Review of ‘The Launch Party’ by Lauren Forry

And Then There Were None… in a hotel on the Moon! What a great idea, a locked room mystery with a touch of sci-fi. I wasn’t so keen on the execution of it, however.

The story follows a group of people who win a contest to be the first guests at Hotel Artemis. After the space ship drops them off, they realise there are no staff. Then someone gets murdered and the detection begins…

Generally I found this book to be a page-turner and I wanted to know who the culprit(s) were. It was meticulously plotted and had many references to Agatha Christie. I loved the setting, although I felt that it wasn’t exploited enough. The atmosphere of the story could have been more sinister. The characters seemed strangely old-fashioned for a supposedly futuristic setting. I know it wasn’t supposed to be very realistic anyway, but who would go into space – one of the most dangerous things you can do – without reading the paperwork the corporation gave them?

The writing style was a little repetitive, with characters often glaring, rolling their eyes, wincing, etc. Moreover, it was mostly linear and I would have preferred a more dramatic beginning – perhaps a foreshadowing to pique my interest. I didn’t understand the point of the epilogue and felt that the ending was stronger without it. The character we follow the most is Penelope, a police detective on leave, but she seemed bland and we didn’t get to know her.

In summary, if this book wasn’t set on the Moon, I’m unconvinced it would stand out. If you’re a fan of murder mysteries, you may as well give it a try.

Thank you to the publisher Bonnier Books for the advance copy via NetGalley. The book will be published on 22nd June.

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