Murder in the Family by Cara Hunter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Murder in the Family by Cara Hunter - book review

I can’t remember the last time I read a book that I didn’t want to put down. This book was a thrilling joyride, told in a fiendishly clever and unusual way. I chose it as a holiday read, and was actually annoyed when the plane landed and I had to call a halt to my enjoyment. I picked it up at every opportunity and finished it within three days. By comparison, my second holiday book (while good) is still only at the quarter-finished mark.

The setup is that a Netflix-style streaming service has a successful ‘true crime’ show called infamous, and in its latest series, they’re investigating the unsolved 20-year old murder of Luke Ryder. The director of the show is Guy Howard, the stepson of the dead man.

Rather than tell the story in prose, where a first person gives us their account or a third person narrator curates what we’re told, we’re essentially given the ‘scripts’ from each of the 8 episodes in the show. Plus we get the press pack for each of the true crime investigators who appear on the show; and we’re privy to some of the emails that go back and forth between those involved in the making of Infamous, and the family who were affected by the murder.

It’s such a novel (no pun intended) idea, which changes the whole storytelling experience. A complete breath of fresh air. I’ve never read any of Cara Hunter’s other books, and chose this one based on the blurb. She is an exceptionally good writer. I’m still in awe of how she kept track of all the various plot threads and pulled them together. I’m also amazed at how convincing it was; it felt like a real event. She also made the characters leap off the page, without being able to use any of a writer’s usual tools to bring them alive.

I could go on for ages about all the things I liked about this book, and how clever it is, but to be honest you’re better off just finding out for yourself.

Brace yourself for an unusual reading experience and just go with it. I note how other readers said that reading it on a Kindle was a frustrating experience and I can certainly see how that would be the case, so probably best to do what I did and go for the old fashioned paperback.

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