Hot Best Seller

The Family Plot

Availability: Ready to download

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 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.


Compare

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 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.

30 review for The Family Plot

  1. 4 out of 5

    Meredith

    “Our family was unnatural.” 3.25 stars The Family Plot is a psychological thriller about a family who hides their dysfunction behind their obsession with serial killers. Having fled her family’s house on a remote island over 6 years ago, Dahlia Lighthouse returns home for her father’s funeral. However, she is really returning with the hope that her twin brother, Andy, who fled the island when he was 16, will return home. While preparing her father’s grave, the family’s caretaker finds a body in “Our family was unnatural.” 3.25 stars The Family Plot is a psychological thriller about a family who hides their dysfunction behind their obsession with serial killers. Having fled her family’s house on a remote island over 6 years ago, Dahlia Lighthouse returns home for her father’s funeral. However, she is really returning with the hope that her twin brother, Andy, who fled the island when he was 16, will return home. While preparing her father’s grave, the family’s caretaker finds a body in his cemetery plot. A mystery surrounds the body, and in the investigation to find the killer, deep, dark family secrets are exposed. The Lighthouse family is odd. Their fellow islanders dubbed the Lighthouse family home “the murder mansion.” Dahlia’s mother’s parents were murdered, and her mother named each one of her four children after serial killers or relatives of the killers. The children were raised in isolation. They were homeschooled, and their homework involved performing honoring rituals for the victims of serial killers and writing murder reports. The premise is intriguing, and I enjoyed reading about this odd family in the beginning, but once the weirdness faded into the background, I grew a little bored with these people. The plot stalls in the middle, and the ending was anticlimactic. Narrated solely by Dahlia, I would have liked to have some other voices mixed in. There are two mysteries: One surrounding the identity of the Blackburn Island serial killer, the other surrounding the body found in Dahlia’s father’s grave. I figured out one mystery early on and guessed the other. I wish both had been less obvious. There are some positives, which caused me to bump up my star rating. The premise is intriguing, Dahlia is a likable narrator, and I liked Megan Collins’ writing style. However, I wanted more of the oddities and the weirdness--if you are going to go there, GO there. In this case, the weirdness was just a mask used to cover up secrets and deter one from seeing the truth. The reader, however, can see right through to what’s really happening, which left this reader a little bored. I received an ARC of this book from Isabel DaSilva and Edelweiss plus in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    The Family Plot by Megan Collins is a 2021 Atria Books publication. The only way out is to never come back…. To say Dahlia Lighthouse had an unconventional childhood is a massive understatement. She and her siblings, including her twin, Andy, were homeschooled by parents obsessed with true crime. Along with geography they were taught about famous serial killers and their victims. On Dahlia and Andy’s sixteenth birthday, Andy disappeared, leaving behind a cryptic note which implied he had left hom The Family Plot by Megan Collins is a 2021 Atria Books publication. The only way out is to never come back…. To say Dahlia Lighthouse had an unconventional childhood is a massive understatement. She and her siblings, including her twin, Andy, were homeschooled by parents obsessed with true crime. Along with geography they were taught about famous serial killers and their victims. On Dahlia and Andy’s sixteenth birthday, Andy disappeared, leaving behind a cryptic note which implied he had left home… possibly for good. For years Dahlia has stuck close to home while her remaining siblings spread out, just in case Andy ever returned home. When her father died, Dahlia and her siblings once more gather with their mother in the house they grew up in- only to make a horrifying discovery- one that answers some of their questions about Andy- but raises a plethora of other questions, about the Lighthouse family, their neighbors, local law enforcement, and the infamous serial killer dubbed ‘The Blackburn Killer’…. It is rare that a book leaves me speechless. I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. This is an odd- but imaginative thriller- certainly not what one normally encounters when reading mystery/thrillers. Despite that, I thought the story, insane as it was, was curiously addictive. I did pause to wonder if the set up was somewhat tongue in cheek due to the popularity of true crime right now- some of which is fairly extreme- as with True Crime conventions, etc. Still, the Lighthouse family takes it to an all new level of obsession. I thought the atmosphere was very creepy, and edgy and had a tiny bit of a Gothic tone to it, as well. I’m not sure this one will work for everyone, as it is a little bit out there- but I thought was a unique and when one reads as much crime fiction as I do, that’s always a big selling point for me. Overall, this turned out to be a surprising page turner for me. It was an easy, quick read for me- in part because it was dark, lurid, and creepy, and hypnotically engrossing. I just couldn’t bring myself to look away… 4 stars

  3. 5 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    Happy book birthday to one of the tensest, creepiest, eeriest thrillers of the year!🥳🎈🥂😱 Okaaay! I admired the creepy, blood freezing, dark, intense, claustrophobic premise of the book! And the psychological analysis of those true kind of batshit crazy, broken, traumatized family members’ dynamics was amazing! But the early revelation of the big twist killed my excitement and after that revelation everything turns into repetitive cycle which overshadowed the other semi bigger twist which is so ob Happy book birthday to one of the tensest, creepiest, eeriest thrillers of the year!🥳🎈🥂😱 Okaaay! I admired the creepy, blood freezing, dark, intense, claustrophobic premise of the book! And the psychological analysis of those true kind of batshit crazy, broken, traumatized family members’ dynamics was amazing! But the early revelation of the big twist killed my excitement and after that revelation everything turns into repetitive cycle which overshadowed the other semi bigger twist which is so obvious from the beginning and the conclusion of the story was semi satisfying with plot holes. Five starred, anticipated reading turned into something mediocre and meh read as soon as we reached the last third : I hope the author could write those parts or change the timing of revelations. The book promised a heart pounding, juicy, mind bending storyline with thrilling approach to the true insanity, deadly secrets, frightening dysfunctional family pattern! As soon as I was introduced with characters I was hooked and wanted to know more about this freaky family: the mother who recently lost her husband, traumatized because of her parents’ brutal killing, built a cocoon around her children to honor the victims who lost their lives violently. A mother who can prefer to read children chapters from Helter Skelter instead of fairy tales, named her children after victims’ names : the youngest daughter is Dahlia ( coming from Black Dahlia) and her bigger sister is Tate ( Manson’s victim , Polanski’s wife, Tarantino’s inspiration Shannon) Their father seemed quiet one, having reserved relations with girls, giving his full attention to his two boys Andy, Charlie to take them hunting trips, bringing house to more trophies! Four children lived with their parents at secluded mansion resembling funeral home with shrines for victims, deep in the woods,isolated from town, socially distanced from its people. After his sixteen birthday party Dahlia’s twin brother and her only friend Andy leaves the house with a note. All of the three children follow him to choose their paths at different places. But after 10 years passed, they are forced to return back to cuckoo’s nest for father’s sudden death. Dahlia never gives up to look for her brother who left the house without saying goodbye to her but their gathering for her father’s memorial result with gruesome revelation. There’s another body buried at their father’s reserved family plot. The body belongs to Andy! Dahlia gets shocked and blames herself for not seeing this coming. All those years she deceived herself that her brother is still out there living a good life. Her other family members are losing it completely: her mother turns into Betty Crocker, cooking 24/7 cookies at the kitchen with plastered smile on her face as Tate creating death brother’s diorama portraying his crime scene (actually that’s what she does for her life and she has so many followers on Instagram world) and Charlie dedicates himself creating a memorial family museum to share their inner world with outsiders! Detective Elijah who is the son of Chief Kraft who sneaks into their lives for years conducting vendetta against the family to put one of them behind the bars as suspect of Blackburn Killer! Now Elijah is so enthusiastic to connect Dahlia’s brother Andy’s murder with Blackburn Killer’s massacres! Could those brutal killings connect with her brother’s death or could the killer live in front of their eyes but they act so blind not to see it? Overall: I loved the insane family portraits and their extreme, unhealthy ways to deal with their dark, tragic lives. As I told before till the last third, the pacing, tension building was perfect but the last third was truly disappointing for me! I’m still rounding up 3.5 stars to 4 creepy, eerie, bleak, irritating stars for its impressive, promising story and remarkable characterization but i have to admit I was expecting more shocking, earth shattering conclusion! It could be better! Special thanks to NetGalley and Atria Books For Sharing this digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest opinions.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jayme

