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.
The Family Plot is such a superb book. I have a deep love for haunted houses and yes, even though I didn't find this book scary was I intrigued and engrossed with the story. Then again, it will take a hell of a lot to scare me. Nevertheless, I found myself hooked from the start with the mystery of the Withrow house. I could easily imagine the place because Cherie Priest manages to portray it so vividly.
And, besides the strong story did the story also have great characters. Dahlia the main character is a strong woman recently divorced (but mostly angry about losing the house she loved rather than the man) and together with her cousin Bobby, his son Gabe and Brad that works for the family business are they planning on stripping the house down. They just didn't expect the ghost. Especially not the angry ghost. I think what really made the book work is the strong characters, yes the cousins Dahlia and Bobby didn't always see eye to eye, but still the deep loyalty to each other is there.
So, what can I say? I'm such a sucker for haunted houses and this just sucked me in and I could hardly stop reading it, despite being tired and needing to sleep when I started it. And, the rest of the book did I finish the day after. Did the ending feel a bit expected? Yes, yet still I liked it.