Monday, August 9, 2021

Not a Happy Family: A Novel by Shari Lapena

The new domestic suspense novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Couple Next Door and Someone We Know who has sold more than 7 million copies of her books worldwide.

In this family, everyone is keeping secrets—even the dead.

Brecken Hill in upstate New York is an expensive place to live. You have to be rich to have a house there, and Fred and Sheila Merton certainly are rich. But even all their money can't protect them when a killer comes to call. The Mertons are brutally murdered after a fraught Easter dinner with their three adult kids. Who, of course, are devastated.

Or are they? They each stand to inherit millions. They were never a happy family, thanks to their vindictive father and neglectful mother, but perhaps one of the siblings is more disturbed than anyone knew. Did someone snap after that dreadful evening? Or did another person appear later that night with the worst of intentions? That must be what happened. After all, if one of the family were capable of something as gruesome as this, you'd know. 

Paperback, 352 pages
Published July 27th 2021
 by Doubleday Canada
4.5/5 stars

I've read a number of Shari Lapena and this is by far the best.  It has everything that I love in mystery/thriller.

What do I love in this genre you wonder?  Well I love the unputdownableness (if it becomes a real word I lay claim to it). With shorter chapters it was easy to just squeeze in another chapter until I got to the point where I couldn't put it down and read the last third in one sitting.

The characters were a mixed bunch and honestly I didn't feel much empathy for any of them, and that's fine because it just made me look at everyone with suspicion.  They were each flawed and coming from the different POV's made it fascinating see things through their eyes.  Learning the family dynamics, motivation and relationships might sound daunting with this larger cast of characters but it wasn't hard to keep everyone straight.

The mystery was great, just when I'd think I solved it there would be another twist.  I was kept on my toes while trying to connect the dots.

Not a Happy Family is the story of relationships within a dysfunctional family, where money is high up on everyone's priority list.  It is so well written, suspenseful and full of  secrets making everyone a suspect.

Definitely a book I highly recommend.

This book is part of my 2021 Reading Off My Shelf Challenge, obtained from SweetReadsBox (the suspense box).

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