Book Review: ‘Murder in the Family’ by Cara Hunter

An Intriguing Cold Case Unveiled in Unique Narrative Style


Book Title: Murder in the Family
Author: Cara Hunter
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
Number of Pages: 400
ISBN: 978-0008530020
Date Published: July 25, 2023
Price: INR 408

Murder in the Family by Cara Hunter Book Cover

Book Review

In “Murder in the Family,” Cara Hunter spins a riveting tale of mystery that delves deep into a chilling cold case. The story revolves around Luke Ryder, whose life was tragically cut short in 2003. The murder remained unsolved, leaving behind a cloud of unanswered questions. Fast forward two decades, and an eclectic group of experts, comprising police detectives, a reporter, a psychologist, and a lawyer, assemble to unravel the enigma. What’s unique is that this gripping narrative unfolds on live television.

Hunter employs an innovative approach, presenting the story through scripts, text messages, emails, interviews, newspaper articles, and the experts’ CVs, complete with photographs. While this format adds a layer of complexity to the narrative, it may deter some readers due to its prevalence of “telling” rather than showing and the difficulty in connecting with the characters.

However, beneath the unconventional format lies an engaging mystery filled with unexpected twists and turns. The suspense surrounding Luke’s murder is undeniably compelling. Hunter’s audacious experimentation with storytelling is commendable, and many readers have lauded the book for its boldness. Despite its merits, the narrative style may not resonate with everyone.

The story takes a closer look at the family dynamics, particularly the powerful theme of sisterhood. It showcases the unwavering support and solidarity among the women in the tale, offering a refreshing perspective. The characters’ relationships are rooted in love and duty, making the theme of sisterhood one of the novel’s most vital aspects.

Motara, Wuraola’s younger sister, plays a crucial role in the story, demonstrating resilience and a refusal to conform to society’s norms regarding marriage. Her bold stance against her sister’s abusive relationship sets an essential example for those in similar situations. Moreover, the novel underscores the importance of having a solid support system when escaping abusive relationships, as portrayed through Wuraola’s friends.

The storytelling format may not suit all readers, as it leans heavily on a “screenplay” style that some may find tiresome. However, the premise’s potential as a Netflix-style show is undeniable and holds promise for audio adaptation.

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In conclusion, “Murder in the Family” is a daring exploration of the true crime genre. Cara Hunter’s inventive narrative approach might challenge some readers, but the intricate mystery it weaves is well worth the journey. With unexpected revelations and a gripping climax, this cold case thriller delivers an unforgettable experience. Hunter’s masterful execution and intelligent storytelling make this novel a must-read for fans of psychological thrillers and crime mysteries. You won’t want to miss this one.

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