The Family Plot by Megan Collins The Family Plot by Megan Collins
Narrator: Emily Tremaine
Published by Simon & Schuster Audio on August 17, 2021
Source: Purchased
Genres: Gothic, Mystery
Length: 10 hrs 30 mins
Pages: 320
Format: Audiobook
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four-stars

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.

Dahlia Lighthouse and her siblings had an unconventional childhood, to say the least. They were homeschooled and along with geography, they were taught about famous serial killers and their victims by their obsessed parents. The way they grew up, sheltered, surrounded by historical murders, has obviously affected how they live in the world off the island and how they relate to other people.

And now three of the siblings, now adults, are back home. Dad’s dead, but someone else’s body is found in his grave – Andy, who they all thought ran away years ago.

So the mystery is who killed Andy. Dahlia is desperate to find out what happened to her twin. I don’t know if mystery is really the right word. Yes, we have some clues and an investigation, but the book is more about the oppressive atmosphere of the Lighthouse home, of the suspicion of the other islanders, of secrets and obsession and coping.

The tone is dark and claustrophobic. The setup is creative and a couple of the twists were surprising. The book sucked me in. I was a bit disappointed in the ending though. It was a bit too easy for how dark the rest of the book was.

About Megan Collins

Megan Collins is the author of The Winter Sister, Behind the Red Door, and The Family Plot (Atria/Simon & Schuster). She received her B.A. in English and Creative Writing from Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, and she holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Boston University, where she was a teaching fellow. She has taught creative writing at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts and Central Connecticut State University, and she is Managing Editor of 3Elements Review. A Pushcart Prize and two-time Best of the Net nominee, her work has appeared in many print and online journals, including Compose, Linebreak, Off the Coast, Spillway, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and Rattle. She lives in Connecticut.

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