    Such a unique premise!! But, I didn’t care for the execution! Dahlia Lighthouse and her siblings were raised in a secluded mansion on Blackburn Island by parents who were obsessed by “true crime” stories. Each child has been named after the Victim of a famous serial killer. So, when a serial killer began claiming lives nearby, it didn’t disturb them at all. In fact, they home schooled their children-and the curriculum contained “true crime documentaries” murder reenactments and assignments calle Such a unique premise!! But, I didn’t care for the execution! Dahlia Lighthouse and her siblings were raised in a secluded mansion on Blackburn Island by parents who were obsessed by “true crime” stories. Each child has been named after the Victim of a famous serial killer. So, when a serial killer began claiming lives nearby, it didn’t disturb them at all. In fact, they home schooled their children-and the curriculum contained “true crime documentaries” murder reenactments and assignments called “murder reports” where the children would have to take the evidence and support a theory as to what had occurred. They would also participate in honorings, which were candlelight vigils to remember the lives of those lost. Dahlia hasn’t been home in ten years, but she has never stopped searching for her missing twin brother, learning how to navigate the web from her only friend, Greta, who runs the cafe below her rented apartment. Greta is obsessed with “The Blackburn Killer” from the nearby Island, where Dahlia grew up, and wonders if Andy’s disappearance could be related in some way. When Dahlia is called home to bury her father, a gruesome discovery is made-the body of Andy is discovered in the plot reserved for her father. They all thought he had CHOSEN to leave home on his sixteenth birthday, because of a note that had been left on the kitchen counter. We are TOLD all of this by Dahlia in chapter ONE!! And, at the halfway point in the book, the characters of Dahlia and her siblings had not been developed in any greater detail than they had been in the opening pages. The book is written in the first person POV and yet, I didn’t feel like I knew Dahlia at all. This story would have been far more suspenseful if it had been written in a dual timeline. IMAGINE instead of being TOLD everything about their childhood in chapter one if we could have EXPERIENCED the home schooling and Honoring ceremonies. IMAGINE a few “murder reports” written by the Lighthouse children, sprinkled in throughout the book? Now that would’ve been creepy!! Their upbringing is what makes this a unique premise and I wanted MORE of their childhood! That would have made for a more satisfying read than just staying in the PRESENT and finding out how Andy ended up in his father’s plot. It just wasn’t the haunting, atmospheric read that I was expecting. Available Now. Thank You to the Publisher for inviting me to read an early copy, gifted through NetGalley. It was my pleasure to provide a candid review!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Holly B

    Their creepy and their kooky Mysterious and spooky Their all together ooky The Lighthouse family *Lyrics from The Addams family theme song Yes! Strange and deranged and what a train wreck this was! I had to keep reading to find out more about this eccentric cast of weirdos! The narrator, Dahlia (named after the Black Dahlia) was raised with her 3 siblings in a secluded mansion, tucked away in the woods on a island. The gossipy islanders called it the "Murder Mansion" because of the families obsess Their creepy and their kooky Mysterious and spooky Their all together ooky The Lighthouse family *Lyrics from The Addams family theme song Yes! Strange and deranged and what a train wreck this was! I had to keep reading to find out more about this eccentric cast of weirdos! The narrator, Dahlia (named after the Black Dahlia) was raised with her 3 siblings in a secluded mansion, tucked away in the woods on a island. The gossipy islanders called it the "Murder Mansion" because of the families obsession with crime. The kids are all named after victims of crimes. All homeschooled with a curriculum including watching murder documentaries. Their mom turned their home into something resembling a mausoleum. When their father dies and they all return home for his funeral, more mayhem occurs and they are all having major meltdowns. The mother dives into a Martha Stewart role and continually bakes cookies, pouring flour and beating eggs in her little apron. She was quite the odd bird. While I couldn't put this one down, the last third seemed like a missed opportunity to really bring the story to an explosive conclusion. What I did enjoy was the odd characters and their weird ways. I also liked the fact that the story wasn't full of graphic violence and gore (less is more my speed)! Thanks to NG and the publisher for my early copy! OUT August 17, 2021

  6. 5 out of 5

    JanB

    With the first person POV it’s all tell, no show. I won’t waste anyone’s time by reiterating the premise. In the beginning I thought the author was engaging in a spoof of the true crime craze, and I was all in. But as I read it became clear that wasn’t the case. A creepy family can be fun or it can be disgusting. Sadly, this book falls into the latter category. * I received a digital copy via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Debra

    "A dysfunctional family is any family with more than one person in it." - Mary Karr Now that we have dysfunctional families out of the way, let's talk about the "unnatural ones". Jeepers Creepers. There are many positives to homeschooling, but lord have mercy, these parents took it to a whole new level - a lower, darker creepier level. When your home is referred to as the "Murder Mansion" you know you are not like other families. Just look at the children's names- all named after a murder "A dysfunctional family is any family with more than one person in it." - Mary Karr Now that we have dysfunctional families out of the way, let's talk about the "unnatural ones". Jeepers Creepers. There are many positives to homeschooling, but lord have mercy, these parents took it to a whole new level - a lower, darker creepier level. When your home is referred to as the "Murder Mansion" you know you are not like other families. Just look at the children's names- all named after a murder victim (the Black Dahlia, Charles Lindbergh, Jr., Sharon Tate, and Andrew Jackson Bordon - father of Lizzie Bordon) Seriously??? I thought our parents naming my sister after their first dog was bizarre but man this takes the cake!!! Dahlia Lighthouse and her siblings were raised in a very isolated and secluded mansion that locals referred to as the "Murder Manson". Their parents were true - crime aficionados, who am I kidding they were obsessed with murders especially their mother who re-created/performed murder reenactments for her children and had them write reports on murder victims (especially the seven women who were killed on their island) as part of their home schooling. It is no wonder that when her other siblings, Charlie and Tate left their island, when they were eighteen years of age. Dahlia's twin brother, Andy always wanted to run away with her, but Dahlia resisted. Then after their sixteenth birthday, Andy was gone, and a note was found which said: The only way out is to never come back . When their father dies, Dahlia, Charlie and Tate all come home and while preparing "The family plot" for their father's burial, Andy's body is found by their groundskeeper. The plot as they say thickens. What happened to Andy? Who would want him dead and why? Who buried him? So many questions, so many secrets, such a creepy family. Plus, everyone can't help but wonder if Andy might have been killed by the "Blackburn killer". You will need to read to learn more about that Serial killer.! Everyone deals with grief differently. This family is no exception. Their mother goes on a cookie making binge, Charlie is preparing the house to make it a family memorial museum, Tate who is popular on Instagram for her dioramas portraying crime scenes decides to do one of their brothers, Andy. Dahlia appears to be the most normal of the lot. She is disgusted by their behavior and struggles with learning that she didn't know her twin as much as she thought she did. With the police investigating, stress rises, and readers learn more about this highly unnatural family. This is going to be a polarizing book. I enjoyed it. I was drawn in by their highly bizarre and unnatural family. I couldn't help but picture the mother as looking like Frances Conroy (Six Feet Under and American Horror Story). This really played out like a movie in my mind. Speaking of which, I could see this being a movie directed by Wes Anderson. This one is original, kooky, and bizarre. Yet, I was intrigued and sucked into the plot. I found this to be a very fast read that kept me glued to the pages This book was atmospheric and I kept coming up with theories as to who killed Andy. There are some twists and turns at the end which kept me on my toes. For me this was a captivating read full of "interesting/creepy/strange” people. This is an odd one folks but for me an intriguing odd one. 3.5 stars Original, Dark, and atmospheric Thank you to Atria Books, Edelweiss and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own. Read more of my reviews at www.openbookposts.com

