Dark Thrill Reviews: When you can't wait for Succession season 4: The Family Game by Catherine Steadman

 I love that roasting billionaires has become a genre all in itself, and the newest by Catherine Steadman is on top of its game. Pun intended. Harriet is a British writer about to marry Edward Holbeck, the son of one of the most powerful men in America. And Harry seems intimidated by the prospect of meeting future in-laws and the rest of the family. Or don't they watch Succession in the UK? She's right to be apprehensive because this family, apart from being astonishingly wealthy and influential, is also weird. They like to play bizarre games. Grown-up versions of children's Halloween games, brought over from Germany, were hide-and-seek invokes pure terror, and Christmas games that turn even deadlier. 

And then we have yet to talk about their mind games. Those would push every prospective daughter-in-law over the edge.

But Harriet is not easily unnerved; she proves herself to be assertive and maybe even as destructive.

The central relationship in this book is not between Harriet and her fiance but instead indulging in the incredible awkwardness of Harriet and her future father-in-law, Robert's connection. Harriet's knees almost buckle every time Robert walks in the room; her fascination and attraction are incredibly uncomfortable and intriguing. From his side, his interest remains opaque. 

But after meeting her once, Robert leaves Harriet with a tape cassette, with what seems to be a confession to murder. 

It's delicious how Steadman turned an anxiety-filled time for any future bride, meeting the parents into this deadly cat-and-mouse game. Or better, a perfect match between a tom and queen because Harriet is no meek prey; her grit shows when she is put to the test. This is a woman who takes charge. And she might be the one thing this family needs to redeem itself from its past sins.

So, there are creepy contests, spooky locations, ambiguous deaths, a lot of sleuthing, romances gone wrong, and as many twists as there is room in The Holbeck manor.

It is gothic, richly written, twisted, uneasy, and has a kickass protagonist to root for.