Monday, December 23, 2019

Disturbing and Depressing, New Psychological Thriller Also Engrossing and Enthralling

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Twenty-five years ago, police were called to London's posh Chelsea neighborhood to investigate suspicious circumstances at 16 Cheyne Walk.  Inside, they were shocked to find three dead bodies, killed in an apparent suicide pact.  The four children reported to live in the mansion were missing.  Upstairs, a cooing 10-month-old lay peacefully in her crib.  What happened to the home's owners, socialite Martina Lamb and her husband?  Why did they kill themselves?  Where are the children?  And why was the baby left behind?  With more questions than answers, the authorities have no idea what to think of the strange incident.

In the present, Libby Jones, a young woman who lives in a tiny flat in St. Albans and works at a kitchen design company, turns 25.  Adopted as a baby, she's always wondered who she really is.  When she receives a mysterious letter, Libby is stunned when she finally receives the answer.  Not only does she discover she's the baby left behind at 16 Cheyne Walk all those years ago, but she also learns she's inherited the residence, which is worth millions.  Taking ownership won't be easy, however, as Libby's not the only one who believes the mansion should be theirs.  As she tries to sort out all the intricacies of who she really is, exactly what she's inherited, and what actually happened on that fateful night 25 years ago, Libby will get shocking answers that will forever change her.

The Family Upstairs, the newest psychological/domestic thriller from Lisa Jewell, tells a compelling, can't-look-away story about secrets from the past coming to horrifying light in the present.  The novel is peopled with complex, intriguing characters.  Its plot twists and turns, painting an increasingly disturbing picture of a family in crisis.  Dark and distressing, The Family Upstairs isn't a light or happy read, but it's so engrossing that it's almost impossible to put down.  I sped through its pages, desperate to know what was going to happen next.  Although I didn't absolutely love the book, it definitely held me spellbound.  I liked it, though, depressing as it is.  Not all thrillers thrill me anymore, but this one kept me on the edge.  If you're into this sort of thing, give it a go.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for language, violence, sexual content, depictions of illegal drug use, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  I received an e-ARC of The Family Upstairs from the generous folks at Simon & Schuster via those at NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!

1 comment:

  1. I am reading mostly positive reviews for this one, but feel like I have a ton of thrillers already on my list/shelves so may not add this one.

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