top of page
Top of Blog





Books. Audiobooks. coffee..png
  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Family Game

ISBN: 978-0593158067

Publisher: Ballantine

Publication Date: 10/18/2022

Format: Hardcover

My Rating: 4 Stars

“A powerful family and a deadly game. Be prepared for a nail-biting, roller-coaster of a ride in Catherine Steadman’s classy and ingenious new thriller.”—B. A. Paris, New York Times bestselling author of Behind Closed Doors

A rich, eccentric family. A time-honored tradition. Or a lethal game of survival? One woman is about to find out if she has what it takes to join her husband’s family in this riveting, must-read thriller from the author of Something in the Water, Mr. Nobody, and The Disappearing Act.


1. Listen carefully

2. Do your research

3. Trust no one

4. Run for your life

Harriet Reed, a novelist on the brink of literary stardom, is newly engaged to Edward Holbeck, the heir of an extremely powerful family. And even though Edward has long tried to severe ties with them, news of the couple’s marital bliss has the Holbeck's inching back into their lives.

As Harriet is drawn into their lavish world, the family seems perfectly welcoming. So when Edward’s father, Robert, hands Harriet a tape of a book he’s been working on, she is desperate to listen.

But as she presses play, it’s clear that this isn’t just a novel. It’s a confession.

A confession to a grisly crime. A murder. And, suddenly, the game is in motion.

Feeling isolated and confused, Harriet must work out if this is part of a plan to test her loyalty. Or something far darker. What is it that Robert sees in her? Why give her the power to destroy everything?

This might be a game to the Holbeck family—but losing might still prove deadly.


My Review

Think "Succession" meets "Ready or Not" and "The Shining."

Catherine Steadman creates a dark, disturbing, and thrilling British family mystery where the author (Harriet Reed "Harry") is newly engaged to a thirty-something American man (Edward Holbeck) who is part of a bizarre elite wealthy family. Let the games begin when meeting Edward's family! A chilling Halloween read.

THE FAMILY GAME explores disturbing family secrets, power, and loyalty.

The novel is set between Thanksgiving, Krampusnacht, and Christmas. Oh, the Krampusnacht chapter— SPOOKY and spine-chilling!

About Krampusnacht (which I had to look up)

Celebrated on December 5 every year across Germany, European countries, and Australia. This holiday is becoming increasingly popular in America as well because it captures a little bit of the excitement and spookiness of Halloween right before the Christmas season. It occurs the night before the celebration of the Feast of St. Nicholas, a night when people dress up as the devil Krampus and chase naughty children through the streets. The children are told off by the Krampus and given bundles of 'ruten,' a cluster of twigs, so they don't forget the Krampus after he leaves.

So this is why it is perfect for this time of year.

Harry (Harriet) is a successful novelist, and her first novel sold over a million copies. She is engaged to Edward, the eldest son of a wealthy and elite family —a man she loves, with a baby on the way.

The Holbeck family is from old money —uber-RICH and high society. They are powerful, glamorous, influential, and among the world's wealthiest and most affluent families. They also like games with a strange set of traditions and SECRETS.

Harriet is nervous about meeting Edward's family, worried she may not live up to their expectations or be good enough. Harriet holds secrets about her past.

Edward, set to inherit the massive family fortune, resides in NY to build his own life away from his estranged family, but now with this engagement, he wants Harriet to meet his family.

Harriet thinks this is her chance for a family after losing hers. However, what she does not anticipate from this powerful uber-rich family is their sinister family games, and she may have to fight for her life.

When Harry meets the eccentric Holbeck's, she is gifted a mysterious cassette tape from Edward's father, Robert.

As she listens, her world is rocked by the tape's contents. It was supposed to be about a book Robert was writing. However, this isn't just a novel. It's a confession. A confession to a horrible crime. A murder.

Harriet is tenacious, continues to search for the truth, and seeks new information until Christmas at the Holbeck family's remote estate. Once the Christmas Eve family game is underway, Harry must work out the clues left by Robert before it's too late. Not just any game… Harry's secrets and her life are both on the line.

Harriet realizes she has no choice but to PLAY THE GAME —or suffer deadly consequences. After all, the Holbeck's aren't the only ones with secrets to protect.

Can Harriet and Edward's relationship survive his family?

Catherine Steadman has created a clever and unique psychological thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat with deadly cat-and-mouse deadly vibes. Harry is a likable protagonist, told from her POV. Highly entertaining, atmospheric, wacky, and suspenseful.

THE FAMILY GAME is an all-consuming diabolical thriller that will keep you on your toes. Readers will be dying to learn about Harriet's past and the Holbeck family secrets. Steadman's best yet!

For fans of Alice Feeney's Daisy Darker. Readers who enjoy family dramas, twisty, bizarre stories of the dysfunctional wealthy with tons of secrets and a single POV.

The audiobook was nicely done and narrated by the author for an engaging performance.

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

My Rating: 4 Stars

Pub Date: Oct 18, 2022


“A powerful family and a deadly game. Be prepared for a nail-biting, roller-coaster of a ride in Catherine Steadman’s classy and ingenious new thriller.” —B. A. Paris, New York Times bestselling author of Behind Closed Doors

“Stylish, riveting, hugely atmospheric.”

—Lucy Foley, New York Times bestselling author of The Guest List

“Thrilling and thought-provoking.”

—Riley Sager, New York Times bestselling author of Survive the Night

“[A] tricky psychological puzzle . . . It’s a joy to encounter a suspenseful book whose turns lurk, rather than lumber, around the corner.”

—The New York Times Book Review

“Twisty . . . highly imaginative . . . deliciously provocative.”

—The Washington Post

“Perfectly thrilling.”

—Vanity Fair

“Mesmerizing . . wildly imaginative . . . Suspense is peppered in all the right places.”

—Associated Press

About the Author

Catherine Steadman is an actress and author based in London. She has appeared in leading roles on British and American television as well as on stage in the West End, where she has been nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award. She grew up in the New Forest, Hampshire, and now lives in North London with her husband and daughter. Steadman’s first novel, Something in the Water, was a New York Times bestseller with rights sold in more than thirty territories. She is also the author of Mr. Nobody and The Disappearing Act. READ MORE

bottom of page