The Family Plot
September 13, 2021

Book Review

The Family Plot

reviewed by Fiona Cook

Utterly modern and thoroughly captivating, The Family Plot is a wonderfully tense thriller that takes a lens to our true crime obsession.

 The Lighthouse family have always been the subject of whispers, living on the remote Blackburn Island in a home dubbed the “Murder Mansion” by locals. One of four children who were raised by a true-crime-obsessed mother to honor the anniversaries of the deaths of murder victims, Dahlia fled her home following the disappearance of her brother. But now that their father is dead, the Lighthouse Children have all come home; and with an unexpected discovery, all of them have secrets that are about to be dragged into the light.

Megan Collins is a self-described Murderino (the name fans of podcast My Favorite Murder have taken on for their group), and her expertise shows. Each child is named for a different famous victim, and the focus on honoring victims rather than glorying in the crimes they endured is certainly welcome. Some true crime does definitely trend to the salacious, though, and that’s not ignored – the author calls it out as something to be avoided.

To the book itself, though, which is suspenseful and twisty, and had me hooked right from the first chapter. There’s a real sadness to this family who ostensibly bond over death and remembrance, but are so disconnected from each other, and Dahlia as the protagonist was even more heart-wrenching in her obvious grief over her brother’s decades old disappearance.

The central mystery is resolved relatively early, though certainly not without a few twists and turns to keep the reader guessing along the way. It leaves room for dealing with the fallout of the revelations at hand, and transitions the novel from purely thriller to something more thoughtful. In the end, The Family Plot is a first-rate read, and one that should appeal to both true crime fans and readers who just love an excellent mystery.

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