- Genre: Mystery
- Length: 448 pages
- Buy: Not a Happy Family: A Novel
Brecken Hill in upstate New York is an expensive place to live. You have to be rich to have a house there, and Fred and Sheila Merton certainly are rich. But even all their money can’t protect them when a killer comes to call. The Mertons are brutally murdered after a fraught Easter dinner with their three adult kids. Who, of course, are devastated.
Or are they? They each stand to inherit millions. They were never a happy family, thanks to their vindictive father and neglectful mother, but perhaps one of the siblings is more disturbed than anyone knew. Did someone snap after that dreadful evening? Or did another person appear later that night with the worst of intentions? That must be what happened. After all, if one of the family were capable of something as gruesome as this, you’d know.
This novel has the absolute best pacing of any mystery that I’ve read in a long time. The chapters are short. So short, in fact, that I kept telling myself, ‘Just one more chapter.’
That said, the narrator does a fantastic job of filling out a large cast of characters. Each character is properly motivated, definitely suspicious, and at the same time, easy to root for. I especially related to the oldest sister, Catherine, who despite her flaws, was the only person who seemed to want to keep her family together. The other two siblings, in my opinion were much more selfish.
The author also did a fantastic job of keeping the plot moving. As a writer, I would love to know her process for what ends up being cut and what she keeps. There was not a single moment that was not necessary to the plot.
If you want a fast-paced mystery to solve that will keep you guessing to the very end, this one is for you!