Conrad, a writer and producer on Monk and White Collar, demonstrates sure command over episodic mystery storytelling in this polished entry. Thriller fans will be able to enjoy Sins of the Family without reading its predecessor, as the main plot succeeds as a standalone mystery, but they would probably benefit from being acquainted with the backstory of Callie and her family members. Conrad weaves family intrigue and Melissa’s story into Callie’s overarching investigation of Trevor’s death, with Melissa joining Callie in the early phases, and family friend Diedre revealing a secret that Buddy helped cover up decades ago. These storylines, at first, might read like a distraction from Callie’s pressing investigation, but by the end Conrad satisfyingly connects the threads.
Conrad proves adept at the tools of the mystery author’s trade, like misdirection, planting clues that pay off later, and crafting a plot where every detail matters and feels logical and believable but will still keep readers guessing how they will finally fit together. His heroine is compelling and imperfect, and her relationship with her father—he practices cover ups, she exposes them—is fertile ground for future stories.
Takeaway: A young woman’s investigation of a friend’s death threatens to expose cover-ups set in motion decades ago.
Great for fans of: Attica Locke, Kathleen Kent.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: B