The Family Plot

Atria. Aug. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9781982163846. $27. SUSPENSE
Collins (The Winter Sister; Behind the Red Door) explores the dark secrets of an unusual, true crime–obsessed family as they come together to bury their patriarch in the family plot behind their secluded island home, nicknamed the Murder Mansion by the locals. Ten years earlier, Dahlia Lighthouse’s twin brother Andy had gone missing and was presumed to have run away; 26-year-old Dahlia has never been able to move on from his disappearance. When Andy’s body is found buried in the grave meant for his father, Dahlia is quick to blame Andy’s murder on the serial killer who terrorized the island for decades; the other Lighthouses react to the revelation in unsettling ways. While the writing and pacing are spot on, Collins’s story lacks adequate buildup and character development. The true crime connection never quite catches on and feels superfluous, and the constant red herrings and wild goose chase for multiple killers fail to bring about the intended shock factor at the climax of the book. The resolution is just as unbelievable as the rest of the story.
VERDICT Diehard mystery/thriller fans may be disappointed, and true crime fans will be confused as to why they were led here.
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