The Beach Party – Nikki Smith | Book Review | #TheBeachParty | @Mrssmithmunday @VikingBooksUK @EllieeHud

Six friends.
The holiday of their dreams.
One night that changed it all . . .

1989: The tunes are loud and the clothes are louder when a group of friends arrives in Mallorca for a post-graduation holiday of decadence and debauchery at a luxury villa.

A beach party marks the pinnacle of their fun, until it isn’t fun any longer. Because amidst the wild partying – sand flying from dancing feet and revellers leaping from yachts – an accident happens. Suddenly, the night of a lifetime becomes a living nightmare.

Now: The truth about that summer has been collectively buried. But someone knows what happened that night.

And they want the friends to pay for what they did.

Publisher: Viking/Penguin Books
Format: Ebook, Audio, Paperback (20 July 2023)
Source: – Review copy from Publisher


My thanks to Ellie of Viking for the tour invite and to the publisher for the review copy.

This is one beach party that you wouldn’t want to receive an invite to. A luxurious villa in Deià, Mallorca sounds idyllic but this group of university friends have history – and too many secrets.

Moving between two timelines – the ‘now’ and July 1989, The Beach Party focuses on six friends, meeting up at Nina’s parents villa in Mallorca for a two week booze fuelled post-graduation holiday. Nina is the self appointed head of the group, a confident, selfish and entitled young woman who just has to take charge. The others follow in her wake, but it is clear that most of them have some moral debt to pay to Nina. I was fascinated to see what it was that she had on them.

This is a character focused thriller with an underlying simmering tension and one that I found addictive with its short chapters and backstories being teased out – you know that something bad will happen and are just waiting for events to escalate. The friends are complex individuals with their own issues; some I had empathy for but there were 2 or 3 that I thought were just awful and the toxicity of their relationship came as no surprise.

Fast forwarding 33 years later to ‘now’ and an anonymous person is contacting each friend with a menacing threat. The ‘who’ was a source of intrigue and suspicion. I went through each suspect in turn, trying to figure out who I could discount but the twists and curve balls gave me no chance.

With vivid and evocative descriptions, especially of location, the setting during 1989 was one that I greatly enjoyed. I loved the musical and cultural references which were so familiar to me – LouLou perfume and the Walkman 🎵 – both instantly brought back memories.

With secrets coming to light and lives unravelling, this gripping twisty thriller keeps the suspense going until the very end. If the friends learnt just one thing from their holiday it was that there is no hiding from the past.

Nikki Smith studied English Literature at Birmingham University, before pursuing a career in finance. Following a ‘now or never’ moment, she applied for a Curtis Brown Creative course on which she started writing her debut novel All In Her Head which was pre-empted by Orion in a two-book deal. It went on to be an Amazon bestseller, was nominated for the Guardian ‘Not The Booker Prize’ and has been optioned for TV. Her second novel, Look What You Made Me Do was published on 1 April 2021 and was also optioned for TV. She followed her editor and moved to Viking who will publish her third novel, THE BEACH PARTY in July 2023, with THE GUESTS to follow in 2024. She is represented by Sophie Lambert at C&W and lives near Guildford with her husband, two teenage daughters and a cat who thinks she’s a dog.

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