Not A Happy Family by Shari Lapena

In this family, everyone is keeping secrets – even the dead.
In the quiet, wealthy enclave of Brecken Hill, an older couple is brutally murdered hours after a tense Easter dinner with their three adult children. Who, of course, are devastated.

Or are they? They each stand to inherit millions. They were never a happy family, thanks to their vindictive father and neglectful mother, but perhaps one of them is more disturbed than anyone knew. Did someone snap after that dreadful evening? Or did another person appear later that night with the worst of intentions? That must be what happened. After all, if one of the family were capable of something as gruesome as this, you’d know.

Wouldn’t you?

My Thoughts


I have read several books by Shari Lapena and loved every single one of them, so the moment I had the opportunity to read this latest release of hers I simply could not refuse.

Within the pages of this book we find ourselves immersed in the lives of the members of the Merton family, a somewhat dysfunctional group of people. Fred and Sheila have three grown children, all of whom feel they have had a far from happy upbringing and been neglected by their parents.

They all agree to spend Easter Sunday together, something that to most families would be a happy occasion, so when Fred and Sheila are found dead the next morning, the last people the police would possibly consider looking at is their three devastated children. But as they begin to delve into the family and their relationships with one another, they realise that all three siblings have their own motives for harming their parents, but would they really be capable of committing such a crime?

I found this book utterly compelling from the moment I read the description. As soon as the story begins you are thrown in to the mystery of the murder and the devastating possibility of who could be responsible for such a crime. All three siblings we meet in this book have lived through their fair share of hardships, all of which have made them the people they are today – and to some extent, the ways in which their parents dismissed their feelings and needs throughout their childhood ultimately lead to their death years later.

The suspense grows with each passing chapter, keeping you fully invested until the very end. We are taken through several twists and turns as the story flits back to the lead up to the murder, all of which keep you guessing and often holding your breath as the anticipation builds. With a cast of well fleshes out, realistic characters that are given their own individual voices, this is certainly a book I would recommend everyone to read. An absolute page turner.

About the Author

Shari Lapena worked as a lawyer and as an English teacher before writing fiction. Her debut thriller, The Couple Next Door, was a global bestseller, the bestselling fiction title in the UK in 2017 and has been optioned for television. Her thrillers A Stranger in the House, An Unwanted Guest, Someone We Know and The End of Her were all Sunday Times and New York Times bestsellers

*Thank you to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours, Penguin Random House and Shari Lapena for providing me with a gifted copy of this book in return for my honest review. All thoughts are entirely my own and not influenced in any way.*

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