The Search Party by Simon Lelic #bookreview

On my blog today I’m sharing my thoughts on the new novel by Simon Lelic, The Search Party.

The Search Party: You won’t believe the twist in this compulsive new Top Ten ebook bestseller from the ‘Stephen King-like’ Simon Lelic by [Simon Lelic]


16-year-old Sadie Saunders is missing.

Five friends set out into the woods to find her.

But they’re not just friends…


You see, this was never a search party.

It’s a witch hunt.

And not everyone will make it home alive…


The Search Party is another gripping read by Simon Lelic. It’s been a couple of years since I read a book by Simon and after reading the rave reviews for The Search Party, I had to give it a go.

I was intrigued by the setup. A young woman, Sadie, disappears, which sets in motion one of the biggest missing person cases in the UK. The people at the centre of the mystery are the small group of friends. They are the people who Sadie spent most of her time with. In the days following their disappearance, they set off into the woods to try and find anything that might help them find Sadie, or even Sadie herself. They do this to clear their names; they are suspects in the eyes of the police and the public. But one of them is hiding a dark secret.

I was kept on my toes as I learnt more about the teenagers at the heart of the mystery. As we get to know them, I could potentially see that one of them could be responsible for Sadie going missing. They all have something to say about her, and not all of it is good. I could never be sure though if they were all innocent or who could, in fact, be the guilty party.

The investigation into Sadie’s disappearance is a very complex one, and it becomes the biggest in the UK’s history. I liked the detective who was investigating the case, DI Fleet. He faces some big obstacles, especially from his superiors who want the case wrapped up quickly. DI Fleet wants to make sure that no stone has been left unturned, but his boss is keen to charge someone, even if it means that person is innocent. There is also a vulnerable side to DI Fleet. He is on his own after recently becoming separated from his partner. Simon Lelic explores an emotional side to him; Fleet is worried about being in a relationship with someone as he is worried about having children. He doesn’t want to disappoint them. He sees the dark side of human nature every day in his job, and he can’t stand the thought of something potentially happening to his children in the future.

The book is told from various perspectives, including each member of the group who Sadie was friends with. This is what makes the book really exciting as we get to hear all of their thoughts on the person who Sadie was and what they think happened to her. I thought the voices of the teenagers were original and they really stood out as I was reading the book.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Search Party, and I hope that DI Fleet is going to return in a future book. A clever, absolutely gripping read. Highly recommended!

Publisher: Penguin

Publication date: 14th August 2020

Print length: 333 pages

The Search Party is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones