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Death in the Family

(Shana Merchant #1)

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  73 ratings  ·  46 reviews
A storm-struck island. A blood-soaked bed. A missing man. Senior Investigator Shana Merchant believes it all adds up to a killer in their midst—and that murder is a family affair.

Thirteen months ago, former NYPD detective Shana Merchant barely survived being abducted by a serial killer. Now hoping to leave grisly murder cases behind, she's taken a job in her fiancé's
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published February 18th 2020 by Berkley
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Average rating 4.11  · 
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 ·  73 ratings  ·  46 reviews

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Miranda Reads
Dec 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Miranda by: Tucker
Shout out to Tucker - who suggested we buddy-read this one!

That muscle again. It slid beneath the surface of his skin like an eel in shallow water.
Former NYPD detective Shana Merchant took her position at Thousand Islands to escape the haunting events from thirteen months ago - where she was knocked down to a shell of her former self.

This sleepy little town was supposed to provide Shana a chance to heal - but then she and her new partner, Tim, get a call to the private Sinclair family
Nilufer Ozmekik
Nov 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is another early, surprising, twisty, riveting, dark, mind-bending, whodunit gift for me makes me sing Christmas Carol songs louder lalalalala!

In the beginning I was expecting I had a three stars, mostly four stars ordinary reading. A small town murder mystery with too much Christie vibes, dark and rainy atmosphere you may see at Norwegian dramas or Fincher movies(just remember bloody “Seven”, rain never stopped till the last scene.), investigators have different methods, coming from
Chelsea Humphrey
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Chelsea by: Berkley Publishing Group
"The beginning. Where was that exactly? Nowhere I wanted to take a stranger, even if he did smell nice. But maybe I could go back partway, just far enough to make him happy. Back to a limestone building on East Fifth Street, and a day that grabbed me by the throat and still hasn't let go."

Hear ye, hear ye, all my mystery loving friends of the Agatha Christie variety: this one's for you. I know that the subtle, slow paced mystery has taken a backseat to the flashy psychological thriller over the
Oct 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommended to Tucker by: Miranda Reads

Many thanks to Elisha at Berkley Publishing Group for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review
People with that kind of wealth often feel untouchable, and it’s a shock when they discover they’re not.

My original rating was four stars but I am dropping it to three stars because, even though the end was great, it simply wasn’t enough to make up for how numbingly dull it was in the first half.

So, what’s this book about?

On an island, a butler calls in a murder. Shana Merchant and her
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Feb 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Death in the Family is the start of an exciting, atmospheric, and entertaining new series. I was gripped from the opening paragraphs, and I could not put this book down. I needed something that would distract me completely, and this was it. More thoughts to come, but crime thriller fans- definitely check this one out.

I received a gifted copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Many of my reviews can be found on my blog: and instagram:
Katie B
Dec 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

I loved how this mystery took place in the Thousand Islands region as I lived there for a few years. It's always fun to read a book in which you are familiar with the setting. This one turned out to be a solid whodunit mystery and given it is the first book in the series I am curious to see where it goes from here.

Former NYPD detective Shana Merchant is hoping for a fresh start and moves to upstate New York with her fiance. Many wealthy families flock to their vacation homes in the
Nov 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Love, Love, LOVED. Review to Come.
Feb 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Tents, atmospheric, claustrophobic. This was a cleverly crafted locked room who done it. This is the first book in Tessa Wegert’s new crime thriller series and I have to say the series is off to a great start! Detective Shana Merchant has relocated to upstate New York after being kidnapped by a serial killer. She is still dealing with her demons and is grateful for her sleepy small-town surroundings. Then one stormy day she and her partner Tim receive a call out to a private island, someone has ...more
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was ok
I won this novel in a goodreads drawing.

There's a murder on a rich man's island, and a female detective, still recovering from being held captive by a serial killer, is in charge of securing the crime scene and hopefully finding the killer. There's a storm and back-up is not coming.

Didn't really do a lot for me. YMMV.
Wendy Walker
Sep 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Really intriguing and atmospheric mystery set in a place I actually visited when I was a young girl. The Thousand Islands are wild and I could picture every scene unfolding. Lots of twists and turns and a very captivating protagonist we will surely be seeing a lot of in future books within this series. A fantastic start!
Nov 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Many thanks to Berkley Publishing for this fast-paced, twisty-turny ARC!!

