Creepy characters, family drama and murder culminate in this whodunit thriller.
When a wealthy couple is found brutally murdered in their upstate New York mansion, their three adult children stand to inherit millions. Which one did it? Or perhaps it was the housekeeper? Or another relative? Each character has secrets, including the dead. Before you even open the book, the title tells you that this is not a happy family.
Fred Merton was a psychopath who took pleasure in emotionally abusing his three children. His wife, Sheila, was a neglectful parent. Now their kids are adults who come to the mansion with their significant others for Easter dinner. If there’s anything that can cause a dysfunctional familial explosion, it’s a holiday dinner.
The Easter dinner abruptly concludes after Fred makes some hurtful remarks, causing his children and their longtime housekeeper to flee the meal angry and upset. Sometime during the night, Fred and Sheila are brutally murdered. The Merton’s adult children, Catherine, Dan and Jenna, although siblings, are vastly different from one another, each with their own dark secrets.
The author, Shari Lapena, does a great job at presenting a juicy cast of nefarious characters. The chapters are short and crisp and most end with a cliffhanger, compelling the reader to devour “just one more chapter” again and again. Even though the suspect list is relatively short, Lapena keeps readers guessing by amping up the characters’ motives. This book is Agatha Christie-meets Knives Out-meets Succession.
Not A Happy Family is a mysterious thriller that will keep you guessing right until the very end. Be sure to stick around for the epilogue. It’s a masterful chef’s kiss of an ending.