Book Title and Author: The Better Sister by Alafair Burke
Publication Date and Publisher: April 16, 2019 by Harper Collins
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Fiction
Pages: 336 pages
Buy on Amazon.com
Date Read: March 29, 2019 (e-arc)
When a prominent Manhattan lawyer is murdered, two estranged sisters—one the dead man’s widow, the other his ex—must set aside mistrust and old resentments . . . but can they escape their past?
Though Chloe was the younger of the two Taylor sisters, she always seemed to be in charge. She was the honor roll student with big dreams and an even bigger work ethic. Nicky was always restless . . . and more than a little reckless—the opposite of her ambitious little sister. She floated from job to job and man to man, and stayed close to home in Cleveland.
For a while, it seemed like both sisters had found happiness. Chloe earned a scholarship to an Ivy League school and moved to New York City, where she landed a coveted publishing job. Nicky married promising young attorney Adam Macintosh, and gave birth to a baby boy they named Ethan. The Taylor sisters became virtual strangers.
Now, more than fifteen years later, their lives are drastically different—and Chloe is married to Adam. When he’s murdered by an intruder at the couple’s East Hampton beach house, Chloe reluctantly allows her teenaged stepson’s biological mother—her estranged sister, Nicky—back into her life. But when the police begin to treat Ethan as a suspect in his father’s death, the two sisters are forced to unite . . . and to confront the truth behind family secrets they have tried to bury in the past.
I’ve read several of Alafair Burke’s books—all of her books with Mary Higgins Clark, which is how I was introduced to her as an author, a few books in her Ellie Hatcher series, and a couple of her standalone novels including, of course, The Ex and The Wife. I was thrilled to read The Better Sister but unfortunately, I felt it was missing all the ingredients that made The Wife and The Ex both 5 star reads.
In this domestic thriller, albeit a very light domestic thriller, Chloe Taylor is the narrator and the supposedly better sister in comparison to her unreliable older sister Nicky. Chloe’s ultra-successful, wealthy, a feminist starter of the #MeToo movement—oh, did I mention she’s married to her sister’s ex-husband Adam and has raised her nephew, Ethan as her own? As you can imagine, the Taylor sisters are far from close. Yet, suddenly, these two sisters have no choice but join together in an uneasy partnership when Adam is murdered and Ethan becomes the only suspect.
Unfortunately, while this has an outstanding plot and the makings of being an excellent book, it fell short as I said. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an addictive, page-turning read that I binged in two sittings and still enjoyed thoroughly even if I didn’t love it! I thought from the beginning to the middle of the book that it was going to be on par with The Wife and then it began to be predictable and fell flat.
I read a LOT of thrillers and domestic dramas so it could be me since I am able to predict who committed the crimes in these genres of books 98% of the time. So, the reveal was not at all revealing (it was believable though) since it was literally given away early on, and that could be why the book fell flat.
One reason I’m glad I read this is that I love Burke’s writing style; she writes flawlessly and she really excels at brilliantly incorporating her legal expertize into the police investigations and courtroom setting. Another great thing about the book is that it wasn’t gimmicky at all: nothing was thrown in to test the reader’s patience such as crazy twists that just could never have happened, impossible to believe characters, etc—you know what I mean! It was just an honest, well-written, conceivable murder mystery in a world of the same old, same old genre of domestic thrillers.
While I didn’t love The Better Sister, I did enjoy it, and I do recommend picking it up to see what you think! It’s definitely a quick read that’s great for spring/summer reading!
**Thank you Edelweiss and Harper Collins for the ARC to read in exchange for my fair and honest review.**