Not a Happy Family: A Novel Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!
Another thrilling domestic suspense novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Couple Next Door
“Lapena is a master of manipulation. With her latest page-turning thriller… she is once again at the top of her game.” —USA Today
“In this fast-paced, twisted family saga, Shari Lapena keeps you guessing until the very last page...” —Paula Hawkins
In this family, everyone is keeping secrets—even the dead.
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.
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|Listening Length||9 hours and 11 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||July 27, 2021|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #7,520 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#279 in Psychological Thrillers (Audible Books & Originals)
#823 in Suspense (Audible Books & Originals)
#1,049 in Psychological Thrillers (Books)
Reviewed in the United States on January 17, 2022
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Top reviews from the United States
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Catherine is the oldest and knew that she would be inheriting the family home one day, that is until their father announced at Easter dinner that he was selling the house.
Dan has never had a good relationship with his father. Dan expected to take over the family business one day, that is until Fred sold it because he didn’t think Dan would be able to handle running it. So now after a few bad investments Dan needs money and asks his father for a loan on the night of Easter only to have his father tell him in no uncertain terms No!
Jenna is an artist; she likes to sculpt images of women’s anatomy, much to her parents’ dismay. She gets a monthly allowance from her parents. But they have decided it is time to cut her off.
Fred was not the best father. He got great joy in causing emotional pain to his children. And Sheila was not a very comforting mother; she left that job to their housekeeper Irene. So, it was not very surprising that the children were not overly devastated by their parents’ death. They all have alibis for the night their parents died, well according to each of their spouses they did. But those alibis are soon unraveled.
The siblings are not extremely close, but when the police start narrowing their suspicions onto them, they do rally around each other. Even though they figured one of them was the killer and they could have easily thrown each other under the bus, they stuck together. They figured which ever one of them was the killer did them a favor by getting rid of their toxic parents and made them all rich at the same time. Okay it was a bit of a twisted way of thinking, but hey they are family and are sticking together.
I liked the perspectives we got from each of them and watching them sweat when the investigation got to close to one of them.
As the police keep hitting walls as they try and figure out which of the siblings is the killer, they get some help from Fred’s sister Audrey. She has never really liked Catherine, Dan and Jenna, so she is more than happy to spill all the family secrets. And the Merton’s have a lot of secrets.
I really cannot say much more because I don’t want to spoil anything, I will say this book was full of twists and turns that had me all over the place on who I thought did it. Every time I thought I had it figured out, a twist would happen to point me in a different direction. I was completely clueless when the killer was finally revealed. And without giving anything away, I love how Shari Lapena ended this book.
If you like stories that center around dysfunctional families and that keep you guessing throughout, I recommend Shari Lapena’s Not a Happy Family.
I had my suspicions and my sleuth instincts had me thinking most about the one suspect saying the least and from the time in the first third that the detectives (view spoiler), the longer it took to circle back the more I knew my supposition was correct. And the journey to that point with all the red herrings and revelations of just how much of a whole mess the Mertons are (along with their extended relatives) made this a heck of a read and I immensely enjoyed it.
I borrowed this one from the library because I'd read another by Lapena in the past and I didn't like it. But in this outing, I was hooked and this was a fun one brimming with people I didn't want to prosper Except Ted. As a singleton, I appreciated his trying to understand his wife and the relationship she & her siblings shared. I wanted him to have a good resolution. Surprisingly, there was even one character whom, while I didn't root for, I was pleased with their final move on the board in the Epilogue. All the points for being observant and biding one's time.
I'd definitely read another by Lapena based on this one and I'm glad I decided to pick up another book by her. Recommended.
Top reviews from other countries
The blurb positions this as a domestic suspense novel. In reality, it is simply an unlikely and uninspiring murder mystery, with a bit of gloss and glitz, that just becomes increasingly silly.
I wondered for a time whether this was a intentional tongue-in-cheek attempt to produce something akin to the film "Knives Out". Certainly, anyone who has seen that film will immediately see clear similarities between the two storylines. However, whereas "Knives Out" is a deliberate, but affectionate parody of murder mysteries that are full of ridiculously twisty plots, this is just a decidedly mediocre murder mystery. If anything it bears more resemblance to the lightweight and predictable American tv mysteries that are often aired in the afternoon or early evening.
On the plus side, the narrative is occasionally fun, but it is also quite repetitive and spends a lot of time not going very far. The cast of characters is fairly large and the author doesn't make a great job of giving each character a distinctive voice. However, with the plot not being particularly complex, it isn't too difficult to keep track of who is who.
If you are simply looking for a disposable read to kill a few hours without taxing your brain cells too much, then this may well fit the bill. Otherwise, I suspect you are likely to find it a bit disappointing.
Yes, there are two people who are murdered, but the author does not dwell on the details. Instead, we are faced with a family where each member is
a liar, secretive and manipulative. Definitely not a happy family!
I loved it ,there were hints of Agatha Christie style of plotting, first one then another could be guilty,each of them capable of killing
their parents..but which one??