Keep It in the Family (2022) by John Marrs

Publisher’s Book Synopsis:

Mia and Finn are busy turning a derelict house into their dream home when Mia unexpectedly falls pregnant. But just when they think the house is ready, Mia discovers a chilling message scored into a skirting board: I WILL SAVE THEM FROM THE ATTIC. Following the clue up into the eaves, the couple make a gruesome discovery: their dream home was once a house of horrors.

In the wake of their traumatic discovery, the baby arrives and Mia can’t shake her fixation with the monstrous crimes that happened right above them. Haunted by the terrible things she saw and desperate to find answers, her obsession pulls her ever further from her husband.

Secrecy shrouds the mystery of the attic, but when shards of a dark truth start to emerge, Mia realises the danger is terrifyingly present. She is prepared to do anything to protect her family—but is it already too late?

My Review:

How is this for a prologue teaser? “Everyone except their families soon forgets about a missing child. And me. I remember every one of them. Because I am the bait that lures them here.”

Twisty, unputdownable, entertaining, mixed media banger of a book. I absolutely love John Marrs, and he never fails to pull me right into his narrative and never disappoints. I open his books, suspend all disbelief in my body, sit back and enjoy the ride.

I find his narrative thrilling and compelling. His pacing is impeccable, and he executes the end-of-chapter cliffhanger so well I call it “to pull a John Marrs” when other authors do it. 

Just when you think the title will give it away, he surprises us with a couple and their families and another family later on… You get the gist. The web is cast wide. And as one would expect, every narrator is unreliable. I loved the effective use of mixed media entries to fill in the gaps and offer the reader a more neutral context. 

Even though the prose is compelling, the content is dark in all nuances that range from sad to disturbing. Keep it in the Family plays with how far one would go for and from family. Marrs always plays fair, and with the sinuous journey he lays for us, some readers might predict some of the twists. This doesn’t bother me at all. I read books for entertainment and look for well-developed characters I can see as real people, an atmosphere that makes my heart pump faster, and a satisfying ending guaranteed to put a smile on my face. I got all that on top of a tightly plotted fair play puzzle. 

I can’t wait for his next novel. 

Characters: 9

Plot: 10

Enjoyment: 10

Atmosphere: 10

Intrigue: 10

Writing / Execution: 10           

Fainess / Logic: 10

My total rating: 4.93

Disclaimer: Thanks to the publishers and NetGalley for the ARC in return for an honest review.

Until next book, be the hummingbird!

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