  8. 5 out of 5

    PamG

    The Family Plot by Megan Collins is a creepy, suspenseful, and gripping psychological thriller. The Lighthouse family has been obsessed with true crime. But when the father, Daniel, dies and the adult children come home to Blackburn Island for his funeral, another body is found in his grave plot. How did the parent’s idiosyncrasies and odd behaviors affect the children? Dahlia, the youngest daughter is now twenty-six and has been searching for her twin brother Andy for the last seven years. H The Family Plot by Megan Collins is a creepy, suspenseful, and gripping psychological thriller. The Lighthouse family has been obsessed with true crime. But when the father, Daniel, dies and the adult children come home to Blackburn Island for his funeral, another body is found in his grave plot. How did the parent’s idiosyncrasies and odd behaviors affect the children? Dahlia, the youngest daughter is now twenty-six and has been searching for her twin brother Andy for the last seven years. Her older brother and sister live together in New York. Charlie is an actor and Tate creates dioramas of true crimes and posts them online. All four children were named after people from well-publicized murders. Each of them has had trouble relating to other people after their upbringing. But secrets abound within the family and with some of those living on the island. The story starts out strong with explanations of the family’s history as well as that of the island. The plot was promising and the characterization was clever. This is a dark, twisted, and atmospheric tale of a troubled family. Surprises abound. Themes include loneliness, death, murder, trust, alcoholism, lies, secrets, and much more. My one quibble is with the ending which seemed a little rushed, but I was never bored, and there were a few surprises and twists along the way as well as some things that were a little too predictable. Those that enjoy crime novels and psychological thrillers will likely enjoy this novel. It was not a light read, but it was well written and atmospheric. Atria Books and Megan Collins provided a complimentary digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley. This is my honest review. Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way. Publication date is currently set for August 17, 2021.

  9. 5 out of 5

    megs_bookrack

    **2.5-stars** After Dahlia Lighthouse's father passes away, she returns to her family's isolated island mansion for his burial. She hasn't been there for many years and still struggles with the memories of her bizarre childhood. Weighing heaviest on her heart is the disappearance of her beloved twin brother, Andy, when they were 16-years old. It's assumed he ran away, but hasn't been seen, or heard from, since. For Dahlia, every moment on the island is a painful reminder of that loss. Reuniting wit **2.5-stars** After Dahlia Lighthouse's father passes away, she returns to her family's isolated island mansion for his burial. She hasn't been there for many years and still struggles with the memories of her bizarre childhood. Weighing heaviest on her heart is the disappearance of her beloved twin brother, Andy, when they were 16-years old. It's assumed he ran away, but hasn't been seen, or heard from, since. For Dahlia, every moment on the island is a painful reminder of that loss. Reuniting with her older siblings, Tate and Charlie, as well as with her Mom, feels surreal. She can barely interact with them at all. It's so awkward. As the narrative plods along, the truly odd nature of Dahlia and her sibling's upbringing comes to light. Her parents were unnaturally obsessed with murderers and their victims, even going so far as to include murder history within the curriculum of their home schooling. The serial killer who hunted on their very island, dubbed the Blackburn Killer, was of particular interest to them; performing peculiar memorial ceremonies to commemorate the victims on their birth and death days. It's no wonder Dahlia was hesitate to return to all of that. On the day they are set to bury her Dad in the family plot, they discover another body already in the ground. It appears to be Andy, dead due to blunt force trauma to the head. The suspected murder weapon, Andy's own axe, is found in the grave with him. If Andy didn't run away, what happened to him? Could he be yet another victim of the Blackburn Killer, even though he doesn't fit with the other victim profiles? Dahlia needs to get to the bottom of the mystery, even if it means unearthing a lot of other messy family secrets along the way. I'm not sure why this didn't really work for me. It has a lot of elements that I tend to enjoy, such as an isolated location, small town secrets, family drama, murder and adult characters returning to their hometown after an extended absence. However, I can't say there was ever a moment while reading that I was actually enjoying it. I'm sorry if that seems harsh, but it's true. I can see glimmers of a good story underneath, I know some Readers will enjoy it, but for me, it was too much. It felt like the author took everything dark and murderous she could think of, threw it at the page, and hoped something would stick. I didn't find it mysterious, or ominous. The atmosphere wasn't distinct enough. The reveals weren't surprising. They actually seemed rather obvious. I just didn't care and couldn't believe half of the decisions, choices and actions of any of the characters. It did read extremely quickly, so that's a thing. I think overall, perhaps this author's writing style just wasn't for me. This is my first book by Collins and I can't say I'm overly pumped to try anything else. Thank you to the publisher, Atria Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. Although this didn't work for me, I appreciate the opportunity to provide my opinion and I'm sure a lot of Readers will have fun with this story.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kaceey

    I’ve read about some bizarre families over the years, but HELLO…the Lighthouse family takes first prize! Delilah and her three siblings were raised on an island, far from the general population. Homeschooled, with the primary focus of their studies on what else…all things regarding serial killers and their victims! Including ceremonies to honor the dead. Yikes! How many credits is that course worth?🤔🤣 Returning to the island for her fathers’ funeral, Delilah is excited to be reunited with only on I’ve read about some bizarre families over the years, but HELLO…the Lighthouse family takes first prize! Delilah and her three siblings were raised on an island, far from the general population. Homeschooled, with the primary focus of their studies on what else…all things regarding serial killers and their victims! Including ceremonies to honor the dead. Yikes! How many credits is that course worth?🤔🤣 Returning to the island for her fathers’ funeral, Delilah is excited to be reunited with only one family member, her twin Andy. But this wouldn’t be the joyous homecoming she had in mind. The premise of this book sounded amazing and just a bit quirky (which I love). But it somehow missed the mark for me. I was left wanting more from the characters as well as the storyline. This was my second read by Megan Collins and though this book may have fallen just a bit short, I’m still looking forward to reading more from this author. A buddy read with Susanne. 🤓📚 Posted to: https://books-are-a-girls-best-friend... Thank you to Megan Rudloff at Atria Books for the arc via NetGalley.

