Tessa Wegert | Death in the Family

death in the family tessa wegert

The Book: 

Death in the Family by Tessa Wegert, 2020 (Shana Merchant #1)

The Characters: 

Shana and her partner Tim
The Sinclair family

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Get it on Amazon | Bookshop.org


The Plot (from Goodreads):

Thirteen months ago, former NYPD detective Shana Merchant barely survived being abducted by a serial killer. Now hoping to leave grisly murder cases behind, she’s taken a job in her fiancé’s sleepy hometown in the Thousand Islands region of Upstate New York.

But as a nor’easter bears down on her new territory, Shana and fellow investigator Tim Wellington receive a call about a man missing on a private island. Shana and Tim travel to the isolated island owned by the wealthy Sinclair family to question the witnesses. They arrive to find blood on the scene and a house full of Sinclair family and friends on edge.

While Tim guesses they’re dealing with a runaway case, Shana is convinced that they have a murder on their hands. As the gale intensifies outside, she starts conducting interviews and discovers the Sinclairs and their guests are crawling with dark and dangerous secrets.

Trapped on the island by the raging storm with only Tim whose reliability is thrown into question, the increasingly restless suspects, and her own trauma-fueled flashbacks for company, Shana will have to trust the one person her abduction destroyed her faith in—herself. But time is ticking down, because if Shana’s right, a killer is in their midst and as the pressure mounts, so do the odds that they’ll strike again.

Click here for book spoilers for <em>Death in the Family</em>
Book spoilers ahead–if you haven’t yet read Death in the Family, I suggest you turn back now.

The Twist:

Philip Norton was actually Miles’s father and Jade’s grandfather. They were in on a scam together to kill Jasper and steal the family’s fortune before Bibi divorced Miles. They killed Jasper and Abby.

Carson was a crazy controlling psychopath, and Shana left him. We find out about the serial killer who kidnapped Shana, but the case is yet unsolved.

The Review: 

I adored this closed-room, Agatha Christie-style mystery. It takes place on a private island in the Thousand Islands region of New York, which I thought was the coolest setting. Shana, her partner Tim, and this family are trapped on this island due to a storm, and as they investigate the murder they begin to realize that the killer has to be one of them. The atmosphere really made this book. I felt like I was on this island with this family, in the cold and the rain.

Shana is clearly dealing with a lot of personal issues, which comes into play as she tries to solve this case. I wish we got to see more of Shana’s backstory and her relationship with her fiance. There seemed to be a lot more to Shana that we were missing, but since this is just the first book in a series I’m hoping the rest comes out as the series progresses. I can’t wait to learn more about her!

If you liked And Then There Were None and its other recent retellings, you’ll love Death in the Family. I’m looking forward to learning more about Shana in the next book, The Dead Season!

death in the family tessa wegert

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