The Dinner Guests by Kiersten Modglin
This was like an escape room-themed murder mystery gone wrong kind of dinner party, and I loved it. At first, it felt very Desperate Housewives-like with the neighborhood clique and obvious years-long secret that was going to be exposed, but I still was taken in by the different relationships between them and knew this wasn’t going to be an ordinary turn of events.
Teenage wrongdoings followed them for life, but there was so much more behind their secrets that they weren’t expecting for dessert.
I loved the element of the clues once the dinner party really kicked off, taunting them with hints of blackmail as they were locked in and unable to escape until they figured the riddles out. Then people disappeared and voices were heard and you kept waiting for the sinister reveal or for a body to show up. And then when it all came out? It wasn’t completely unexpected, but there were some nice little surprises thrown in that made it juicier and worth the read.
While I did correctly suspect some plot points, the way they played out added to the unpredictability and carefully woven mystery. There were many more layers than a one-note secret from long ago; there were betrayals and danger that lurked and threatened to destroy the friends as the twisted night of games with new neighbors played on.
I was waiting for one (or more) suspected side players to have a hidden connection and dark reveal, but there was enough back-stabbing to make the interactions interesting.
Highly enjoyable, suspenseful locked room mystery that had shock value.
To learn more about the author and her book: https://www.kierstenmodglinauthor.com/