Not a Happy Family by Shari Lapena

How I Read It: Audiobook/Print

Dates Read: 10/11/21

How I Found It: Book of the Month

Trigger Warning: This book includes instances of murder, gore, manipulation, police investigation, poisoning, stalking, financial crime, and miscellaneous other crime. If any of these are triggers for you, please read at your own discretion.

The 3 children and their partners attend Easter dinner. When there, they learn that their parents are selling the house, which Catherine dreamed of inheriting. Their father also went on a tirade, belittling both Dan and Jenna as well. They storm out of the house, but each of them have a gnawing feeling over the day’s events. Days later, the parents are found brutally murdered, and none of the children have an alibi for Sunday night. As we follow the investigation, we have to ask what we would do for our family, would we ever cover up a crime for the people we love?

I like that we get bits and pieces of the motives and what could have been used for the murder bit by bit. It does really add to the mystery to have little hints that something important was kept from everyone, not just us. I personally found the Audrey storyline really annoying, but I think it would have been less annoying if she was actually the detective. I think following the detective in this story would have been really cool since they knew about as much as we did anyway.

I do like the psychological torture element for the partners. It does add a lot of ambiance to the mystery aspect of the story. I kinda wish that Jenna had a more established partner, since Jake always was a peripheral character.

Spoiler Alert: I will say that the murderer is pretty obvious in hindsight. It’s almost like we were so pushed towards the other two siblings that we almost ignored the murderer throughout the book. I almost wish the book led us to Rose as the killer since she was such a surprise. But I also see how she was used as a red herring, which was also a really cool idea. I think Ellen would also be a really cool killer in this case, too.

I think that this is a really cool story that definitely had me invested from the beginning. There are things that I wish happened that didn’t, but overall, I would give it a solid 4 out of 5 stars.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

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