  11. 5 out of 5

    James

    I found The Family Plot by Megan Collins on NetGalley recently. After noting that several friends and bloggers I know had picked the book up, I decided to give it a chance. Part thriller/suspense, part touch of horror, it rounded out my other reads for February and offered me a new author to get to know. I'm glad I downloaded it and would recommend the book to others. It has a wonderful sense of macabre and dangerous overtones but stops short of really going far into anything horrific. The Lighth I found The Family Plot by Megan Collins on NetGalley recently. After noting that several friends and bloggers I know had picked the book up, I decided to give it a chance. Part thriller/suspense, part touch of horror, it rounded out my other reads for February and offered me a new author to get to know. I'm glad I downloaded it and would recommend the book to others. It has a wonderful sense of macabre and dangerous overtones but stops short of really going far into anything horrific. The Lighthouse family consists of two parents and four children. Except two have died or gone missing recently. Dahlia returns home for her father's death, and instantly she's reminded of what she dealt with as a child growing up in the Murder Mansion. Her parents were major serial killer aficionados who named their children after famous serial killers / victims and recreated murders as part of a honoring to the past. Only this time, it seems the serial killer might be connected directly with her family--as either the killer himself/herself or that they are the newest victims. Which is it? This started off with a bang! The explanation of the family's and island's history was immensely strong. It drew me in and offered what I hoped would be a somewhat different storytelling approach. As the shocks came and wore off, it faltered a bit in the middle. A revealed truth about the mother's real history was either too lightly handled or intended to be bigger than it was. Too many holes were in her story for it to be true, and when we learn that it wasn't quite true, the suspense moment is a letdown. That said, it quickly picks itself up again and offers a trap door to the killer's secret lair. Only now, we see there are three possible new suspects. This helped the latter half shine much stronger. The writing quality is good, reachable. Not fluffy but not simple either. The characters are mostly intriguing, a few flat. I wish we got to know the mother much more, rather than from her baking episodes. She felt almost left behind instead of a matriarch with a true personality. Given the lies she told, you'd think she would've been stronger. Nonetheless, the neighbors, the friends, and the police... all rounded out the cast and made for a very enjoyable read. Given how it all comes together at the end, I will read more from the author, including checking out her past couple of books. I think this is a solid read, but you will have to just go with a few plot points that were necessary to the book yet pulled it down a bit. Kudos to the author for her ability to set a great scene, tho!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Will Byrnes

    My parents named me Dahlia, after the Black Dahlia—that actress whose body was cleaved in half, left in grass as sharp as scalpels, a permanent smile sliced onto her face—and when I first learned her story at four years old I assumed a knife would one day carve me up. -------------------------------------- I’m not looking for evil. I’m looking for answers. You know straight away that this one will be told with tongue firmly attached to cheek. The four siblings are all named after famous mur My parents named me Dahlia, after the Black Dahlia—that actress whose body was cleaved in half, left in grass as sharp as scalpels, a permanent smile sliced onto her face—and when I first learned her story at four years old I assumed a knife would one day carve me up. -------------------------------------- I’m not looking for evil. I’m looking for answers. You know straight away that this one will be told with tongue firmly attached to cheek. The four siblings are all named after famous murder victims. The Lighthouse family has seen quite a few lives dashed on the rocks, well, not personally, or well, maybe personally. That is the crux of the mystery. There is a never-caught serial murderer on the island, The Blackburn Killer, responsible, so people think, for the murders of seven women over two decades. The family is gathered on this wind-swept, rocky isle when father dies, mostly unlamented, a heart attack, ”Dad’s heart was a real bastard about it. took him out in two seconds flat. Pushed him face down in his venison stew…Mom had to wipe the meat off his cheeks before the paramedics came. It’s poetic really. Dad hunted so many deer in his lifetime, and in the end, he died on top of one. Seems almost…intentional, doesn’t it? Like his heart knew what he’d been up to and murdered him for it.” summoning the now-grown children (well, three out of four, anyway, as the fourth had left a note ten years back announcing he was leaving for good) back from their definitely-NOT-on-this island homes for his funeral and burial. But when the caretaker of the considerable grounds digs up dad’s assigned plot, he is surprised to find that it is already occupied. The missing brother, Andy, gone ten years, has been found. Oh, dear. Megan Collins - image from Wheaton College The whole thing stems from the title, which is not how I usually do my books at all. The title usually comes last, and I agonize over it. But I was working on something else, and I was trying to title that, and I asked my husband for some suggestions. And I said I want something that speaks to the family aspect of the book and he just threw out, “I don’t know, The Family Plot?” And I was like, no, that doesn’t work for this, but that is amazing as a title…that just rattled around in my head for a few days, until it was like a burst, that came to me, of a family that came together to bury one family member, only to find another member of the family in that grave. So then from there I thought well, what family would it be most interesting to see in that kind of story? It would be really interesting to see someone who, a family who was so interested in true crime that they built a library. And now they’re in the center of true crime story. - from the World of the Write interviewInterested understates it a bit, as the Lighthouse family, stemming from mom, is obsessed with true crime, so much so that the kids, who were home-schooled, studied famous murders. In place of the usual book reports they were charged with producing murder reports. There is a room in their large, creepy home, that is designated the Victim Room, as it holds the considerable collection of books and reports the family has amassed on the most notorious serial killers, and greatest murders, solved and unsolved, of all time. No wonder the locals refer to it as Murder Mansion. Our docent in this odd place is Dahlia, 26, returned (Dead leaves skitter around my feet as if welcoming me home - Yikes!) from the mainland where she has been living since she moved out at age 19, obsessed with finding her lost twin, Andy (named for Lizzie Borden’s father). The trust fund is how I manage the way I do—jobless, hunched over my laptop, scouring photos of any crowd on social media, looking for crinkly eyes, for the cowlick on the back of Andy’s head. She has always felt that she and Andy had a special twins bond and that, if he were dead, she would know it. Her older sibs have been holed up in New York City since they fled the island, as soon as they could. Charlie (named for the Lindbergh baby) is an actor who appears in off-Broadway, off-off-Broadway, and nowhere-at-all-near-Broadway productions, when he can get cast, and when he is sober. Tate (named for Sharon Tate) has an on-line following of 57,000 for her site @Die-orama, on which she produces miniature reproductions of famous crimes. We all do what we’ve gotta do to cope with what came before in our lives. Am I wrong? Tate continues coping by making a diorama of the finding of her brother’s body. Charlie plans to turn the house into a temporary display, The Lighthouse Memorial Museum, to show the Blackburn island residents that the Lighthouses are actual people, not some homicidal, Addams family knockoff. Even Mom (Lorraine) Lighthouse deflects actual emotional dealing into consistently failed attempts to bake cookies, a running joke. I just went and threw everything into it that I am obsessed with and that I love. I love true crime. Threw that in. I love secluded, dark little islands. Threw that in. I love mini things, so I had this diorama thing. I love these creepy mansions, so I had that. I went wild with all the things that excite me in the hope that if I am excited about them, hopefully it makes a good story, and other people will be into it. But yes, atmosphere, definitely tons of atmosphere… - from the World of the Write interview There is a fun supporting cast. A mysterious local girl (Ruby Decker) used to spy on the Lighthouse manse at night when Andy was still around. The local detective on the case is Elijah Kraft, who just happens to be the son of the detective who was in charge of the Blackburn Killer investigation back in the day. He had always been convinced that Daniel Lighthouse (the recently deceased dad) was the killer and junior seems determined to pin Andy’s killing on him as well. At the very least, pin it on some member of the family. We see him mostly while sparring with Dahlia. Fitz, the lifelong caretaker, does not always make it to the ferry for his nightly trip back to the mainland. Why is that? Greta, a friend, runs a café below Dahlia’s apartment, and shares the Lighthouse obsession with true crime, if not the family history. She stands in for the more typically obsessed true-crime aficionados in the world. I’ve never written plays, but it kinda felt like writing a play sometimes, thinking of like almost every scene in the book takes place in the house except for a few of them, so there is a kind of claustrophobic sense. And so the house really felt like a set to me that I was moving the characters around and now they’re the living room and what’s happening in there, and now they’re in the room that they call the victim room because it has all their books about true crime. - from the World of the Write interview She also gives us a taste of backwater mentality, and eagerness to believe the worst of people who are different. And the separation from humanity of many true-crime enthusiasts, fixated on details of murders to the exclusion of pain and suffering, the human experience of those personally impacted. Dahlia is an honest broker, well, mostly. She truly wants to find out who killed her beloved brother, and who the Blackburn Killer might be, even if it turns out to be family. There are twists aplenty, and swaths of atmospherics. Collins clearly had a lot of fun writing this book and it comes across. I did have one gripe. Are we really expected to believe that a family would construct an entire home-schooling curriculum around murders? It was a bit much to swallow. But if you are willing to suspend belief, and, yes, your honor, I confess to doing just that, The Family Plot is a delicious bit of mystery fluff, a fun, roller-coaster ride of a yarn. If you pick up The Family Plot looking for a very entertaining Summer read, you will be dead on. …the fact that their bodies were returned to our shore, spit onto sand instead of carried to another coast, is proof that the ocean wants us here, contained to Blackburn Island. Review posted – August 20, 2021 Publication date – August 17, 2021 I received an ARE of The Family Plot in return for crucial intel on an unsolved case. Thanks to Maudee at Atria. =============================EXTRA STUFF Links to the author’s personal, FB, Instagram, GR, and Twitter pages Interviews -----World of the Write Review - - video - 30:09 - by Kerry Schafer - if you have to choose only interview to check out, it would be this one. -----Player FM - A murderous chat with CT Author Megan Collins! - Renee DeNino - Audio - 16:30 -----Dead Darlings - Interview with Megan Collins, Author of Behind The Red Door by Susan Bernhard – 8/6/20 - this interview was done long before The Family Plot came along, but still has some interesting intel, such asMy instincts as a storyteller are to begin as close to the inciting incident as possible. By the end of the first chapter, I want some sort of bomb—big or small—to have been dropped on my characters, so that the reader has a sense of the stakes right away.-----Megan Collins: Author of The Winter Sister - also done before Collins’ latest book, but of value nonetheless Items of Interest from the author -----Crime Reads - What Scares a Thriller Writer - 8/4/20 -----Collins’ site - links to 22 other pieces The book site for The Family Plot lists gothic among its genres. It felt like it was close to that on reading, but not quite, so I resorted to this scorecard, which I used a bit more grandly in my review of While You Sleep. So, is it or isn’t it? Gothic Novel Scorecard Ticking off the gothic criteria 1 - setting - old mansion – check - secret passages - yep, and more 2 - atmosphere of mystery or suspense - you betcha 3 - ancient prophecy or legend - nothing supernatural here 4 - omens, portents, visions - well, portents maybe (no good tents, though) 5 - supernatural or otherwise inexplicable events - the deaths on the island - Andy’s demise 6 - high, overwrought emotion - for sure 7 - woman in distress - Dahlia - yep 8 - Women threatened by powerful, tyrannical male - murder vics, presumably - there is no living tyrannical male in this telling - and while The Blackburn Killer is assumed to be male, there is no certainty of the killer’s gender for most of the book. Frequent Gothic Elements Wind - always Rain - don’t really recall, so if it was there, it was not particularly memorable Doors on rusty hinges – I don’t think so, but maybe Eerie sounds - not really Character strapped in a room - no Approaching footsteps - yep Ruins of buildings - not really It may not tick off ALL the boxes that define Gothic novels, but it marks enough of them to matter. It is clear that while Collins worked from her notions and was not trying to craft a classic gothic novel, The Family Plot is certainly gothic enough to count.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea Humphrey

