When Charlie has a chance encounter with Rachel in a bookshop he thinks she's interesting enough but assumed he'll never see her again, but when his husband, Matthew, invites her to his bookclub she starts to become overly involved in their lives, with increasingly concerning aftereffects.
'The Dinner Guest' was pinned as May 2021's best thriller release, One More Chapter were kind enough to send me a review copy to promote on my page. Unfortunately, it didn't hit home for me. Waterstones advertised it as their thriller of the month so I had high expectations.
I knew from the buzz around the book community that this novel had more too it than initially meets the eye, I was pleasantly surprised when the plot started to develop into more than the "unstable female stalker" storyline that it first appeared to be. That being said, it was still a slow start and took until about halfway through for me to get really interested. The second half was fast-paced and did keep you guessing. Hints toward the reality of the situation were peppered throughout the narrative but the final reveal was still relatively flat despite all of this. I was invested to find out the real mystery of the novel but I didn't find that I was invested because of the characters or the resolution of their own struggle.
Speaking of the characters I couldn't bring myself to care about any of them, they were quite two-dimensional in their needs and didn't provide a full picture of who they were outside this novel. Charlie was pretentious, and whilst acknowledging his own presumptions about Rachel due to her background he didn't change his opinions or actions toward her. I can recognise the intention of creating an air of uncertainty around Rachel but Charlie just came across as rude and unnecessary for the most part. Rachel herself read slightly better in my eyes, mainly because of the expansion of her characterisation instead of just the matter at hand.
Overall, I was spectacularly underwhelmed. Plot lines were strong but characters were the downfall, I needed them to be more well-rounded and to be developed past the walls of the novel.