Murder in the Family by Cara Hunter
Published: Expected September 19, 2023 by William Morrow Paperbacks
The Plot (Goodreads):
A shocking thriller about a cold case, a fictional true crime series, and the family caught in the middle.
SIX EPISODES. ONE KILLER.
It was a case that gripped the nation. In December 2003, Luke Ryder, the stepfather of acclaimed filmmaker Guy Howard (then aged 10), was found dead in the garden of their suburban family home.
Luke Ryder’s murder has never been solved. Guy Howard’s mother and two half-sisters were in the house at the time of the murder–but all swear they saw nothing. Despite a high-profile police investigation and endless media attention, no suspect was ever charged.
But some murder cases are simply too big to forget…
Now comes the sensational new Netflix series Infamous, dedicated to investigating–and perhaps cracking–this famous cold case. The production team will re-examine testimony, re-interview witnesses, and once again scour the evidence. The family will speak. The key players will be reunited–on camera. The truth will come out.
Are you ready to see it?
How did Murder in the Family end?
Many thanks to Cara Hunter, HarperCollins, and William Morrow Books for gifting me this book – this has not affected my review in any way. This book gets a lot of props from me for trying something new. It is told entirely as scripts for the TV show, text messages, voicemails, reddit posts, and news articles. This was unique and honestly made me really want to watch a TV version of the book. That being said, I found this formatting challenging to get into, and it made it really difficult to keep all the characters straight. It was helpful that each character had a profile at the beginning of the book, but it was annoying to constantly flip back and forth. Unfortunately, this unique format forced the book to tell, not show. And that is a HUGE negative for me. I want to figure out the clues, not have them laid out for me in detail. The first twist was pretty obvious.
While I can’t say I exactly guessed the ending, I had a general feeling as to what kind of character might be the murderer. The book really tried to throw me off, and I enjoyed the twists and turns, but ultimately, it left something to be desired. The beginning of the book was challenging to get into, but I did enjoy it more by the end, once I was more used to the formatting and had a better memory of the many characters.
On the very first page, a news article reviewing the show after its release compares the TV Show to Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, this made me expect characters to start dropping like flies. I think this gave me a false expectation for the book, and while I think it was a good choice to not murder everyone involved, it did leave me confused and waiting for something that never came.
The best part of this book was the TV series angle – it was fascinating, and I really liked when we learned some of the behind the scenes information as well as when Nick’s twist was dropped.
I was willing to suspend reality for the TV show angle and related twists, but I struggled to suspend reality for the ending and some other aspects. What started as realistic got too close to far-fetched for me.
Unfortunately, this book had so many loose ends that were never wrapped up and it just left the book feeling unfinished.
If you’re looking for something unique and different, this is a good book to change up how mysteries and thrillers are written. But if you’re looking for a book that has a clean storyline and resolution, you may find that it leaves something to be desired. Some of the story is challenging to follow and there are just too many characters to keep straight.