    DNF. This one started off strong but has lost me toward the middle. Will try to pick this one up at a later time, as I usually love the author's writing. *Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy. DNF. This one started off strong but has lost me toward the middle. Will try to pick this one up at a later time, as I usually love the author's writing. *Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Catherine Woodward

    **Many thanks to Edelweiss, Isabel DaSilva at Atria, and Megan Collins for a DRC of this book in exchange for an honest review! Now available as of 8.17!** Manson family, move over. There's a NEW family in town. Well...in this case, it IS an actual family (rather than a cult). But much like a cult they are all pariahs of their hometown for one reason...they are obsessed with murders. Mom has chosen to raise Delilah, Charlie, Andy, and Tate with a very unique curriculum, an 'education to die for': **Many thanks to Edelweiss, Isabel DaSilva at Atria, and Megan Collins for a DRC of this book in exchange for an honest review! Now available as of 8.17!** Manson family, move over. There's a NEW family in town. Well...in this case, it IS an actual family (rather than a cult). But much like a cult they are all pariahs of their hometown for one reason...they are obsessed with murders. Mom has chosen to raise Delilah, Charlie, Andy, and Tate with a very unique curriculum, an 'education to die for': the children are all named after famous victims of murder and the family participates in honoring these victims in rituals from time to time. To put a cap on their overall creepiness, the family lives in a huge Victorian mansion befitting of a gothic novel. Dahlia has returned to the island under tragic circumstances: her father has passed away. Tragedy is also what inspired her to leave, as her twin (and other half, at least in her mind) Andy has been missing since they were 16 with nothing but a cryptic note in his wake. While Dahlia's brother Charlie has immersed himself in New York City's drama scene and sister Tate has capitalized on her family's odd area of interest (via recreation dioramas she uploads to Instagram), once the siblings reunite, they begin to discover their childhood home holds far more murder and intrigue than they ever could have imagined...and when Charlie decides to open up the family home as a museum, the already skeptical eyes of the islanders are trained on the Lighthouse clan. Can Dahlia trust those in her inner circle...or is her family more entrenched in the world of murder and gore than she ever knew? And what exactly happened to Andy...did she ever TRULY know him at all? Megan Collins has found an interesting niche, and the genre benefits greatly from her quirky and unique ideas. None of her thrillers are formulaic or feel like anything I've read before. They all center around families that are more than just a bit off kilter, with big personalities (and interesting proclivities) aplenty! This always makes for a unique reading experience, as I never feel as though I quite know where the story is going or what to expect. While the Family Plot is brilliant as a concept, though, I felt like I missed so many of the layers I found in my last read from Collins, Behind the Red Door. Collins spent a LOT of time making sure we knew traits about characters (Charlie is overly snarky, Mom is starting to lose it, Tate is fixated on her dioramas and Instagram fame) that the plot itself almost took a backseat and seemed to drag on a bit. The red herrings that were tossed in weren't necessarily believable, and the conclusion seemed foregone to me by the time it was finally revealed. I kept hoping certain characters would shock me...but they didn't. Everyone played into their 'type' throughout, and where Behind the Red Door wound up to a crescendo at the end, this book fizzled a little bit. It almost seemed as though we were supposed to be gearing up for a happy ending for these characters, which considering their circumstances, seemed a bit off. The family dynamics here could have escalated and gone in a more dramatic direction, and for me, this is where the book could have gone from an offbeat suspense tale into thriller territory, which I think it needed. If we weren't going to get more of their past, it would've paid off to make the present more enticing to read! I appreciate Collins' ideas because they feel fresh and her writing is always solid, but this book left me a little bit underwhelmed by the time all was said and done. I am so grateful she continues to push the envelope and intrigue us though, and I hope her next book will go just that extra bit further to knock our socks off! 3⭐, rounded up to 3.5 for uniqueness alone!

