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The Other Family


The Other Family

I know that whenever I pick up a new book by Wendy Corsi Staub, I am in for a well-plotted, smartly written novel with perhaps more than a few twists to trip me up along the way. I am pleased to report that her latest release, THE OTHER FAMILY, does not veer from that formula.

Lately, many mysteries and psychological suspense novels have chapters told from the perspectives of different characters, or they jump back and forth between various time periods. THE OTHER FAMILY employs both gimmicks and does so quite effectively, which keeps readers on their toes as there is much to follow and remember in this Pandora’s box of a novel. Staub chose to kick off the book with a quote from THE SHINING: “Monsters are real, and ghosts are real, too. They live inside us, and sometimes they win.” There are plenty of references to Stephen King’s classic horror novel here, and they all work perfectly.

"Wendy Corsi Staub does a superb job of keeping many balls in the air at the same time without dropping a single one. Not only do we get the promised twists, the book’s final line is a real jaw-dropper!"

Nora Howell has relocated temporarily with her family from sunny California to New York City for her husband Keith’s long-term work assignment. They are joined by their teen daughters, Stacey and Piper. Nora loves horticulture, so she pays close attention to the trees and plant life. The entire time she has the voice of someone named Teddy playing in her head, and readers initially have no idea who he is. We also are introduced to Jacob, a Brooklyn resident who for some reason has taken a highly obsessive interest in the newly arrived Howells --- especially Stacey.

The big secret that is not so secret is the history of the Brooklyn address the Howells have rented. Unfortunately for them, New York is one of those states that does not have to offer full disclosure through realtors about any tragedies that may have taken place at the properties that are being shown. That is the case here. Twenty-five years earlier, a young girl and her parents were brutally murdered inside the Howells’ new residence. Even worse, the killer or killers were never caught. Could this mysterious Jacob, who has planted himself on top of the shed across the way from the house on a nightly basis, have played some role in the slayings?

One of the neighbors’ kids, Lennon, takes an instant shine to Stacey. He also has a bit of a dark side, likes to quote from THE SHINING, and knows all about the murders that took place at 104 Glover Street. Stacey joins in this obsession, and they quickly become true-crime sleuths. Meanwhile, Nora digs up a strange box in the backyard while planting, which she decides to hide in the shed rather than share with Keith. Inside are photos and IDs of the murdered residents but with different names. Could they have been criminals or part of a witness security program?

As you’re reading THE OTHER FAMILY, there will be this constant gnawing in the back of your mind that something is not quite adding up. You will continue to be on the lookout for some clue as to where the revelation will come from that will shed light on exactly what is going on. To me, that is the definition of a top-notch work of psychological suspense.

Wendy Corsi Staub does a superb job of keeping many balls in the air at the same time without dropping a single one. Not only do we get the promised twists, the book’s final line is a real jaw-dropper!

Reviewed by Ray Palen on February 11, 2022

The Other Family
by Wendy Corsi Staub

  • Publication Date: February 8, 2022
  • Genres: Fiction, Psychological Suspense, Suspense
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 0063084600
  • ISBN-13: 9780063084605