Picture being stranded on a tiny island that has just one residence, during a nor'easter, where every single person is a likely suspect in a murder, and without any Police back-up or CSIs. Whew! That is the situation Shana and her partner, Tim, find themselves in. With the first interview Shana conducted of the Sinclair family, I found myself saying to myself: "Aha! THAT is the murderer!" But then she kept interviewing the
Feb 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Calling all fans of Agatha Christie and Clue, Death in the Family is a classic murder mystery/whodunit wrought with a chilling atmosphere, suspense, secrets, and betrayal. While it doesn’t have the flashiness of psychological thrillers and the hanging off the edge of your seat while your heart beats uncontrollably in your chest, don’t let that deter you from the incredible writing that Wegert delivers.

Our female protagonist, former NYPD detective Shana Merchant, is broken. 13 months prior, she
Jan 28, 2020 rated it liked it
A proven plot with the perfectly imperfect characters and that special dark twist makes DEATH IN THE FAMILY by Tessa Wegert feel like Holmes and Watson should be showing up any moment. A man has gone missing on a private island owned by a wealthy family with far too many skeletons in their closets already. Enter the raging storm that leaves two detectives trapped amidst a bed-soaked bed, a family whose greatest attribute is their money, their greed, their ability to lie and their animosity ...more
This book was so in my wheelhouse that my opinion here should probably be taken with a pinch of salt. There are some core problems here (pacing is a bit off, the writing tone can be uneven, and there is one plot point that just plain doesn't make any sense), but I basically don't care about any of them, because this is just what I want from a contemporary isolated closed circle mystery-- can't escape big creepy house because of the weather. Body count rises. Convoluted relationships that come ...more
Many thanks to Netgalley for letting me take a gander at this...

Third times the charm!

First I wrote this insanely long rant about this book initially, posted it for all of five minutes, took it down. Then I wrote a new, shorter "sorry I'm being mean" version. Today I'm back AGAIN to try to succinctly (ha ha ha ha ha) get down my issues.

I realized that it can all more or less be summed up in the first sentence of the prologue. Just to give you a touch of context this is an Agathe Christieesque
Feb 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
The mystery in Death in the Family was classic! A group of individuals, mostly related, are on an island where a grisly murder seems to have taken place. Mysteriously, there is no body but plenty of evidence. With a storm bearing down, the unfortunate group plus the two police officers who arrived at the scene become trapped on the island. As the storm rages the fear rises as it becomes clear that there is a killer lurking among them. Talk about a tension filled story where everyone was a ...more
Book of Secrets°ღ
Feb 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
DEATH IN THE FAMILY is a Christie-inspired mystery set on a remote private island in Upstate New York. Two local detectives are called to investigate a missing persons case at the home of a wealthy family. They arrive to find a bed covered in bloody sheets and eight potential suspects — some more cooperative than others. As a terrible storm begins to rage, the detectives find themselves trapped on this small island, possibly with a killer on the loose.

The mystery was intriguing and solid, and I
Isabel • The Crime Bookshelf

Thank you so much to Berkley Publishing for the gifted ARC of A DEATH IN THE FAMILY! I have been looking forward to reading this book for quite a while now because I am always on the lookout for more fantastic police procedurals. Unfortunately this one didn’t quite work out for me, but I definitely still enjoyed certain aspects of it

One thing I really liked about this book was that it featured a strong female lead I really enjoyed Shana’s character and I felt like I understood her and
Feb 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shana Merchant fascinates me. After reading this first book in the series, I am definitely down with reading more. The stakes are high. Two small-town law enforcement professionals take a boat to an island and are stranded there with the body count rising. On top of that, out heroine has a skeleton in her closet. How does her past abduction impact her competence in the present and her ability to move forward to the future. There are so many unknowns and her predicament becomes worse as the hours ...more
Donna Hines
This is one of those slow burns with an old mystery feel and a storm off to the horizon that's slowly brewing.
Now before you go grabbing the Folgers let me just say don't get too comfy because it soon explodes.
Where is Jasper? The snowstorm is blinding ...What is up with all this blood?
No, seriously spine tingling and chilling are simultaneous with this heart pounding action.
There has to be somebody in this inner circle involved with this wealthy Sinclair estate & this missing case that
Feb 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
I won an uncorrected proof of DEATH IN THE FAMILY by Tessa Wegert. Thank you to Berkley Publishing for the review copy! I had originally picked a book off my shelf to fulfill my reading challenge prompt to read a mystery, but it wound up being more thriller than mystery. Thankfully this book was the perfect fit for the mystery prompt.