  15. 4 out of 5

    JaymeO

    “The only way out is to never come back.” Dahlia Lighthouse had a very different childhood. She and her siblings grew up in a house nicknamed the murder mansion, where they were homeschooled by her mother. Instead of learning a traditional curriculum, they studied serial killers. Ironically, there is a serial killer on the loose on the remote island where they live. Ten years ago, Dahlia’s twin brother Andy disappeared. She has spent every day since trying to find him. When her father unexpectedl “The only way out is to never come back.” Dahlia Lighthouse had a very different childhood. She and her siblings grew up in a house nicknamed the murder mansion, where they were homeschooled by her mother. Instead of learning a traditional curriculum, they studied serial killers. Ironically, there is a serial killer on the loose on the remote island where they live. Ten years ago, Dahlia’s twin brother Andy disappeared. She has spent every day since trying to find him. When her father unexpectedly dies, she returns home to the family mansion for the funeral. When the family plot is being prepared for her father, Andy’s body is found buried beneath. Who killed Andy? Who is the Blackburn killer? This book started out with so much promise. I was immediately intrigued by a super original plot and Dahlia is a very likable narrator. Although completely ridiculous, I found myself immediately interested in this odd family. Collins does a fantastic job of making all of the characters suspects, but this story just lost steam and became repetitive at the halfway mark. I’m all for suspending my belief, but too much of this just didn’t make sense to me. 3/5 stars Thank you to Edelweiss, NetGalley, and Atria books for the ARC of The Family Plot by Megan Collins in exchange for an honest review.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Toni

    Bizarre, but entertaining.... Review to come.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Brenda ~Traveling Sister is frustrated with GR

    3.5 Stars I met some dysfunctional families in the many books I read, and none are quite like the Lighthouses. They are by far not your typical, twisted family; they take twisted to a new level. They are morbidly eccentric, obsessed with true crime, and now find themselves in the middle of a true-crime themselves. I loved the original premise here and found their obsession with true crime entertaining and creepy, and it complements the crime they find themselves in the middle of. Things become ev 3.5 Stars I met some dysfunctional families in the many books I read, and none are quite like the Lighthouses. They are by far not your typical, twisted family; they take twisted to a new level. They are morbidly eccentric, obsessed with true crime, and now find themselves in the middle of a true-crime themselves. I loved the original premise here and found their obsession with true crime entertaining and creepy, and it complements the crime they find themselves in the middle of. Things become even more intriguing as secrets they keep from each other start to come out in those turns to the story. The plot is well crafted with layered clues, some good red herring that threw me off and kept me guessing. The twists to the story are exciting but not shocking. However, near the end, instead of the exciting ending I was hoping for it teeter on falling off the rails. I held in there, but it was just too much to buy into and I did plenty of eye rolling as I finished the book. Sometimes I feel I am a little hard on books, and maybe I expect too much. That just might have been the case here. I received a copy from the publisher on Edelweiss

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kendall

    Welcome to the Lighthouse Family...... Bizarre takes the cake for the Lighthouse Family. All of the children are named after serial killers or victims associated with the killings. I mean I think about it and I'm a bit obsessed with murders... but damn haha. Dahlia was raised with her 3 siblings on a remote island in a mansion known as "Murder Mansion" due to the families obsession with crime and murder. All children were homeschooled watching documentaries on crime. When their father dies, all ch Welcome to the Lighthouse Family...... Bizarre takes the cake for the Lighthouse Family. All of the children are named after serial killers or victims associated with the killings. I mean I think about it and I'm a bit obsessed with murders... but damn haha. Dahlia was raised with her 3 siblings on a remote island in a mansion known as "Murder Mansion" due to the families obsession with crime and murder. All children were homeschooled watching documentaries on crime. When their father dies, all children return home and the train wreck of this family continues. I felt the last third of the book was a definite miss for me and could have finished with a bang of a conclusion. But, I loved this odd and creepy family! A truly wild, dark, and odd storyline that was pure fun. 3.5/5 stars Thank you to Atria and Megan Collins for my copy in exchange for an honest review. Pub date: 8/17/21 Published to GR: 8/15/21

  19. 4 out of 5

    DeAnn

    2.5 Obsessed with Death Stars (rounded up for the premise) The Lighthouse family is obsessed with death and true crime and grew up on Blackburn Island. Home schooled by their mother, the four children write death reports about gruesome murders and are even named for famous victims – Dahlia, Tate, Charlie, and Andy. Our narrator is Dahlia. Now in her twenties, she’s been on her own for a few years, but she still searches for her twin brother Andy. He disappeared on their 16th birthday and hasn’t be 2.5 Obsessed with Death Stars (rounded up for the premise) The Lighthouse family is obsessed with death and true crime and grew up on Blackburn Island. Home schooled by their mother, the four children write death reports about gruesome murders and are even named for famous victims – Dahlia, Tate, Charlie, and Andy. Our narrator is Dahlia. Now in her twenties, she’s been on her own for a few years, but she still searches for her twin brother Andy. He disappeared on their 16th birthday and hasn’t been seen since. Dahlia returns to the island for her father’s funeral. Secrets run thick on the island and with this family, including the never-solved murders of several women over the years. Even more gruesome is the discovery of a body in her now deceased father’s grave. The family reacts in odd ways and in fact I found all the characters to be somewhat one-dimensional and not realistic. I found the character development lacking. I really wanted to love this book. I have wanted to read this author for some time and this premise seemed perfect for a great read. It fell short for me in execution of a promising premise and flat characters that I never invested in. There’s was too much telling of the story. As my fellow book friend Jayme pointed out in her review, this could have really benefitted from a dual storyline and more experiencing the story. Other reviewers have loved this one, sadly it was not a fit for me. Thank you to Atria Books and NetGalley for the complimentary copy. This one is set to release 8.17.21.

  20. 4 out of 5

    MicheleReader

    Meet the Lighthouses of Blackburn Island, a family obsessed with murder and true crime. So much so that the four children were named after murder victims. Charlie, Tate and twins Dahlia and Andy were homeschooled with the focus on infamous crime cases more than anything else. In addition to the most notorious murders, they also spent time studying and memorializing the seven female victims of the unsolved, local murders by the serial killer dubbed, the Blackburn Killer. Once each Lighthouse chil Meet the Lighthouses of Blackburn Island, a family obsessed with murder and true crime. So much so that the four children were named after murder victims. Charlie, Tate and twins Dahlia and Andy were homeschooled with the focus on infamous crime cases more than anything else. In addition to the most notorious murders, they also spent time studying and memorializing the seven female victims of the unsolved, local murders by the serial killer dubbed, the Blackburn Killer. Once each Lighthouse child was of age, they left their odd home, with the exception of Andy, who disappeared after turning sixteen implying in a note that he had run away to escape the family. Twenty-six year old Dahlia has spent her adult life seeking her twin. When their father dies, Dahlia, Charlie and Tate come together for his burial. But as preparations are being made, they find that there is already a corpse in the grave. It is Andy. Once the news of the discovery of Andy’s remains gets out, it reaffirms why the locals call the Lighthouse home “Murder Mansion”. Who killed Andy? Was he another victim of the Blackburn Killer? Everyone in this creepy home and its surrounding area is now under suspicion. If this story sounds intriguing to you, then chances are you will enjoy The Family Plot, an inventive book filled with lots of strange people. It’s not for everyone. Author Megan Collins has created an eerie, dark place where secrets are uncovered. It’s a fast moving book which will keep you entertained. It makes the Addams Family look normal. Many thanks to Atria Books / Simon & Schuster, NetGalley and Edelweiss+ for the opportunity to read this chilling book in advance of its August 17, 2021 publication date. Review posted on MicheleReader.com.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Marialyce (absltmom, yaya)

