top of page

The Family Game by Catherine Steadman: FAQs + Books Like It

Updated: Aug 14, 2023

What do you get when you put together old money, an engagement, dark secrets, and a twisted game that's a long way from good, clean fun? You get The Family Game by Catherine Steadman - a gripping psychological thriller that you won't be able to put down. (Kindle | Kobo | Hardcover)

Whether you have questions about the basic plot of the book or how scary it is, are looking for juicy spoilers, or want to read another book like The Family Game, keep scrolling because you'll find all of that just below. (Warning: This article contains spoilers)

The Family Game by Catherine Steadman

What is the Book The Family Game About?

The book The Family Game is about Harry Reed, a best-selling author who just got engaged to America's wealthiest bachelor, Edward Holbeck. Edward's family is incredibly wealthy and shrouded in mystery, so Harry doesn't know what she's in for when she's invited into their inner circle. Once she is though, she finds herself at the center of the family's eccentric traditions and twisted games. Can she survive them? Only time will tell...

Is The Family Game Scary?

I don't read too many psychological thrillers that are truly scary, but The Family Game came pretty close. It doesn't help either that the violence and murders described in the book are quite descriptive, so if you find that disturbing, then this isn't going to be the best book for you.

How Long Does It Take to Read The Family Game?

According to my Kindle, it typically takes the average person 6 hours and 26 minutes to read The Family Game.

What Is Harry Reed's Secret in The Family Game?

When Harry was 11 years old, she was in a car accident with her parents. It was caused by a drunk driver and her parents died instantly. When she escaped the car, Harry set fire to the car where the drunk driver was trapped and killed him.

Who Is the Killer in The Family Game?

The killer in The Family Game turns out to be Edward Holbeck. The tape Harry received from Edward's father, Robert, was not about murders he committed, but murders his son committed. In total, Edward kills eight people.

  • Bobby Holbeck* - Edward's Brother

  • Lucy Probus - Bobby's Girlfriend

  • Alison Montgomery - Edward's Girlfriend

  • Gianna Scaccia - Alison's Friend

  • Aliza Masri - Matilda's Girlfriend

  • Melissa Brown - Stuart's Assistant

  • Oliver Holbeck - Edward's Brother, Fiona's Husband

  • Fiona Holbeck - Edward's Sister-In-Law, Oliver's Wife

*Edward intentionally and secretly laced Bobby's food and drinks with drugs, so even though he might didn't push Bobby to his death, he definitely played a role in it

How Does the Book The Family Game End?

Here is how the ending of The Family unfolds: Robert Holbeck uses the twisted game the family plays on Christmas Eve as an elaborate way to tell Harry the truth about her fiancé. After finding her last clue and Fiona dead, Harry puts the pieces together and sets out to find Edward. When she does, Edward is holding his father, Robert at gunpoint. Together, Harry and Robert disarm Edward and kill him by setting him on fire. They then allow The Hydes (the family house) to burn. Seven months later, Harry and Edward's daughter, Iris, is born and Harry is happily part of the Holbeck family.

5 Books Like The Family Game by Catherine Steadman

I'm a big fan of psychological thrillers, which means that not only have I read quite a few in my time, but I'm always looking for another one to sink my teeth into next. If you can relate, then I hope you'll find your next read on this list of five books like The Family Game.

Not a Happy Family by Shari Lapena

1. Not a Happy Family by Shari Lapena

If you want another psychological thriller about a rich family with dark secrets like The Family Game, look no further than Shari Lapena's book, Not a Happy Family. Here's the description that sold me: "The Mertons are brutally murdered the night after Easter dinner with their three adult kids. Who, of course, are devastated. Or are they? They each stand to inherit millions. They were never a happy family, thanks to their capricious father and neglectful mother, but perhaps one of them is more disturbed than anyone knew." Sounds a bit like Edward Holbeck, if you ask me.

The Family Tree by Steph Mullin and Nicole Mabry

2. The Family Tree by Steph Mullin and Nicole Mabry

The family at the center of The Family Tree might not be crazy wealthy but they do have a serial killer in their midst like the Holbecks did with Edward in The Family Game. It follows the story of a woman who innocently takes a DNA ancestry kit only to find out that she's adopted and someone in her biological family is suspected of murdering several women. Many of the reviewers seem to share the same sentiment: "This book is very creepy. I was quite terrified by the circumstances in this book. That being said, I was also strangely fascinated by how smart the serial killer really is and how he avoided capture. I could not put this book down."

The Heiresses by Sara Shepard

3. The Heiresses by Sara Shepard

In Sara Shepard's book, The Heiresses, Poppy Saybrook appears to have committed suicide after jumping out of her office. But when the other women in the wealthy Saybrook family receive an ominous threat - one heiress down, four to go - they begin to question if it was suicide after all. Not only is this book about a prominent wealthy New York City family like the Holbecks in The Family Game, but there's also a twisted game of sorts at play. Beyond that though, The Heiresses is quite toned down in comparison. As Khanh said in her GoodReads review, "This book is trashy. To me, it's an adult Pretty Little Liars mixed with Gossip Girl." While this won't be everyone's cup of tea, if you're like me and need some levity between reading darker psychological thrillers, then this could be just the ticket.

Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney

4. Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney

One of the creepiest parts of The Family Game for me was how much the game at The Hydes felt like a hunt, which as we all know now, it was. I felt that exact same way about Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney. So, even though this book isn't about a wealthy family, I found it to be similar to The Family Game in other ways. Here's the description: "Things have been wrong with Mr. and Mrs. Wright for a long time. Every anniversary the couple exchanges traditional gifts and each year Adam’s wife writes him a letter that she never lets him read. Until now. They both know this weekend will make or break their marriage, but they didn’t randomly win this trip. One of them is lying, and someone doesn’t want them to live happily ever after. Ten years of marriage. Ten years of secrets. And an anniversary they will never forget."

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

5. The Guest List by Lucy Foley

Personally, I think of the setting as the unspoken character in any psychological thriller. It can easily make a book 10x creepier. Like The Hydes was in The Family Game, the Scottish island where The Guest List by Lucy Foley takes place makes the books feel similar in my opinion. Here's what it's about: "On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate a wedding. The cell phone service is spotty and the waves are rough, but every detail has been expertly planned. But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. Then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why?"


bottom of page