The Withrow house—over 100 years old, abandoned for decades—is supposed to save Music City Salvage. It’s got marble fireplaces, extensive chestnut walls and flooring, and stained glass windows. It’s a goldmine for vintage and reclaimed construction. The owner of Music City Salvage buys full rights to the property for $40,000, the last money in the company kitty, and sends his daughter and a small crew to start pulling the place apart. The problem is that the deal is too good to be true: the house is very, very haunted. The Family Plot, by Cherie Priest, plays out over less than a week as the crew starts to fall victim to the house.
Dahlia Dutton knows this house is her family company’s last chance. If they can’t get enough good stuff out of the house and sell it, they’re going under. Dahlia, unlike her father and the rest of the crew, loves old houses. She wishes she could save them. So while her cousin, nephew, and the new guy go straight to work, Dahlia tries to figure out why the owner was so eager to get rid of the property, why the house was abandoned in the 1960s, and what’s going on with the newly discovered cemetery. Then, the house starts to talk to Dahlia and something in the bathroom keeps attacking the crew when they try to take showers.
The atmosphere of a crumbling, haunted house out on the end of Lookout Mountain in Tennessee just as the weather turns cold is so well described by Priest that the book was completely cinematic. I enjoyed Dahlia, but Withrow House and its ghost totally steal the show. The Family Plot takes a little too long to get to the action, but I understand that there had to be a delay while Dahlia learns about the strange history of the Withrow family. Once the thing that’s haunting the house gets going, this book is a non-stop ride right to the last page.
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley for review consideration. It will be released 20 September 2016.