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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Family Plot

ISBN: 1982163844

Publisher: Atria Books

Publication Date: 08/17/2021

Format: Hardcover

My Rating: 5 Stars

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.

With her signature “spellbinding, poignant, and atmospheric” (Christina McDonald, USA TODAY bestselling author) storytelling, Megan Collins weaves a haunting and suspenseful tale filled with secrets that won’t remain buried.

with Megan


“A masterpiece of gothic suspense and horror, filled with dark family secrets and stunning twists. Not to be missed.”

—Michele Campbell, internationally bestselling author of It's Always the Husband

"Gorgeously wrought and deliciously creepy, The Family Plot is a twisted delight. Evocative prose and skillful misdirection propel the reader through the story, keeping them glued right up to the shocking conclusion. Perfect for true crime fans—and anyone looking for a gripping, vividly drawn suspense novel!"

—Kathleen Barber, author of Truth Be Told and Follow Me

"Megan Collins's best book yet! It's like Umbrella Academy meets Tana French. Dark, claustrophobic, and beautifully written with Collins's signature musical prose, The Family Plot mixes brilliant modern touches with timeless eerie details."

—Andrea Bartz, author of The Herd and We Were Never Here

"The Family Plot has one of the most original, twisted, genius storylines I've ever read. Megan Collins has created an astonishing, creepy suspense about escaping the bonds and betrayals of family. It's brilliant and bone-chilling, and you won't be able to look away for a second." —Samantha M. Bailey, internationally bestselling author of Woman on the Edge

"The Family Plot is true crime meets house of horrors with incredibly twisted & fascinating characters. All the complicated family dynamics and vivid writing you expect from a Megan Collins thriller, but with a true crime twist. I could not put it down!" —Vanessa Lillie, author of Little Voices and For the Best

"A gripping thriller with a gothic edge so sharp it's practically a switchblade, Megan Collins delivers a fiendish and compulsive read in The Family Plot. As the dark, murder-obsessed world of the Lighthouse Family unravels one deadly secret at a time — and the truth draws closer with each turned page — nothing will prepare you for Collins's shocking finale. Read this book. Now." —P. J. Vernon, author of Bath Haus and When You Find Me

“[A]tmospheric… Plausible suspects and complex characters match the well-crafted plot. This is an entertaining as well as chilling tale of family secrets, lies, and primordial fears.” —Publishers Weekly

My Review

Megan Collins returns following (The Red Door) with her latest Gothic psychological thriller —THE FAMILY PLOT. Atmospheric, dark, and chilling true crime addicts will find a lot to love here!

Meet the Lighthouse family. Charlie, Tate, Dahlia, and Andy are the children all named after famous murder victims. The eccentric parents honor the dead, and the mom homeschooled the children. The curriculum is also centered around true crimes.

This is one dark, crazy, weird and dysfunctional family with deadly secrets.

The mother required them to write their murder reports. Their creepy family home was located deep in the woods on an isolated Blackburn Island and dubbed the locals' "Murder Mansion."

All the kids cannot wait to leave the island when they were old enough. They have no friends, and everyone thinks the family is psycho as well as the officials.

Dahlia and Andy were twins. They were close, as were Charlie (oldest) and Tate. Their childhood was haunted. Their house was covered with photos of their murdered grandparents and other victims.

Andy disappeared on this sixteenth birthday, and Dahlia has spent her entire life searching for him with the help of her friend, Greta.

Now the grown children are all called home due to the death of their father. However, the gardener has discovered a body in the family plot! It has been seven years since Dahlia has set foot in this house.

The question is who the body is? What happened to Andy? Also, Andy also had a habit of carrying an ax and taking out his frustration on the trees when he was nervous or stressed. What does Andy's ax have to do with the body in the plot?

In addition, the Blackburn Killer (a serial killer) —a decade since he last struck. Has the killer returned? Being his twin, Dahlia would know if something happened to Andy.

THE FAMILY PLOT is one complex, wild, crazy, twisted, and haunted psychological thriller. True crime meets house of horrors.

From dark family secrets, lies, fears, tunnels, creepy setting, strange neighbors, the chilling family, sleuthing, and a decades-old serial killer plus, all the true-crime backdrops, and much more.

Vividly drawn, Collins dives deep into her characters (past and present), their relationships, and their secrets. Character-driven and plot-driven, readers will be glued to the pages to the explosive and shocking finale.

Stay tuned for An Elevator Ride with the Author, where we will go behind the book and the Author (Aug 17).

A special thank you to NetGalley and Atria Books for an advanced reading copy.


My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Pub Date: Aug 17, 2021

Check out the fascinating Elevator Ride interview with Author Megan Collins.


Megan Collins

About the Author

Megan Collins is the author of Behind the Red Door and The Winter Sister. She teaches creative writing in Connecticut, where she lives, and is the managing editor of 3Elements Review.

A poet and fiction writer, her work has appeared in many journals, including Off the Coast, Spillway, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and Rattle. Read More






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