Review: “The Invitation” (Stephanie King Book #2) by Rachel Abbott

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Addicting, pulse-pounding, and shocking, “The Invitation” by Rachel Abbott is a book you can’t put down. It takes off running on the very first page and doesn’t let up until the last.

About the Book

“The Invitation” by Rachel Abbott

The first time Jemma and Matt were invited to the imposing ocean-view home belonging to Lucas Jarrett, it was for an intimate wedding that ended in tragedy. Jemma will never forget the sight of the girl’s pale body floating towards the rocky shore.

Now, exactly one year later, Jemma and her husband have reluctantly returned at Lucas’s request to honor the anniversary of an event they would do anything to forget.

But what Lucas has in store for his guests is nothing like a candlelight vigil. Someone who was there that night remembers more than they’ll admit to, and Lucas has devised a little game to make them tell the truth.

We were all there that day. Now one of us is dead…

My Review

Gathering with old friends for a wedding should be a joyous occasion. Yet, when Jemma Hudson attends a weekend wedding bash for her husband Matt’s oldest pal Lucas Jarrett, it becomes anything but a happy event when the body of Lucas’ little sister is found floating near the rocky seashore. Although Jemma barely knew the girl, the death changes everything.

A year later, Jemma’s happy marriage is in tatters, although she can’t understand why. At Lucas’ request, she, Matt, and their friends return to the scene of the tragedy in order to mark the anniversary. But what Lucas has in mind isn’t a somber remembrance. Although his sister’s death was ruled a suicide, he’s convinced that one of his guests may be a killer. He devises a disturbing ‘murder game’ to reveal everyone’s secrets and uncover what really happened. Only new detective Stephanie King can put all the pieces together to figure out the truth, and it’s more shocking than you’d ever believe.

Addicting, pulse-pounding, and shocking, “The Invitation” by Rachel Abbott is a book you can’t put down. It takes off running from the very first page and doesn’t let up until the last. With light yet vivid descriptions that bring the scenes to life and characters so well developed that you feel like you know them, it’s a psych thriller brimming with enough mystery to keep you enthralled and guessing. Red herrings swim in schools. The secrets the characters harbor give the story multiple layers– and create some shocking twists.

Although “The Invitation” is the second book in author Rachel Abbott’s Stephanie King Series, you don’t need to read the first book to understand it. Although Stephanie King is a fairly prominent, likeable character, she’s more of a propulsive element in the story than an integral part of the tale. The rest of the book is so well-written, engrossing, and briskly paced, Stephanie could have as easily been used as a mere plot device to solve the case — instead of a developed character.

My favorite type of psych thriller is one that contains vivid characters, red herrings galore, and a fairly fast pace. “The Invitation” checks all those boxes. It’s not as mind bending as other books in the genre, but — as addicting as it is — it’s as good of a read as any, if not better.

About the Author

Rachel Abbott’s debut thriller, Only the Innocent, was an international bestseller, reaching the number one position in the Amazon charts both in the UK and US. This was followed by the number one bestselling novels The Back Road, Sleep Tight and Stranger Child, Nowhere Child (a short novel based on the characters from Stranger Child), Kill Me Again, The Sixth Window, Come a Little Closer, The Shape of Lies and Right Behind You. Close Your Eyes – the 10th in the Tom Douglas series – was released in February 2021.

In 2018 Rachel released the first book in a new series – And So It Begins. This was followed by The Murder Game in 2020 (The Invitation in the US).

Rachel’s novels have now been translated into over 20 languages.

In 2015 Amazon celebrated the first five years of the Kindle in the UK, and announced that Rachel was the number one bestselling independent author over the five-year period. She was also placed fourteenth in the chart of all authors. Stranger Child was the most borrowed novel for the Kindle in the first half of 2015.

Rachel now lives in Alderney – a beautiful island off the coast of France – and spends a few months of each year in the Le Marche regions of Italy, where she devotes her time to her love of writing fiction. For more information, see Rachel’s website at, or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.