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Book Review | The Family Plot by Megan Collins

From the publisher: From the author of The Winter Sister and Behind the Red Door, a family obsessed with true crime gathers to bury their patriarch—only to find another body already in his grave.

Dahlia’s family is… unnatural. Residents of Blackburn refer to the Lighthouse family’s home as “Murder Mansion,” where Dahlia and her three siblings were homeschooled. Their curriculum? All about murder, of course. She was named in honor of Elizabeth Short, a.k.a. Black Dahlia, and each of her siblings were also named for famous murder victims. It’s safe to say her parents are obsessed with murder. 

Now Dahlia is 26, and she’s been away from home for years. The only reason she came back is because her father died. When a skeleton with an ax wound to the skull is found already buried in her father’s grave, family secrets are revealed seemingly in rapid-fire succession. 

I figured Collins was writing a satirical account of modern culture throughout the first half of this book. It really felt like she was poking fun at the obsession with true crime, and I was all here for it, but then halfway through it felt like a completely different author took over. It was weird. It got very melodramatic and the “twists” weren’t all that twisty. It read more like a young adult novel at that point. 

And is it bad of me to say that the relationships between the siblings were borderline creepy? Dahlia’s older brother and sister are obsessed with each other, inseparable, and Dahlia is basically jealous of her twin brother’s girlfriend…. It’s too much. It’s no Jaime and Cersei, but like, come on. Unrealistically close relationships there. In my opinion.

The aesthetic was great, though. A mansion deep in a forest on a misty island? Say no more! 

There’s not much else to say about this one. It was an easy, gloomy mystery–entertaining but not too deep.

The Family Plot is available for checkout from the Galesburg Public Library.