Title: The Summer Party
Author: Rebecca Heath
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: January 5th 2023
Publisher: Head Of Zeus
Finished reading: January 2nd 2023
Pages: 384

“She probably fell in love with all three of the Whitlams that summer.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Head Of Zeus in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***


There was just something about The Summer Party that had me intrigued almost immediately. I do love a good thriller with an Australian setting; add the murder investigation and a powerful family with secrets and I was sold. I’ve been looking forward to this debut and I’m not sure if my expectations were simply too high, but the fact is that sadly I ended up being completely underwhelmed by this story. There were a couple of things I liked, but as a whole I came close to DNFing it more than once.

I did love the Southern Australia setting. The descriptions of Queens Point really made the town come alive for me, and it made for a great backdrop for this story. I still love the premise of The Summer Party as well, and the murder mystery and secrets had a lot of potential. It’s such a shame that there was more focus on different elements instead, and it seems like main character Lucy’s strange obsession with the Whitlams is more important than the murder investigation. An obsession that quickly becomes highly annoying, and isn’t exactly easy to swallow considering she only met the family one summer years and years ago. She basically follows them around like a puppy both in past and present, making me lose all respect for her very quickly.

I struggled with the main characters in general. I think the only character I liked was Hades, and he’s a dog. Not being able to connect to any of the characters made it very hard to care about what happened to them… Lucy is probably the worst, solely because I don’t think she was ment to be an unlikeable character. She comes over as extremely immature, self-centered and shallow as she fawns over the Whitlams even when they treat her badly. I mean, desperate much? To make things worse, there is also a love triangle in play and a cheating vibe to deal with… Making me detest the story even more. And then I’m not even talking about the cliches (including artist bad boy/player and good cop).

I also struggled considerably with the pace of The Summer Party. The pace was SO slow especially during the first half, and certain parts of the story dragged considerably. I came really close to DNFing more than once, and even started skimreading at one point… Which is never a good sign. I did like the multiple POV structure and the flashbacks to 2000; this ment I didn’t have to spend too much time with one unlikeable character in one go, and the flashbacks at least make Lucy sound her age (she acts horribly immature in the present timeline). Certain elements were quite underdeveloped though… For example when it comes to the whole mystery around what happened at Lucy’s job (which was never fully explained and so milked out that the ‘reveal’ was a total disappointment).

I think you might have guessed already that The Summer Party and me most definitely didn’t get along… It’s a shame, because the premise was promising and the Australian setting a bonus.

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