Review of ‘The Festival’ by Sarah J Naughton

A chilling psychological thriller which kept me guessing. I thought it had a few too many characters and became confused between them. Other than that, a page-turner with a surprisingly creepy setting – a large Glastonbury-type festival where enemies hide in the crowd.

The story is about four women, Orly, Lenny, Thea and Mel. They were best friends at school but have drifted apart over the years as their lives got complicated. Now, one of them is turning 40 and they are all reuniting by going to a festival in their hometown. From the start, they aren’t enjoying themselves and the festival is taking a sinister turn…

I was mostly gripped by the novel, which was quite slow-paced with a build-up of suspense. I didn’t feel like I knew the main characters well enough and there were some peripheral ones that seemed unnecessary. I won’t remember the plot, but the atmosphere of the festival has made an impression. The writing was well-crafted. However, there were several mentions of a character changing her tampon, which personally I don’t want to encounter in my reading. It should of course not be a taboo in fiction but it wasn’t relevant to the story.

Recommended if you like the idea of a thriller with a festival setting.

Published by Trapeze, 2021.

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