Review: The Family Plot by Megan Collins

☆☆➹⁀☆ 4 stars ➹⁀☆☆

About the Book:

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.

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.

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.

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/the-family-plot-by-megan-collins

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55711692-the-family-plot

My Thoughts:

The Family Plot by Megan Collins has nothing to do with “true crime” aside from some character names. Not being a “true crime” fan, that fact made me happy to continue reading. The Family Plot is a murder mystery with a dash of family drama. When I say family drama, I mean kooky, weird family stuff (think The Adams Family kind of kooky and creepy without the laughs).

The author’s portrayal of the Lighthouse family with the home-schooled kids named after serial killers and their annual homage to said serial killers’ victims is not only weird but smoke and mirrors. While we readers are busy trying to figure out what that nonsense is about, a bigger mystery is in need of investigating.

The story premise and execution are highly creative and original. The pace and story arc were good as well. I found it difficult to relate/empathize with any of the characters. Most were a bit off and few were absolutely dysfunctional. When one of the missing siblings is found in the patriarch’s grave, the family’s dysfunctionality goes off the rails. All but Dahlia, the narrator, are falling apart.
The book was engaging and I was highly interested in the mystery solution, however, telling of the story would have been greatly enhanced by a dual timeline with more experiential descriptions.

About the Author: Megan Collins is the author of THE FAMILY PLOT, BEHIND THE RED DOOR, and THE WINTER SISTER. She taught creative writing for many years, and she is the managing editor of 3Elements Review. A Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, her work has appeared in many print and online journals, including Off the Coast, Spillway, and Tinderbox Poetry Journal. She lives in Connecticut.

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