    This was some large portion of bizarre wrapped up in three hundred twenty pages. The Family Plot succeeds in presenting the most screwed up family ever. The main character, Dahlia Lighthouse's , motivation for returning home after a six-year absence is so she can attend her father's funeral. Not much has changed, her former home was still referred to as the Murder Mansion, and the memorabilia, collected on murder victims was a treasure trove of the weird, the morbid, and the crazy. As if the hou This was some large portion of bizarre wrapped up in three hundred twenty pages. The Family Plot succeeds in presenting the most screwed up family ever. The main character, Dahlia Lighthouse's , motivation for returning home after a six-year absence is so she can attend her father's funeral. Not much has changed, her former home was still referred to as the Murder Mansion, and the memorabilia, collected on murder victims was a treasure trove of the weird, the morbid, and the crazy. As if the house wasn't bad enough, Dahlia's siblings and mother were certainly at the top of the insane list. Dearest Mom, had home-schooled the children in the scariness of life, with murder as their main focus. She supposedly lost to her parents to murder, and wanted her kids to be well aware that they could be next. She even went to the point of assigning them book reports of the various crimes that had captured attention especially one, a local serial killer, who preyed on young women and then dressed them in a blue dress after the dastardly deed was done. That killer seemed to have vanished as the killings had ceased. However, the family held yearly rituals honoring the victims of serial killers by first naming their kids after victims, and performing honoring ceremonies for the dead. They were quite a crew! It was beyond insane and honestly one kid was creepier than the other. The children formed this maniacal bond, the two oldest and Dahlia with her twin brother. This bond had a huge deranged aspect to it, and really creeped me out. At any rate, before attending the funeral of the father, the bones of someone are discovered in the soon to be resting place of the father, and the mystery is afoot on the who, what, and how. I will say in the arena of strangeness and unhinged behaviors, this story was right up there. However, for me, it missed the mark as the wacky actions of the entire crew made me wonder if this was possibly satire. It wasn't and I ended up disappointed and thinking I could have read something better in the time I spent fathoming the intent of this book. This story was a tad (?) too demented and deranged for this reader. Thank you to Megan Collins, Atria, and NetGalley for a copy of this recently published story.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Katie B

    3.5 stars I loved the setup for this creepy and bizarre mystery. And while I enjoyed reading this one, things get a little too crazy towards the end. Even though I was somewhat disappointed with the big reveal, I liked the message the author weaved into the story giving it more depth than the average mystery. Dahlia Lighthouse and her siblings had an unusual upbringing. They lived in a secluded island mansion and their parents had an obsession with true crime. A few years after the disappearance o 3.5 stars I loved the setup for this creepy and bizarre mystery. And while I enjoyed reading this one, things get a little too crazy towards the end. Even though I was somewhat disappointed with the big reveal, I liked the message the author weaved into the story giving it more depth than the average mystery. Dahlia Lighthouse and her siblings had an unusual upbringing. They lived in a secluded island mansion and their parents had an obsession with true crime. A few years after the disappearance of her twin brother, Andy, Dahlia left town. Now at the age of twenty-six, she has returned to the mansion due to the death of her father. With the memorial plans underway, they discover the burial spot they had picked for their father actually has another resident. Remember, how I mentioned Andy had gone missing? Well, they finally found him! Yeah, his dead body, with an axe in his skull is in the burial plot. You got to read the book if you want the answers to that whole thing. You can't help but feel for Dahlia as she really got robbed of a normal childhood. Having to write murder reports as part of your homeschool education? There's basically two mysteries for the price of one in this story as you have Andy's death and the unknown island serial killer. If you are a frequent reader of this genre, you know the two storylines might be connected or they might not have anything to do with one another. With this book, I didn't ever feel too confident I knew where the author was going with the story because every character raised my suspicions. When the author lays everything out on the table, I had some mixed feelings. One issue for me was I had read a similar type ending in a different book not too long ago. So it wasn't as shocking for me as it may be for other readers. When you finally get all the answers it's just not very satisfying either. On the positive side, I liked certain aspects of the last few chapters as it's basically when you get a better understanding of many of the characters. Thank you to Atria Books for providing me with an advance copy! All thoughts expressed are my honest opinion.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Susanne Strong

    Review posted to blog: https://books-are-a-girls-best-friend... A Family’s Obsession with True Crime Hits Home for the Lighthouse family when the body of their missing brother is found in the most obscure place. Their father’s burial plot. Even stranger is that each child has been named after a famous serial killer or relatives thereto. All kids were homeschooled and raised in isolation.. which may be why, when one went missing, no one thought anything of it. Tsk, tsk, girls and boys. Makes you thi Review posted to blog: https://books-are-a-girls-best-friend... A Family’s Obsession with True Crime Hits Home for the Lighthouse family when the body of their missing brother is found in the most obscure place. Their father’s burial plot. Even stranger is that each child has been named after a famous serial killer or relatives thereto. All kids were homeschooled and raised in isolation.. which may be why, when one went missing, no one thought anything of it. Tsk, tsk, girls and boys. Makes you think this family took up the wrong hobby all this time doesn’t it? I mean, their pastimes were just a tad off-color, and given everything this family went through, I think knitting might have been a better choice, but that’s just me. A truly creepy, weird, and wild read, The Family Plot delves into the truly abstruse which I simply just went with. While I figured out the mysteries fairly early on, I still enjoyed the novel and look forward to seeing what Megan Collins comes out with next. A buddy read with Kaceey. Thank you to Megan Rudloff at Atria for the arc via NetGalley. #blogtour #bookbloggers

  24. 5 out of 5

    Christina McDonald

    A dysfunctional, true-crime obsessed family, a long-missing brother, a serial killer, and a secluded island mansion filled with murder memorabilia: how could it get any better? Megan Collin shines in this absorbingly atmospheric tale filled with a magnificent sense of macabre. After a decade away, Dahlia returns home when her father dies. But when her family goes to bury him, they instead find the body of her twin brother Andy, who went missing when she was 16. And buried in the back of his head A dysfunctional, true-crime obsessed family, a long-missing brother, a serial killer, and a secluded island mansion filled with murder memorabilia: how could it get any better? Megan Collin shines in this absorbingly atmospheric tale filled with a magnificent sense of macabre. After a decade away, Dahlia returns home when her father dies. But when her family goes to bury him, they instead find the body of her twin brother Andy, who went missing when she was 16. And buried in the back of his head is an ax. Grappling with her own grief, Dahlia also realizes the only way forward is to find out what happened to her twin. An exquisitely written thriller with twisted family dynamics and dark, deadly secrets. You won’t want to miss this one!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

