained though and things happened in between kept me inerested enought to finish the story.

I do think the ending could have been done a little better... It was kind of left what not everyone found out what actually happened and some information was left kind of haphazardly in the prologue.

Thank you to Netgalley and Publishers for a chance to read this title in exchange for an honest review.
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The Invitation by Rachel Abbott is the second of a series featuring DI Stephanie King although, in my opinion, it can be easily read as a standalone novel.

Jemma and her husband Matt are invited to Polskirrin in Cornwall, the home of Matt's childhood friend Lucas.  Lucas is set to marry the lovely Nina on the grounds of the estate, and joined by a handful of other friends all seems to be on track for the perfect wedding weekend.  But no one could have foreseen the tragedy that would unfold.  Fast forward to one year later, and Lucas has again extended an invitation for the group to assemble at the grand estate, but this time a very different motivation is at play.  Lucas is convinced that someone among them is responsible for the tragic events of the year before, and an elaborate 'murder game' begins.

This is a novel that will certainly provide a pleasant distraction as you scramble to solve a complex mystery.  I have not read the previous novel featuring DI King, but I am certainly intrigued enough to do so.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture for this ARC.
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Great mystery novel. It reminded me of Agatha christie novels. The characters are great, this book kept me on my toes. I sad to see it end.
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If you’re a fan of Agatha Christie-type mysteries (think The Mousetrap), then this book is for you. The plot is tight and well-crafted, the characters are intriguing, and the atmosphere is claustrophobic – all of the hallmarks of a great “whodunit.” I was spellbound and couldn’t turn pages fast enough. I highly recommend this book. For a more detailed review, please visit my blog at Fireflies and Free Kicks Fiction Reviews. Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for a digital ARC of the book.
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Jemma & Matt are invited to the wedding of Lucas,one of Matt's oldest friends, & Nina. The beautiful house on the cliffs takes Jemma's breath away. Everything seems to be the last word in luxury, however it doesn't take too long to realise that there are definite undercurrents as the old friends get together. Lucas's sister Alex,seems very withdrawn, Isobel seems intent on stirring up trouble & the atmosphere between the friends is a little strange. The morning of the wedding Alex is found dead in the cove. Detective Stephanie King arrives on the scene but it seemed that it is suicide.

A year later everyone is invited back to celebrate the anniversary. Jemma is unsure whether she wants to go as ever since that day her relationship with Matt seems to have unravelled. When they arrive Lucas has arranged an elaborate reconstruction. He is convinced Alex was murdered & as he seems to have something on each of them he insists they play 'The Murder Game'. Stephanie King finds herself back at the house investigating the disappearance of a young girl. The events of the previous year have always bothered her but it seems there are even more things to concern her.

This was a really good read a la Agatha Christie. However as it was billed as the second in the Stephanie King series I was a bit disappointed with how little she really fitted in with this story- it could have been any detective! That is the reason it didn't make it to Five stars for me.

Thanks to Netgalley & the publisher for letting me read & review this book.
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Thank you for a much needed distraction! I have been having let of misses in the book department lately so I was hesitant to take a chance on an author I don't think I've ever read anything by before. This is going on my 2020 favorite though and I can't wait to read more by the author! Nina and Luca are set to be married and in attendance are the groom three best friends and their plus ones. However, the wedding doesn't go as planned and instead, someone winds up dead.

Now a year later Lucas has called together everyone in a morbid anniversary party where he intends to find his sister's killer. This seriously had me thinking of the movie The Invitation and I thought it was going to go that route.

This kept me on the edge of my seat until the very end! A must read for fan of who-dun-it books!


The only gripe was the ending left me confused and I wasn't sure if I missed something or we were intended to be left hanging.
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This is the second book in the Stephanie King series. I did not read the first book but I didn't feel like I missed out on anything. I enjoyed this suspenseful, murder mystery. It's an entertaining read with well-developed characters. With lots of secrets and twists, it will keep you guessing until the end. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

Thank you to NetGalley, Bookouture and Rachel Abbott for a copy of "The Invitation" in exchange of an honest review.
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The Invitation may be Rachel Abbott's best to date. A mix of old manor house intrigue and complex relationships makes for a thoroughly enjoyable thriller. Life long friends or enemies? What are people capable of? Rachel Abbott comes through again.
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The Invitation is a super fun premise! A group of old friends gather at a beautiful estate on the eve of one of their weddings. The time is spent introducing the reader, and the friends' spouses, to the odd dynamic of this group. The wedding however doesn't happen, due to an awful suicide the night before. 
One year later, they're all invited back for a game. The Murder Game. 
Turns out someone thinks the suicide was actually murder and is desperate to find out who did it.

Is the premise a bit ridiculous? Sure. 
Is it crazy fun though and reminds you of Clue? Yes!

I really enjoyed reading this one. It was a fun who done it and I enjoyed the uniqueness of the story. However, the ending was sooo disappointing. I feel like half the questions were still really unanswered and it just didn't have that closure you craved all book.
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More of a mystery than a thriller, this is the second in a series featuring DS Stephanie King and her boyfriend, DI Angus Brodie. Though they normally do not work cases together, the circumstances of this unusual situation take them to Polskirrin, Cornwall.

Wealthy Lucas Jarrett is set to marry Nina Belanger on the grounds of his massive estate and they've invited all of Lucas's best friends from his teenage years. The guests arrive at Polskirrin, a lovely manor house near the crashing waves of the nearby ocean. Matt and Jemma Hudson are themselves newly married -- he's a plastic surgeon now. Other attendees/friends include Andrew Marshall and his fiancée, Chandra Tran, and twins Nick and Isabel Wallace. Over dinner and drinks, they all relax and are looking forward to the festivities. The only "off" note is the occasional appearance of Lucas's half-sister, Alex. When she was 14, something dreadful had happened to Alex, and she's never quite been the same but she lives in an apartment above the boathouse on the property. The friends reconnect and are looking forward to the wedding -- alas, it's completely ruined for all when the body of Alex is discovered on the beach of the cove on the morning of the ceremony and everything is canceled. Flash forward one year. All of the friends have received another invitation to return to Polskirrin to play The Murder Game even though Alex's death was ruled a suicide. In a bizarre set up, Lucas tries to figure out which of his special guests killed his sister. NO SPOILERS.

As you'd expect, this is rather convoluted with various narrators and a lot of twists and turns leading to what might be a surprising conclusion. You will need a serious ability to suspend disbelief as events unfold. I think my main issue was that I really didn't like any of the characters. Their relationships with each other were also quite odd and way too many secrets and lies. Quite a nasty bunch of folks. This was the first book I've read by this author and not sure if I liked this well enough to continue on with the next installment in the series. Can you solve the mystery before the big reveals?

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for this e-book ARC to read and review.
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