Chelsea Humphrey's Reviews > Death in the Family

Death in the Family by Tessa Wegert
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
47207032
's review

it was amazing
bookshelves: from-publisher, favorites, recommended
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 past decade, but I am here to tell you that quality writing never goes out of style, and quality writing is precisely what I found in Tessa Wegert's Death in the Family. It's not in your face by promising "a twist that you most definitely will not see coming", and while our protagonist is flawed and working through some issues, she is not plagued by the rampant wave of alcoholic blackouts and wimpy stamina that brings about a whiny heroine. I've been begging for a strong female lead to become the norm in crime thrillers again, and this is a great start in what I'm sure will become a new favorite series of mine.

description

In Death in the Family, we are blessed with not one, but two cases of criminal behavior to work through. Right in the prologue, and also in the synopsis of the book, we are informed that Shana Merchant was abducted by a serial killer 13 months ago and somehow survived. This will likely be the continuing thread for the series, at least for a little while, and we do get bits and pieces of how she was abducted and her time spent with the killer; however, this one does leave a few questions unanswered. I felt this type of mini-cliffhanger was extremely well done, and not a put off but a way of enticing me to read the next book in the series. The second case, the present day crime, is a missing person who appears to be in grave danger, due to the amount of blood left in his bed. Shana and her partner, Tim, barely make it to the island, and realize that they will have to work the case alone due to the terrible storm surging around this island of wealth and privilege.

What I loved most about this book is the updated twist on the classic locked room mystery. It's by far my favorite crime fiction trope, partly due to the marriage of slow building suspense and established character development that it requires to be well done. While psychological thrillers tend to try and pull a trick from thin air in the hopes to shock you beyond your wildest dreams, this traditional tale takes the cast that is trapped on the island and convinces the reader that each character is as guilty, and as likely to be a culprit, as the next. I truly had no idea how this book would wrap up until the final reveal, and because the author did such a good job distributing equal amounts of shady behavior and transgressions amongst the cast, I didn't feel disappointed that there was no outrageous explantation that I hadn't thought of. This brilliant form of slow growing suspense allowed me to fully settle in to solve this case alongside Shana without my interest waning in the least.

Obviously Det. Merchant has some issues, what with being kidnapped by a serial killer and being held captive for roughly a week. I can't go into too many details surrounding this portion of the book, because spoilers, but suffice it to say that the growth arc that Shana develops over the length of the book is phenomenal. She makes a decision nearing the finale of the book involving her personal life that I applaud the author for choosing to write about; so few authors tend to portray a female successfully escaping an unhealthy relationship, and we need more of this! Themes like that, paired with a strong female friendship and developing trust with people after a traumatic event are also explored here, which makes my heart incredibly happy. Obviously there's a little nugget of WTF at the tail end of the story; otherwise, how would you be hooked to read the next book? Overall, I'm delighted that I picked up this book, and the sequel is automatically on my most anticipated list for whenever it gets published.

*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy.
141 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Death in the Family.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

January 6, 2020 – Shelved
January 18, 2020 – Started Reading
January 20, 2020 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-22 of 22 (22 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Carol (new)

Carol Sounds like it's going to be a good one Chelsea!


Chelsea Humphrey Carol wrote: "Sounds like it's going to be a good one Chelsea!"

Agreed!


message 3: by Saliha (new)

Saliha You forget me 😊


Chelsea Humphrey Saliha wrote: "You forget me 😊"

Sorry, love! I'm off to message you back!


message 5: by Susanne (new)

Susanne  Strong Yip! I have this one to read and I’m hoping your review is FANTSTICO (not that that’s a real word.. but you get my drift!).. lol.


Chelsea Humphrey Susanne wrote: "Yip! I have this one to read and I’m hoping your review is FANTSTICO (not that that’s a real word.. but you get my drift!).. lol."

Thank you so much!!! So far, I'm completely hooked. I had forgotten how much I love a mystery that has procedural and locked room elements! Very Agatha Christie, but will report back soon!


message 7: by Benjamin (new) - added it

Benjamin  Thomas Looks good.


message 8: by Nicole (new) - added it

Nicole Can’t wait to hear your thoughts! Been totally craving a murder mystery after watching knives out and reading lots of literary literature 😅


message 9: by Nicole (new) - added it

Nicole Literary fiction****


Chelsea Humphrey Nicole wrote: "Can’t wait to hear your thoughts! Been totally craving a murder mystery after watching knives out and reading lots of literary literature 😅"

Ah this would be perfect! It's a locked room (locked island?) mystery and a really great character driven suspense plot.

Benjamin wrote: "Looks good."

It had such a classic Agatha Christie feel to it!


message 11: by Michelle (new) - added it

Michelle This is a series right? If I read just this one, will I be satisfied, or is it a cliffhanger at the end?


Chelsea Humphrey Michelle wrote: "This is a series right? If I read just this one, will I be satisfied, or is it a cliffhanger at the end?"

It is a series! So the individual case in this installment is completely wrapped up, and there's the ongoing case involving the lead investigator's abduction 13 months prior. We get a good bit of detail here, but there is one string left open as to have somewhere for the series to go.


message 13: by Troy (new) - added it

Troy Ms. Humphrey I read a lot of reviews, I try to write some but I suck at it. Your reviews are like someone I am having coffee with, oops I am having coffee, and you are just telling me about the book you just read. Thanks


Dorie  - Cats&Books :) Great review, sounds very interesting, I'm adding it :)


Renee (itsbooktalk) Awesome review Chelsea, I hadn’t heard of this but now I must read it!!


Chelsea Humphrey Renee (itsbooktalk) wrote: "Awesome review Chelsea, I hadn’t heard of this but now I must read it!!"

Yay! I hope you love it, Renee, and happy reading!

Dorie - Cats&Books :) wrote: "Great review, sounds very interesting, I'm adding it :)"

I'm anxiously awaiting your thoughts! I hope you enjoy it! <3

Troy wrote: "Ms. Humphrey I read a lot of reviews, I try to write some but I suck at it. Your reviews are like someone I am having coffee with, oops I am having coffee, and you are just telling me about the boo..."

Troy this warms my heart! I love that my reviews feel like that for you. Thank you for making my day!


Dorie  - Cats&Books :) Chelsea wrote: "Renee (itsbooktalk) wrote: "Awesome review Chelsea, I hadn’t heard of this but now I must read it!!"

Yay! I hope you love it, Renee, and happy reading!

Dorie - Cats&Books :) wrote: "Great review,..."


Chelsea, isn't it wonderful when someone reads your review and makes a positive, nice comment :) How nice of Troy, that would make my day also :)


Chelsea Humphrey Dorie - Cats&Books :) wrote: "Chelsea wrote: "Renee (itsbooktalk) wrote: "Awesome review Chelsea, I hadn’t heard of this but now I must read it!!"

Yay! I hope you love it, Renee, and happy reading!

Dorie - Cats&Books :) wrote..."


So nice! I'm still tearing up! <3


message 19: by mrsboomreads (new) - added it

mrsboomreads This just arrived in my mailbox today and your review has me even more excited to read!


Chelsea Humphrey mrsboomreads wrote: "This just arrived in my mailbox today and your review has me even more excited to read!"

Ah yay! I can't wait to hear your thoughts on this one!!!


David - proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party Brilliant review once again, Chelsea! :D


Chelsea Humphrey David - proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party wrote: "Brilliant review once again, Chelsea! :D"

Thank you so much, Dave!


back to top