Wednesday, April 24, 2019

The Better Sister

The Better Sister by Alafair Burke
HarperCollins: 4/16/19
eBook review copy; 336 pages
ISBN-13: 9780062853370

The Better Sister by Alafair Burke is a highly recommended domestic thriller.

Chloe Taylor is married to Adam Macintosh. Adam is the ex-husband of her estranged sister, Nicky. The two are raising Nicky and Adam's, Ethan, and Ethan calls Chloe "Mom." Fourteen years ago Chloe helped Adam get custody of two-year-old Ethan, proving Nicky as an unfit parent. Although the two weren't involved at that time and had no plans to do so, things happened and they ended up getting married and raising Ethan together.

Of the two, Chloe is the more successful. She has always been ambitious and driven to succeed. Currently she is the very successful editor-in-chief of Eve magazine in NYC and has recently gained significant recognition and fame. When Adam is murdered by an intruder in their second home in East Hampton, Nicky comes back into their lives. Then Ethan is arrested for Adam's murder and the two work together to get him exonerated, even as family secrets are exposed and several hard truths need to be confronted.

Although partly a courtroom drama, The Better Sister is mainly a domestic thriller. It is not fast-paced, which allows time for a slow disclosure of some secrets and hidden drama. This is not necessarily a complicated thriller, rather it is a character driven domestic mystery where secrets are exposed and everyone is looking for the truth of who really murdered Adam and what really happened in the past.
The writing is very good, in a pretty straightforward style. The novel has a strong start and the courtroom scenes were well-done. The ending isn't surprising, but the narrative is really about the journey to get there and the secrets that are exposed. Since this novel is strongly character driven, the characters are all well developed, albeit keeping all manner of secrets from each other. The negative comments Chloe reads about herself on social media were a realistic touch that maybe subliminally could be social commentary, but in this case is tied into the plot. The Better Sister is a good pick for a summer vacation read or an airplane book. It will keep you entertained and help pass the time. 3.5 rounded up.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of HarperCollins.

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