The Last Guest is advertised as an Agatha Christie and Mulholland Drive mashup. While it does have some characteristics of both, it is mostly a slow-paced behind-the-scenes look into the rich movie crowd’s symbiotic relationships.
Elspeth is invited to her husband Richard’s fiftieth birthday party at his stunning mansion. She goes to support their adult daughter, Lillie. However, after arriving at the party, Elspeth realizes that Lillie is not coming. The party is intimate with only seven other guests. There is also a resident octopus that serves as the most ironic red herring ever.
After a night of excessive drinking, Elspeth and the other guests wake up with only hazy members of how the evening ended. But Richard will never awaken again after choking on his own vomit after a possible overdose. Was it an accident? Was it suicide? Or was it murder?
I really wanted to read The Last Guest. The plot from the publisher’s blurb sounds so intriguing. However, the pacing was glacial. Like glacial two hundred years ago before global warming. Elspeth just keeps running over the case in her mind. Over and over again for half the book. When it finally arrives, the ending feels rushed and incomplete. Overall, not a book I would recommend to either mystery or thriller readers. Literary or serious women’s fiction readers might enjoy it. 2.5 stars.
Thanks to Ballantine Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.