The Family Plot
By Cherie Priest
Author website: http://www.cheriepriest.com/
The author of the enormously successful Boneshaker returns to Tor with her unique take on the classic haunted house book
Chuck Dutton built Music City Salvage with patience and expertise, stripping historic properties and reselling their bones. Inventory is running low, so he’s thrilled when Augusta Withrow appears in his office offering salvage rights to her entire property. This could be a gold mine, so he assigns his daughter Dahlia to personally oversee the project.
The crew finds a handful of surprises right away. Firstly, the place is in unexpectedly good shape. And then there’s the cemetery, about thirty fallen and overgrown graves dating to the early 1900s, Augusta insists that the cemetery is just a fake, a Halloween prank, so the city gives the go-ahead, the bulldozer revs up, and it turns up human remains. Augusta says she doesn’t know whose body it is or how many others might be present and refuses to answer any more questions. Then she stops answering the phone.
But Dahlia’s concerns about the corpse and Augusta’s disappearance are overshadowed when she begins to realize that she and her crew are not alone, and they’re not welcome at the Withrow estate. They have no idea how much danger they’re in, but they’re starting to get an idea. On the crew’s third night in the house, a storm shuts down the only road to the property. The power goes out. Cell signals are iffy. There’s nowhere to go and no one Dahlia can call for help, even if anyone would believe that she and her crew are being stalked by a murderous phantom. Something at the Withrow mansion is angry and lost, and this is its last chance to raise hell before the house is gone forever. And it seems to be seeking permanent company.
The Family Plot is a haunted house story for the ages-atmospheric, scary, and strange, with a modern gothic sensibility to keep it fresh and interesting-from Cherie Priest, a modern master of supernatural fiction.
(A personal note, I would give this book a 4 ½ star rating if it was possible. Not a 5 star for me only because it scared the crap out of me)
Okay, first off I do not normally read “ghost stories” or “haunted” tales that scare the bejeezus out of me. I was attracted to The Family Plot because it is set in my home state of Tennessee and centered around a salvage company based in my home city of Nashville. I also love Chattanooga where most of the book is set. I figured what’s a little haunted house story going to do. Well let me tell you what – scare the living daylights out of me. (Side note – bad idea to read before going to sleep). Music City Salvage gets a big job dropped in their laps that will either put them in the black or shut them down. Owner Chuck Dutton has to not only find the money to do it, but get it done fast. So his daughter Dahlia steps up and reluctantly takes a small crew to Chattanooga to strip the Withrow home.
Augusta Withrow told Chuck the house was being demolished and he could have everything including the furnishings in the house and everything in and on the carriage house and barn for $40,000. She told him it was well worth the money but in bad shape inside and out. Dahlia loves the house the minute she sees it and as with all the old homes they salvage, she wishes she could save it. She also discovers it is not in that bad of shape and they will be very busy. Along with Dahlia is newbie Brad and her cousin and slacker Bobby and his big son Gabe. Dahlia is not too happy with Bobby since he sided with her ex in her recent and still painful divorce. As usual though, Dahlia is ready to get to work. After she apologizes to the house of course.
Unfortunately old Augusta did not just gloss under the house, she left out some very important information. The house is haunted. The team start seeing odd things, but pass them off as the normal weirdness of an old house. That is until Dahlia is attacked in the main bathroom, Brad sees a dead soldier and Gabe is talked to by a young boy. At that point they all decide to sleep together downstairs and take watch for each other while in the bath. Things just go from bad to worse and I was kept jumping in my jammies.
Author Cherie Priest has woven a tale of terror, past evils, angst, and haunted horrors that pulled me in and refused to let go. Her writing style is fluid and at the same time hard and in your face. I enjoyed getting to know all of the characters alive and dead as well. Thank goodness for Hazel is all I can say. The last chapters are full on scary as bat crap and filled to the brim with action. Once things settle and the dust is cleared will the crew of Music City Salvage have a happy ending – find out for yourself, but hang on tight. The Family Plot is a true page turner of a haunted house story.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review as part of their ongoing blog tour*