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Murder in the Family by Cara Hunter - Review

Thursday, February 23, 2023

I got this book from Harper Collins via Netgalley, so thank you very much to them for granting me access to it. I received an electronic copy of the book for review purposes but was not otherwise compensated for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

I've read all of Cara Hunter's previous books - reviewed here - and so far they've all concentrated on DI Adam Fawley and his team. I thought Murder in the Family was the next in the series, so was surprised when this started and it turns out to be a standalone! I'm not complaing though, Cara is an excellent writer and I was soon caught up in the story.

The book isn't told in prose, instead it's told in script. The idea is that the scripts form eight episodes of a TV show about an unsolved murder. We also get some viewer comments and some newspaper reviews of the show. But otherwise, we are in script mode, where several people keep revealing things about the murder. Everything is done very much to make good television, so there's lots of drama and cliffhangers for episodes to end on. I found it quite easy to read. I did think there were some errors, but I am assuming those will have been ironed out in the final edits. 

So, the mystery concerns Luke Ryder. He was 27ish, Australian, and married to a woman over a decade older than him. She, Caroline, had been previously married and has three children - Maura, Amelia, and Guy. Guy is the director of the TV show, wanting to shed some light on the tragedy that devastated his family. He was ten years old at the time of the murder. Luke was supposed to go out with his wife, Caroline, to a drinks party, and Guy's grandma was supposed to babysit. But Luke decided to babysit. Caroline took her daughters to the cinema, then went to the party. Caroline now has dementia so can't be interviewed. It's twenty years later and Guy is an acclaimed filmmaker. His sister Maura is interviewed, but Amelie isn't. There are copies of text messages between the two of them which prove they're hiding something. Maura came home from the cinema early, and she found the body. But what is she hiding?

Then it turns out there was someone arrested that night. A black man called Martin was found in the garden of the (massive) house and arrested as he had a small amount of drugs on him. Police thought he might have been dealing to Luke. He is now a journalist... and just happens to be one of the people on the TV show. 

The others include a lawyer, an ex Metropolitan police officer, who was involved in the original case, an ex USA police officer, and more. They're all pertinent to the investigation, in ways that are shown throughout in absolutely brilliant fashion. And is Luke Ryder even who he said he was...?

I enjoyed the book and read it quickly. I'm giving it four out of five.  

Murder in the Family will be published on the 6th of July 2023. 

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