Author: Catherine Steadman
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Released: October 18, 2022
Received: Own (BOTM)
The Family Game was one of my recent BOTM choices, and I jumped on it because, well, I’m a sucker for thriller novels. Written by Catherine Steadman, this novel promises an eccentric family, traditions, and twisted games. What more could you ask for?
Harry is an up-and-coming author, with one book turning into an instant bestseller. With the second book in progress (sort of), it seemed like everything in Harry’s life couldn’t be more perfect. Then she met Edward, the love of her life.
Now the two are engaged to be married, and that means finally meeting his eccentric (and infamously rich) family. That would be intimidating enough on its own, if the family didn’t have a love of twisted games…
“A game is only a game if you do not fully understand it.”
So I went into The Family Game with pretty high expectations. I was hoping for a mix of domestic thriller and Most Dangerous Game. And that is what I got – yet I struggled to get into this one for some reason. Might it have been the mood I was in?
We have all heard of horrible in-law stories, but I’m pretty sure any story Harry tells will take the cake. This familiar setting is the perfect foundation, as Catherine Steadman stretches it to horrifying new limits.
I enjoyed two parts of this story: the mystery and the games. One could say that the two go hand-in-hand, but they feel distinct from one another. On the one hand, we have the mystery that Harry has been thrown into. On the other hand, we have family games, which serve as a dark reminder of what is at risk.
At the end of the day, I think The Family Game focused too much on family details (who is related to who & what their backstory is) and not enough on the more compelling parts of the story. I think a slightly tighter version of the novel would have been haunting! But still, I respect the potential The Family Game had, and I can’t wait to see what Catherine Steadman writes next.