Welcome to Brecken Hill in Aylesford, situated along New York’s Hudson River. This enclave is home to the wealthy, who keep their lives as private as their large properties. But the Merton family’s mansion will soon be attracting swarms of police cars and the media as the day after Easter Sunday, the dead bodies of Fred and Sheila will be found. At the annual Easter dinner, the three Merton children join their parents at a seemingly routine family gathering. Former nanny and current cleaning woman Irena is also in attendance. But this is not a normal, warm, loving family. Fred uses the occasion to make his children feel worthless. And Sheila does nothing to stop the verbal abuse. Daughter Catherine and her husband Tom, son Dan and his wife Lisa, and daughter Jenna and her date Jake end the evening early as they have taken all they can take from their father. For them, the night is over. Or is it?
When the bodies are discovered, the crime scene looks like a routine robbery gone wrong but the brutality of the killings convince the police that this was a very personal murder. In addition to the children, who stand to inherit millions, there are several other suspicious characters. In this enjoyable whodunnit domestic thriller, everyone is a suspect. And everyone is telling lies.
And that’s all I’ll say about Not a Happy Family, a well done story from an author whose books I’ll never pass by. Shari Lapena has once again delivered a fast-paced, easy read that you won’t want to put down. It will keep you guessing until the end.
Rated 4 out of 5 stars.
Mystery / Thriller.
Publication Date: July 27, 2021.
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