Title: The Other Family by Wendy Corsi Staub
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: Contemporary, Domestic Mystery, Suspense
Length: 380 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss
New York Times bestselling author Wendy Corsi Staub makes her trade paperback debut with a fast-paced thriller in the vein of Lisa Jewell’s The Family Upstairs and Megan Collins’ The Winter Sister. Here, a family making a fresh start moves into a house which was the site of an unsolved triple homicide—and are watched by an unknown person…
The watcher sees who you are…and knows what you did.
It’s the perfect home for the perfect family: pretty Nora Howell, her handsome husband, their two teenage daughters, and lovable dog. As California transplants making a fresh start in Brooklyn, they expected to live in a shoebox, but the brownstone has a huge kitchen, lots of light, and a backyard. The catch: its previous residents were victims of a grisly triple homicide that remains unsolved.
Soon, peculiar things begin happening. The pug is nosing around like a bloodhound. Nora unearths a long-hidden rusty box in the flowerbed. Oldest daughter Stacey, obsessed with the family murdered in their house, pokes into the bloody past and becomes convinced that a stranger is watching the house. Watching them.
She’s right. But one of the Howells will recognize his face. Because one of them has a secret that will blindside the others with a truth that lies shockingly close to home—and to this one’s terrifying history.
The Other Family by Wendy Corsi Staub is a thrilling domestic mystery.
Nora Howell, husband Keith, daughters Stacey and Piper have just moved cross country from California to New York. Instead of a spacious home with lots of amenities, the family is moving into a historical brownstone. Seventeen-year-old Stacey is looking forward to a new beginning and she has high hopes for making friends. Fourteen-year-old Piper is bubbly and outgoing so neither Nora nor Keith is concerned about her. Keith works long hours so Nora devotes her time to gardening in their backyard. She makes a discovery that proves to be incredibly distracting even though she has made friends with neighbors Heather Tamura, her wife Jules and their two kids, Lennon and Courtney. Lennon and Stacey are soon hanging out together and Piper and Courtney become fast friends. The more Nora learns about the history of their temporary home, the more apprehensive she becomes. And Stacey is hiding her suspicion that someone is watching her. How long will it take fora long-held secret to be uncovered?
Nora and Keith have hit a rough patch in their twenty-year marriage. Both are hopeful the move will bring them closer together, but so far, things remain tense between them. Under other circumstances, Nora would be delighted with their newfound friends, but she is having trouble focusing on anything after finding out the tragic history of the rental house. Her distraction does not help her relationship with Keith and Nora is not as attentive to Piper or Stacey as she should be.
Stacey is an introvert but she is pleased with her friendship with Lennon. He is intense but they have a lot in common. Stacey is fascinated by the unsolved murders and previous owners of their house and so is Lennon. When their friendship turns into a romance, she is a little uneasy about how much time he wants to spend together. Stacey is also anxious about the person who is watching her and she is uncertain whom she can trust.
The Other Family is a suspense-laden domestic mystery. The plot is well-developed and the short chapters build the tension to a fever pitch. The characters are well-drawn with intriguing backstories. The chapters alternate between three different perspectives and each narrator’s reliability grows increasingly questionable. With a shocking dénouement, Wendy Corsi Staub brings this atmospheric mystery to an abrupt conclusion.