In DEATH IN THE FAMILY we are following detective Shana Merchant. While working for the NYPD she was abducted by a serial killer, something that has left her
The Nerd Daily
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Marla Warren

The first description I read for Death in the Family included the concept that it would read like Olivia Benson (from Law and Order SVU) in an Agatha Christie novel. It sounded too good to be true, but it turned out to be a spot-on perfect description for this fun, exciting, twisty thriller!

We are introduced to Investigator Shana Merchant, who is suffering from PTSD after her interactions with a serial killer when she was a detective
Barb Lie
Feb 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Death in the Family by Tessa Wegert is the first book in her new Shana Merchant series. Death in the Family is an exciting mystery thriller. We meet our heroine, Shana Merchant, who has only been in this upstate New York town for about a year, after recovering from a kidnapping as a NYPD detective. She hoped that she would not have to get involved in high crime areas that she was used to. She and her partner, Tim Wellington are called to investigate a possible murder at an isolated private ...more
Christen Moore
Feb 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An escape to a private island is the ideal vacation for most. For the Sinclair family it has turned into their worst nightmare. In the Thousand Islands of Upstate New York, the Sinclair family has gathered to together to meet Jasper Sinclair’s new girlfriend. The family is based out of New York City where they are legendary for their fabric house in New York City’s world famous garment district. When the family wakes up one morning, Jasper has disappeared. His bed soaked in blood while his ...more
Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, suspense
"Death in the Family" is a suspenseful detective mystery. There were two mysteries: what happened in the serial killer case (which was slowly explained throughout the story, yet still left open-ended) and the case of the missing son. Shana was convinced that the missing son had been murdered, though she considered other ideas. Her partner for the case believed that murder was very unlikely (especially with no body), and his doubt combined with the past made Shana doubt herself. She fought her ...more
Jan 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways-print
Death in the Family is a typical whodunit sort of novel. You know: a rich family, a crime, lots of familial secrets, no one quite telling the truth, and one detective to figure it all out. However formulaic this book was, Wegert figured out a way to make this novel stand out.

The protagonist in the novel, Shana Merchant, is not an amateur detective by any means but she is flawed, unsure of herself, and emotional due to a traumatic past. I really enjoyed learning about Shana's past and seeing how
Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing

Thank you so much Berkley Pub for my free ARC of “Death in the Family” which releases on 2/18/20. This was just the book I needed!

When a wealthy young man goes missing on Tern Island during a gathering with family, it is up to Shana Merchant and Tim Wellington to solve the case. The mystery taking place in this book was so good! This book gave me MAJOR Agatha Christie vibes and I was loving it! I really enjoyed reading each chapter as secrets were uncovered about each family member.
Feb 18, 2020 rated it liked it
A BIG thanks to Berkley Prime Crime!

There was so much about this mystery I liked. A group of people stranded on a private island. A storm prevents anyone from coming or going in the wind, high waves and sheeting rain. What an atmosphere! And! Most of these people are related. Dysfunctional family! However, the profanity was terrible. And! This is a mystery for adults. There are some very messy people in this mystery and an extremely messy crime scene.

But this book really captured my attention
Michelle McFarland
Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-reads
Death In The Family takes place in a sleepy hometown in the Thousand Islands region of up- state New York. The main point of view in this book is told by Shana a senior Investigator with skeletons in her closet from her former NYPD detective days. When a man goes missing on the island and presumed dead, she and her partner are called down to investigate what happened to Jasper and to investigate the 8 remaining guest in the remote island.

I really enjoyed this novel. I thought it did a great job
Jan 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent murder mystery with an amazing cast of characters.
It keeps you guessing until the end.
There a Christie-esque feel, along with a touch of Clue.

Thirteen months earlier NYPD detective Shana Merchant barley escapes being held hostage by a serial killer.
Now she is a BCI investigator for the NY State Police in the sleepy village of Alexandria Bay, that is on the St. Lawrence River.
One day, during the beginning of a nor'easter, get a missing person call. The young man is nowhere to
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