    The Family Plot by Megan Collins is a psychological thriller about a rather unique family. The Lighthouse family’s matriarch is obsessed with honoring the victims of serial killers, so much so that it was to the point the children in the family were named after famous victims. Dahlia and her siblings grew up cut off from their neighbors on the remote island where her family lived. Each of the kids had their plans made early in life to escape the island and their serial killer obsessed parents. Ho The Family Plot by Megan Collins is a psychological thriller about a rather unique family. The Lighthouse family’s matriarch is obsessed with honoring the victims of serial killers, so much so that it was to the point the children in the family were named after famous victims. Dahlia and her siblings grew up cut off from their neighbors on the remote island where her family lived. Each of the kids had their plans made early in life to escape the island and their serial killer obsessed parents. However, Dahlia’s twin brother seemed to have left the island early never to contact the family again only leaving a note in his absence. When the patriarch of the Lighthouse family passes away Dahlia and her other siblings minus her twin head back home for the funeral of their father. As the family plot is opened for their father though a body is found already in the grave. It seems Dahlia’s twin never did make it off the island and now ten years later she needs to know who killed him and why. The Family Plot began with such a creepy, gothic feel to the story that I couldn’t help but be pulled in reading about this strange and somewhat disturbing family. That intensity though that I felt in the beginning began to where off as the book went on as the middle seemed a bit repetitive and incredibly slow paced. There weren’t a lot of suspects involved either in the remote setting of the story for the outcome which may have led to the repetitive feeling during the middle. I didn’t mind how this one wrapped up but had so much of a meh feeling through most of the book that I was excited either so this one was just a so-so read for me. I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley. For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.com/

  26. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Plotting Along… The Family Plot centers around a reunion of sorts after the death of the Lighthouse family patriarch. Showcasing a bizarre nuclear family with children named after famous murder victims, one sibling was discovered in his father’s burial plot. Dead with the murder implement still embedded in his skull. That’s about as exciting as it gets. I wasn’t the best audience for this book. True Crime comprises a major subplot and my brain couldn’t grasp the adoration. I’m not a follower of th Plotting Along… The Family Plot centers around a reunion of sorts after the death of the Lighthouse family patriarch. Showcasing a bizarre nuclear family with children named after famous murder victims, one sibling was discovered in his father’s burial plot. Dead with the murder implement still embedded in his skull. That’s about as exciting as it gets. I wasn’t the best audience for this book. True Crime comprises a major subplot and my brain couldn’t grasp the adoration. I’m not a follower of the genre beyond the briefest of news articles and while I don’t bury my head in the sand, I don’t need or want the sensationalized details either. In addition, I had to smile at the misnomer ‘Lighthouse’ surname and wonder if the author intended this tongue in cheek. This group was anything but light and airy - they were so very strange. Was the book supposed to be campy? I was left with the feeling that I was missing something. It moved very slowly with the majority of “telling” and not much action. Some writers use this tactic with great effect, but here it didn’t work for me and I kept putting the book down for more engaging reads. I appreciate being invited to read this by the publisher and I wish I could have viewed it differently. Thank you to the author, publisher, and Edelweiss for my electronic review copy. Publish date August 17 2021.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mandy White (mandylovestoread)

    The Family Plot is dark, twisted and oh so creepy - and I could not put it down. Megan Collins has another hit on her hands with her new book. It ticks all the boxes: there is a serial killer a secluded mansion on a remote island a family obsessed with true crime, with the kids all named after murder victims a death in the family bringing them all back together a body where it shouldn't be no characters that can be trusted or believed. Right? Told from the point of view of Dahlia Lighthouse, we learn The Family Plot is dark, twisted and oh so creepy - and I could not put it down. Megan Collins has another hit on her hands with her new book. It ticks all the boxes: there is a serial killer a secluded mansion on a remote island a family obsessed with true crime, with the kids all named after murder victims a death in the family bringing them all back together a body where it shouldn't be no characters that can be trusted or believed. Right? Told from the point of view of Dahlia Lighthouse, we learn about the Lighthouse family and their love of true crime. But what happened to her brother all those years ago, he just disappeared and she can't believe that he would have left her without saying anything. But did she know his as well as she thought she did? There is so much to love about this book and you need to read it for yourself. It is an intense read with a unique story. Thanks to Atria and Edelweiss for my advanced copy of this book to read. Out in the world August 17th

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tammy

    Crazy good, and VERY disturbing. The setting takes place on Blackburn Island, made infamous by the Blackburn Killer, a serial killer never apprehended, also where the locals have nicknamed the Lighthouse family home, Murder Mansion. The Lighthouses are a hot mess. Obsessed with murder and true crime, all four children were named after famous murder victims. The children lived a very sheltered existence, with their homeschool studies consisting of classes based on true crime stories, murder docume Crazy good, and VERY disturbing. The setting takes place on Blackburn Island, made infamous by the Blackburn Killer, a serial killer never apprehended, also where the locals have nicknamed the Lighthouse family home, Murder Mansion. The Lighthouses are a hot mess. Obsessed with murder and true crime, all four children were named after famous murder victims. The children lived a very sheltered existence, with their homeschool studies consisting of classes based on true crime stories, murder documentaries, and reenacting the actual crimes. They also honor the victims of murder with a prayer ceremony. It’s all strange and creepy. Of the four children, Dahlia and Andy are younger twins. On their sixteenth birthday, Andy leaves with a note left behind saying—“the only way out is to never come back.” Dahlia doesn’t understand what Andy meant by it, until later. Ten years later, Dahlia had since moved off island, spending her time searching the internet for Andy. The remaining three siblings are brought back to the Island for their fathers funeral. When the gardener digs up their fathers burial plot, he finds a body already fills the grave. It’s Andy. The Family Plot, with its red herrings, dark dark WICKEDLY dark secrets, lies, and murderer(s) on the loose was absolutely chilling. If you like a mysterious and intriguing family-based thriller involving a serial killer, this is it. Is not for the faint of heart. *Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for kindly sharing a review copy with me. All opinions are my own.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    Wow what a dysfunctional family the Lighthouse family is! The story centers around the family coming together to bury the father, Daniel Lighthouse. The parents were obsessed with true crime and the children were home-schooled and taught a very unorthodox curriculum. Dahlia Lighthouse arrives at their Blackburn Island home after not seeing the family at all for years. When the grave is dug it is discovered there is already a body in it - Dahlia's twin brother, Andy, whose skull was split with an Wow what a dysfunctional family the Lighthouse family is! The story centers around the family coming together to bury the father, Daniel Lighthouse. The parents were obsessed with true crime and the children were home-schooled and taught a very unorthodox curriculum. Dahlia Lighthouse arrives at their Blackburn Island home after not seeing the family at all for years. When the grave is dug it is discovered there is already a body in it - Dahlia's twin brother, Andy, whose skull was split with an axe. Her brother Charlie, an actor, and sister Tate, who creates dioramas of murder victims for social media, have already arrived after being away even longer than Dahlia. Some dark and horrifying secrets begin to be revealed and there are some surprises. This was one of those books I couldn't put down. It was absolutely fascinating reading about how this family functioned and their rituals and the horrible murders of young women by the Blackburn Island serial killer who had never been identified. The story is narrated solely by Dahlia who is weird herself, but more likeable than the rest of her family. The book kept my attention all the way through. Thanks to Atria Books through Netgalley for an advance copy. The book is to be published on August 17, 2021.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kezia Duah

    The beginning of this was great. I was immediately hooked into this story. I thought this was a bit predictable, but then the twists started to get more twisted and that is what I love to see. I could just imagine the betrayal the main character must have been feeling during many of the reveals. Overall this was pretty good. The ending could have been more fun though. Great job Collins!

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...