The author of The End of Her returns with this novel about the Mertons, a wealthy couple brutally murdered the night after a holiday dinner with their three adult kids. Each one stands to inherit millions and have bad memories of their capricious father and neglectful mother. But perhaps one of them is more disturbed than anyone knew.
... a not-to-b- missed read ... The author does a nice job of showing how basic investigative work begins to unravel the Merton siblings’ alibis. She also does a great job of slowly peeling away the layers of their personalities so that we get to know the real people beneath the sympathetic facades ... Many thrillers are lauded for their twists and turns, and this book is no exception. Each new piece of information yanks us in a different direction. The fact that we have a plethora of possible killers is another factor that really drives up the suspense in the tale ... She weaves fantastically complicated, intricate personas out of our typical suburban characters. Not a Happy Family is a terrific read for anyone who loves the suburban thriller market or who enjoys character driven whodunits. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a good mystery.
The book gives readers the limited perspective of each character as they respond to the news of the murders ... Lapena’s narrative is purely descriptive and written with an almost clinical detachment that mirrors the bloodless and unfeeling responses by those who knew Fred and Sheila best. The Merton family is troubled, dysfunctional and more than 'not happy,' yet Lapena offers no real insight into their lives, content instead to drop readers into this moment of violence and paranoia. Not a Happy Family works well as a crime novel, and there are some fun surprises. Overall, Lapena has produced another engaging and entertaining read.
With her latest page-turning thriller...[Lapena] is once again at the top of her game ... Lapena does what she does best, so much so that trying to put the book down is futile Once you start reading, you won't want to stop. Whom do you believe? Whom do you suspect? Your own alliances will switch along with each of the family members'. With every clue, every lie exposed and every truth revealed, Lapena keeps the reader guessing right up to the very end. And once there, Lapena manages to leave us wanting even more.