Home Is Where The Bodies Are Summary, Characters and Themes

“Home Is Where the Bodies Are” is a family thriller novel by New York Times bestselling author Jeneva Rose.

The story revolves around three estranged siblings who reunite after their mother’s death to sort out her estate. While going through their parents’ belongings, they stumble upon a disturbing home video that reveals a dark secret from their past.


In the quiet town of Allen’s Grove, Wisconsin, three estranged siblings – Beth, Nicole, and Michael – reunite after their mother, Laura, passes away. 

Beth, the eldest, dedicated her life to caring for their ailing mother, while Nicole, the middle child, struggles with addiction. Michael, the youngest, escaped to California to become a successful tech entrepreneur.

While sorting through their childhood home, they stumble upon an old VHS tape that reveals a horrifying secret from their past. 

The footage captures a chilling scene where their father, Arthur, appears to commit a violent act against an unidentified woman. Shocked and disturbed, the siblings grapple with this unsettling revelation. 

Their already strained relationships are further tested as they confront the possibility that their father may have been a murderer.

Determined to uncover the truth, the siblings embark on a journey into their family’s dark past. 

They start by questioning their Aunt Alice, Arthur’s sister, who reveals a history of abuse and manipulation within the family. 

As they delve deeper, they discover a hidden room in the basement of their childhood home, where they find a journal belonging to their mother. 

The journal recounts Laura’s turbulent marriage to Arthur and her suspicions about his involvement in a string of disappearances in their town.

The siblings’ investigation leads them to a remote cabin in the woods, where Arthur used to spend time alone. 

Inside the cabin, they find a disturbing collection of photographs depicting women who vanished in the area. They also uncover a hidden compartment containing a bloody garment, further solidifying their suspicions about their father’s crimes.

As they unravel the mystery, the siblings become entangled in a dangerous game of cat and mouse with a shadowy figure who seems determined to silence them. 

They receive threatening messages and experience a series of unsettling events, making them realize that their lives are in danger.

The siblings must race against time to piece together the fragments of their family’s dark history before it’s too late. 

They uncover a web of lies, deceit, and long-buried secrets that shatter their perception of their parents and their own identities. In a heart-pounding climax, the siblings confront the truth about their father’s crimes and the shocking connection to their own lives.

“Home Is Where the Bodies Are” is a gripping thriller that explores the dark side of family secrets and the devastating consequences they can have on those who uncover them. 

Through the harrowing experiences of the three siblings, the novel delves into themes of betrayal, redemption, and the enduring power of truth.

Home is Where The Bodies Are



The eldest of the three siblings, Beth is portrayed as the responsible and dutiful one. Having dedicated her life to caring for their ailing mother, she sacrificed her own ambitions and personal life. 

Beth is initially hesitant to confront the disturbing truth about their father, clinging to the idealized image she held of him. 

However, as the investigation progresses, she gradually sheds her naivety and embraces a newfound strength, determined to uncover the truth and seek justice for their family.


Nicole, the middle child, struggles with addiction and carries the weight of a troubled past. 

She is portrayed as rebellious and impulsive, often seeking solace in self-destructive behaviors. Nicole’s vulnerability and emotional turmoil make her a complex and sympathetic character. 

Despite her flaws, she displays a fierce loyalty towards her siblings and a strong desire to protect them from harm. 

Her journey towards sobriety and healing becomes intertwined with the family’s quest for truth.


Michael, the youngest sibling, represents success and ambition. Having moved to California to pursue a career in tech, he is initially detached from his family and their problems. 

However, the shocking revelation about their father forces him to reconnect with his roots and confront the unresolved issues of his past. Michael’s analytical mind and resourcefulness prove valuable as they delve deeper into the mystery. 

He learns to balance his pragmatic approach with empathy and understanding for his sisters’ struggles.


Arthur, the father, is a enigmatic figure shrouded in darkness. 

The discovery of the incriminating video casts a sinister shadow over his seemingly ordinary life. As the siblings investigate, they uncover a manipulative and abusive side to Arthur’s personality. 

His actions have far-reaching consequences, shaping the lives and relationships of his children. 

While Arthur’s presence looms large throughout the novel, his motivations and the full extent of his crimes remain elusive until the final reveal.


Laura, the mother, is portrayed as a victim of Arthur’s manipulation and abuse. 

Her journal entries provide valuable insights into their troubled marriage and shed light on Arthur’s suspicious activities. 

Though deceased, Laura’s presence is felt throughout the story as the siblings piece together the fragments of her life. 

Her journal serves as a silent witness to the secrets and betrayals that haunted their family.


The Deception of Appearances

The theme of deception is central to “Home Is Where the Bodies Are.” 

The siblings’ seemingly idyllic childhood home becomes a symbol of hidden horrors, as the perfectly manicured lawn conceals a basement where their father likely committed heinous crimes. 

The façade of their parents’ seemingly normal marriage crumbles as they uncover their mother’s hidden journal, revealing years of abuse and suspicion.

The siblings themselves are not immune to deception, each harboring secrets and unresolved traumas that contribute to their strained relationships. 

The novel explores how appearances can be deceiving, masking darkness and pain beneath a veneer of normalcy.

The Fragility of Family Bonds

“Home Is Where the Bodies Are” delves into the complexities of family relationships, particularly the fragility of the bonds that hold them together. 

The siblings’ shared trauma creates a sense of unity as they work together to uncover the truth about their father. However, their past resentments and individual struggles threaten to tear them apart. 

The novel highlights how secrets and betrayals can erode trust and create lasting wounds within families. 

It also examines the enduring power of love and loyalty, as the siblings ultimately find solace and strength in one another as they confront their shared past.

The Burden of Secrets

“Home Is Where the Bodies Are” explores the detrimental effects of keeping secrets. The siblings’ father’s crimes were hidden for years, festering beneath the surface of their family life and casting a long shadow over their childhood. 

The mother’s silence and complicity in the cover-up perpetuate the cycle of deception and contribute to the siblings’ estrangement. 

As the truth unravels, the burden of these secrets becomes unbearable, leading to devastating consequences. 

The novel suggests that confronting the past, no matter how painful, is necessary for healing and moving forward.

The Search for Truth and Justice

The siblings’ relentless pursuit of the truth about their father’s crimes drives the narrative of “Home Is Where the Bodies Are.” 

Their investigation is not only about uncovering their family’s dark past but also about seeking justice for the victims. The novel highlights the importance of holding perpetrators accountable for their actions, even when they are loved ones. 

It also underscores the significance of giving a voice to the voiceless, as the siblings seek to honor the memory of the women their father harmed.