ARC Review: The Family Game

Title: The Family Game

Author: Catherine Steadman

Genres: Adult, Thriller, Mystery

Rating: ★★★

Links: Goodreads | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Harriett has met the perfect man: Edward Holbeck. However, his family is less than perfect, and now that they’re engaged she has to meet them. Anyone would be nervous to meet their in-laws for the first time; they would hope to be accepted into the family. But most people’s in-laws are not the Holbecks. One of the richest families in the US, their name is synonymous with the Rockefellers and the Vanderbilts. Not only are they wealthy, but as Harriett quickly learns, they have a lot of secrets and they like to play games.

When Harriett meets Edward’s father for the first time, he gives her a cassette tape. When she listens to it, she is shocked by its contents. If the information on it is true, she may be in danger. But is it indeed a threat, or is it just another family game?

I thought this book was good, but it certainly had flaws. The most prominent flaw in my opinion was its pacing. The first 40% of this novel was pretty slow and uneventful, and I really had to motivate myself to stick with it. Beyond the 40% mark, the pace picked up and the main mystery element was finally presented, so I became more invested. By the end, however, the plot began to fly by so quickly that it was almost confusing. The final reveals were not enough to redeem my opinion of the ending–I didn’t find the main twist to be all that shocking and some of the explanations provided were hard to believe.

On the other hand, there were aspects I did really like. I found Harriett’s investigation of the information on the tape to be interesting. I also liked the concept of the games that were played. I enjoyed learning the lore surrounding Krampusnacht and thought the sinister twist to the Christmas Eve treasure hunt was unique.

Overall, I thought The Family Game had an intriguing concept, and it was a pretty fun read once the pacing picked up. However, I unfortunately don’t think it will leave much of a lasting impression on me. All in all, it was a solid 3 star read for me.


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