The Family Plot by Megan Collins #BookReview #Gothic #Thriller

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When a family obsessed with true crime gathers to bury their patriarch, horrifying secrets are exposed upon the discovery of another body in his grave in this chilling novel from the author of Behind the Red Door and The Winter Sister .

At twenty-six, Dahlia Lighthouse has a lot to learn when it comes to the real world. Raised in a secluded island mansion deep in the woods and kept isolated by her true crime-obsessed parents, she has spent the last several years living on her own, but unable to move beyond her past—especially the disappearance of her twin brother Andy when they were sixteen.

With her father’s death, Dahlia returns to the house she has avoided for years. But as the rest of the Lighthouse family arrives for the memorial, a gruesome discovery is made: buried in the reserved plot is another body—Andy’s, his skull split open with an ax.

Each member of the family handles the revelation in unusual ways. Her brother Charlie pours his energy into creating a family memorial museum, highlighting their research into the lives of famous murder victims; her sister Tate forges ahead with her popular dioramas portraying crime scenes; and their mother affects a cheerfully domestic façade, becoming unrecognizable as the woman who performed murder reenactments for her children. As Dahlia grapples with her own grief and horror, she realizes that her eccentric family, and the mansion itself, may hold the answers to what happened to her twin.

Goodreads Link

My Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What I Loved

The gothically dark setting of The Family Plot both pulled me in and repulsed me simultaneously. Not surprisingly, the haunting Murder Mansion is the perfect backdrop for this gruesome and shocking tale. A setting like this is very pervasive – it seeps off the page and stays with you long past the final close of the novel.

I loved that there was only one narrator. It made it very easy for me to follow the skipping back and forth between the past and the present and provided an extra layer to the red herrings as Dahlia had to process new information with the reader. I found that my theories often went along with her current theory, so she guided me and made me part of her story.

The pacing stays relatively quick from start to finish, which is not typical for a gothic tale, but I enjoyed the faster pace. New finds and theories propel the rate as they come up frequently. There is always further information to process and new characters to focus on, as the reader is a team with Dahlia in the amateur detective work. I loved that solving the mystery didn’t initially come as a surprise, but then there is a twist that is more than shocking and an ending that is very intriguing in its unexpectedness. There are plenty of red herrings that, along with Dahlia’s thoughts, easily steer you off track and down lesser traveled trails

The Characters

The Lighthouse family is fascinating. The wonders and discoveries are ongoing, from the mother naming her children after famous murder victims to a house with many secrets yet to be discovered. I can’t say that I particularly liked any of the characters, but I felt eternally entertained by them.

Reminds Me Of

The Family Plot reminded me not of another book or author but a Netflix movie or show. Its darkness and oddities would make n excellent Netflix original, and I found myself thinking of different shows that something about the story reminded me of while I read.

What I Wish

I initially had a few wishes, but when I consider how the story would have been different with them, I’m not sure they are good wishes. What would have helped, though, is an understanding of the mom and dad’s backstories. They are both central to the tale but are relative enigmas. I wouldn’t want so much that it ruined any revelations but enough that I could more easily understand how the story got there when the secrets were revealed.

To Read or Not to Read

If you are looking for an utterly fascinating gothic mystery, The Family Plot will give you that and much more.

27 Replies to “The Family Plot by Megan Collins #BookReview #Gothic #Thriller”

  1. Wow, this premise is so interesting! I don’t think I’ve heard anything like it before, especially a whole family obsessed with true crime and everything that goes along with that! Sounds deliciously creepy/twisted but I’m definitely curious now. Will definitely check this one out. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s exactly that! And then some. It’s one of the most interesting books I’ve read this year.


  2. Oh, I’m going to have to read this one.. it sounds fantastic!
    Thanks for sharing, Tessa, brilliant job(as always!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not overtly but inherently I guess she has to be somewhat unreliable. She definitely guides your thinking very subtly.


  3. This sounds really, really good! I don’t think I have heard of a concept like this before so I am definitely intrigued! x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think this could be very good on audio. I mean, there’s always ways it could be done wrong but I can see more ways it can be done very well. I’d be curious.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a very masterfully done original premise (at least I haven’t ever read anything like it). I do think you’d enjoy.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It continues to be intriguing while you’re reading it too. I was just in awe of the premise and how it was developed. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The blurb turned me off a bit as it was just so weird. A family obsessed with true crime to the point that they name their kids after victims? I couldn’t quite go there. But your review really piqued my interest, especially your comments about Dahlia’s narrative voice. I like being “part of the story” and misled. Lol. Thanks for the recommendation. 🙂


  5. I was just thinking how this sounded like a good Netflix mystery, then you mentioned it, lol. Great minds!


  6. Tell me if this is horrible, but I giggled when I read the family’s reaction to finding Andy’s dead body. It all seems so theatrical, like this book could have been satire if it wanted, some sort of spoof. I could easily picture this on stage, so I’m not surprised you envisioned it as a Netflix series. Either way, it sounds heckin’ fun, and I’m adding it to my TBR. Thanks, Tessa!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is all sorts of wicked fun and I can totally see what your saying. It would be really funny as a satire. Lol 😂


  7. Great review Tessa and I absolutely love that word cloud. I just got my hands on the audiobook so I can do a read listen with this one. Maybe I should wait until October for my Halloween, Spooky reads. It definitely sounds like it would fit. Your comment about the setting being pervasive gave me a bit of a chill.

    Liked by 1 person

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