“The Family Plot” is about the Lighthouse family, an unusual household, perhaps a little creepy, and certainly dysfunctional by typical standards. Their story unfolds from the perspective of Dahlia, named after the Black Dahlia. In fact, all the children are named after murder victims. Mrs. Lighthouse’s parents were murdered by home invaders, and the gun that killed them was their very own brand. The family does not think they are dark, but they certainly would describe themselves as unnatural.
The family lives on Blackburn Island, also the home of the notorious and unidentified Blackburn Killer. The children are home-schooled of course. Mrs. Lighthouse reenacts the murder of her parents, the brutality of it, to protect her children, because If they learn the horrors that others have experienced, they will recognize the same danger if it ever comes their way.
The story takes an unusual turn when Mr. Lighthouse dies; the family returns to Blackburn Island to prepare a “Lighthouse Memorial Museum” and lay him to rest in the family plot. Death stalks the family who spent a lifetime honoring those who died violent deaths, and as they prepare for the honoring ceremony, they find a body, unidentified and viciously murdered. Murder has been circling them for decades, and secrets from the past bring more shocks in the present.
The Lighthouse family dynamics make this a compelling novel. It is quick to read with “interesting” undercurrents. I received a review copy of “The Family Plot” from Megan Collins, Atria Books, and Simon & Schuster Publishers. It was quirky, peculiar, and certainly original.