Death in the Family

Genre: Mystery
Trope: Locked Room
Format: 📖
Pub Date: 2.18.2020
Star Rating: ☆☆☆☆


“A storm-struck island. A blood-soaked bed. A missing man. Senior Investigator Shana Merchant believes it all adds up to a killer in their midst—and that murder is a family affair.

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.”


“Only by living the lie can guilty people deliver believable accounts.”

I finally sat down and read the first book in the Shana Merchant series by Tessa Wegert. After finishing and having some time to think about the story, I see why so many people recommended it to me.

I loved the Agatha Christie vibes that Death in the Family gave me. It was a novel with A LOT of complex characters, but it fit the overall story well. I felt that if I let my mind wander, I would miss something important. Oh, btw, all those characters? I’m genuinely unsure if there is one I liked – they were all borderline crazy, and I wouldn’t have been sad to see them all locked up.

One big thing that I didn’t like was Tim. He started as a good guy; he sounded supportive of Shana and the decision that she was making, but then his character flipped, and he made a few misogynistic remarks? But then it seemed like his character returned to being the good guy. I’m still not 100% sure I didn’t miss something there, but I didn’t particularly appreciate that Shana tolerated his attitude.

Another aspect of the story that I liked was Shana’s flashbacks to what happened to her before this incident. There is SO much more to Shana’s story that Wegert hasn’t let her readers in on, and I’m eager to find out where she will lead us next.

🙅🏽‍♀️ Unlikeable characters
🔎 Agatha Christie vibes
👥 LOTS of people to keep track of
⏮ Flashbacks
🗣 Multiple perspectives
🕵🏽‍♀️ Police investigation

I’m so glad that Death in the Family ended with a cliffhanger — I can’t wait to read book two, three and four (which comes out soon).

🥣: Chocolate Smoothie Bowl

Format: 307 pages, paperback
Published: February 2020
ISBN 9780593097892 (ISBN10: 0593097890)

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