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Not a Happy Family
Cover of Not a Happy Family
Not a Happy Family
A Novel
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AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER! Another thrilling domestic suspense novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Couple Next Door “Lapena is a master of manipulation. With...
AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER! Another thrilling domestic suspense novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Couple Next Door “Lapena is a master of manipulation. With...
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  • AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!
    Another thrilling domestic suspense novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Couple Next Door

    “Lapena is a master of manipulation. With her latest page-turning thriller… she is once again at the top of her game.” —USA Today

    “In this fast-paced, twisted family saga, Shari Lapena keeps you guessing until the very last page...” Paula Hawkins
    In this family, everyone is keeping secrets—even the dead.

    Brecken Hill in upstate New York is an expensive place to live. You have to be rich to have a house there, and Fred and Sheila Merton certainly are rich. But even all their money can't protect them when a killer comes to call. The Mertons are brutally murdered after a fraught Easter dinner with their three adult kids. Who, of course, are devastated.
     
    Or are they? They each stand to inherit millions. They were never a happy family, thanks to their vindictive father and neglectful mother, but perhaps one of the siblings is more disturbed than anyone knew. Did someone snap after that dreadful evening? Or did another person appear later that night with the worst of intentions? That must be what happened. After all, if one of the family were capable of something as gruesome as this, you'd know.
     
    Wouldn't you?

Excerpts-

  • From the cover

    1

     

    Twenty-four hours earlier

     

    Dan Merton shrugs on a navy blazer over an open-necked, pale-blue dress shirt and a smart pair of dark jeans. He studies himself critically in the full-length mirror in the bedroom.

     

    Behind him his wife, Lisa, says, "Are you okay?"

     

    He smiles wanly at her via the mirror. "Sure. Why wouldn't I be?"

     

    She turns away. He knows she doesn't relish the prospect of Easter dinner at his parents' house any more than he does. He turns around and looks at her-his pretty, brown-eyed girl. They've been married four years, and in that time there have been challenges. But she has stood by him, and he knows he's lucky to have her. She is his first experience of unconditional love. Unless you count the dogs.

     

    He tamps down a twinge of uneasiness. Their financial troubles are a source of stress, a constant subject of discussion. Lisa always talks him around, though, and makes him believe things will turn out all right-at least while she's still in the room. It's when she isn't there that the doubts creep in, the crippling anxiety.

     

    Lisa comes from hardy, middle-class stock-that was a strike against her from the outset, but he didn't care; his parents are snobs, but he is not-so she never had great expectations. When they met, she didn't even know who he was, because they didn't travel in the same circles.

     

    "She's the only one who will have him," he overheard his younger sister, Jenna, say to his older sister, Catherine, when they didn't know he could hear them.

     

    Perhaps that was true. But his marriage, at least, has been a success-they have all had to admit it. And his family has grown fond of Lisa in spite of themselves and their prejudices.

     

    "Are you going to try to talk to your father?" Lisa asks now, apprehension on her face.

     

    He averts his eyes, closing the closet door. "If the opportunity presents itself."

     

    He hates asking his father for money. But he really doesn't see that he has any other choice.

     

    Catherine Merton-she did not take her husband's surname-looks forward to Easter dinner at her parents' place every year. And all the other occasions when they gather to celebrate holidays at the lavish house in Brecken Hill. Her mother will get out the special plates and the silver, and there will be a huge bouquet of fresh-cut flowers on the formal dining table, and it will all make Catherine feel elegant and privileged. She is the firstborn, and favorite, child; they all know it. She is the high-functioning one, the only one their parents are actually proud of. A doctor-a dermatologist rather than a cardiac surgeon-but still, a doctor. Dan has been a bit of a disappointment. And Jenna-well, Jenna is Jenna.

     

    Catherine puts in a pearl earring and wonders what surprise Jenna might have in store for them today. Her little sister lives in a small, rented house on the outskirts of Aylesford and travels into New York City frequently to stay with friends. Her lifestyle is something of a mystery and causes their parents considerable distress. Dan says Jenna is out of control, but Catherine knows better. Jenna uses her lifestyle as a means of control. She has the power to shock and she doesn't mind using it. Jenna is certainly not well behaved, like Catherine. Not respectable or predictable. No, she is an outlier. When they were kids, she would do anything on a dare. Now, their father is always threatening to cut off Jenna's allowance, but they all know he won't do it because she'd move back home and they'd never be able...

About the Author-

  • Shari Lapena is the internationally bestselling author of the thrillers The Couple Next Door, A Stranger in the House, An Unwanted Guest, Someone We Know, The End of Her, and Not a Happy Family, which have all been New York Times and The Sunday Times (London) bestsellers. Her books have been sold in thirty-eight territories around the world. She lives in Toronto.

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