Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Book Review: Family Matters by Kathleen McKenna

Title: Family Matters
Author: Kathleen McKenna
Number of Pages: 306
Published: Published May 5, 2012
Source: Author (paperback)
Genre: Crime > Horror
Reading Level: Adult
Star Rating: ★★★
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Charles Manson and Susan Atkins ... Can the living haunt the living? Although a fiction, 'Family Matters' is based on a series of actual interviews that took place between Susan Atkins and the author, Kathleen McKenna, during which some seriously eerie and disturbing incidents occurred, and on correspondence with Charles Manson whose first e-mail opened with, 'You are a f … ing idiot if you think I am the most dangerous man alive and Dick Cheney has been your Vice-President for 8 years.” While Ms. McKenna found Charles Manson 'unknowable and frightening', yet also charismatic, charming and witty, Susan Atkins, whom she met face-to-face on several occasions, came across as so terrifying as to suggest being in the presence of evil incarnate, with the apparent power to harness unnerving supernatural forces … and Ms. McKenna has worked alongside a Homicide Division for 21 years and has routinely encountered the most violent of murderers. The story … When Izzy Stanley, an ambitious TV broadcaster, hears that Susan Atkins has petitioned to be released from prison to be allowed to die peacefully at home, she cannot resist making the wise-crack on air that Susan Atkins' petition is only fair as she herself helped Sharon Tate to die peacefully at home in her turn. Her impromptu remark inevitably provokes a tumultuous response, and prompts Susan Atkins herself to demand to see her to explain her perspective now that she has found God, which seems like the journalistic coup of the century. Even better, Izzy suddenly realizes that she herself bears an uncanny resemblance to Susan Atkins' victim, Sharon Tate, a stroke of luck she fully intends to exploit to the full. Then she starts having dreams in which she is Sharon Tate on that fateful night. The thing is, though, they don't really feel like dreams ….

 My Review: I have previously worked with author, Kathleen McKenna and loved her first novel The Wedding Gift. So I am so super excited when I heard she about Family Matters. I am sure that most of you know the stories of The Manson Family and the brutal killing involved. Family Matters is written surrounding the stories of Charles Manson and Susan Atkins. While the book is purely fictions some events and people are real. With that said, on with the review...

First things first, this book scared the bejesus out of me. From the first page I was sucked into the story and into Izzys world. Izzy is a TV broadcaster, married to the man of her dreams, Ethan and loves her work but wishes to move up into her field. When she does a news piece about Susan Atkins and puts her own twist at the end of her broadcast she never thought it would lead to Susan herself to request a personal interview with her. Izzy is less than thrilled but agrees to do it in hopes that will boost her career. Wow, was she ever more wrong because right away Susan and Izzy did not get along. So after as discourteous and creepy interview, Izzy is left angry, threatened and yes, scared shi*less. Little does she know things are about to get really, REALLY bad. Izzy begins to sense a presents around her and objects begin to move around by themselves...she also hears the taunting voice of Susan Atkins. No one believes what she has heard and seen, not even her husband. Ethan seems to only care about pushing Izzy to bear a child for him. So when she does get pregnant that is when things really start to turn horrifying....but to find out what happes you will have to read, Family Matters for yourself.

I must say I really enjoyed the book, the characters where quite engaging. I loved Izzys personality and how she dealt with being so scared. She is definitely a kick-ass gal and was always true to herself. I didn't want to put the book down. The plot was brilliantly composed and entertaining. Kathleen really knows her Mansons and has no problems portraying Susan and Charles perfectly. The book had such a real factor, and I think that's what makes it so scary. While I myself have never read all that much about the details surrounding the The Manson Family murders, this book was a real eye opener and really does seem to take the reader into their world. 
Final Thought: So just remember one thing.... "When you visit Susan Atkins and Charles Manson...Know ONE thing. They are going to visit you back!" 


  1. Beck..i loved the Wedding Gift and have been so swamped I had no idea that she had another book out..I love that it scared you (only cause i love a good scare) I am going to pick this one up now! Thanks cupcake and awesome review :)

  2. bummer it is not available as an ebook at B&N!


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