Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Review: Like a Sister

Like a Sister Like a Sister by Kellye Garrett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a free advance copy from NetGalley for review.

When a woman’s sister is killed, she’s supposed to do something about it. It doesn’t make any difference what you thought of her. She was your sister, and you’re supposed to do something about it…. OK, so Lena Scott isn’t Sam Spade, but the sentiment remains the same.

Lena is a grad student in New York who has issues with her family. Her father, Mel Pierce, is a bigwig in the music business, but Lena wants nothing to do with him. Lena used to be close with her half-sister Desiree Pierce despite their differences in personality. Lena shuns the spotlight that comes with being Mel’s daughter, but Desiree embraced it to become a minor celebrity thanks to reality TV and her Instagram account. Desiree’s party lifestyle also included the usual bad habits, and after one close call too many, Lena had enough and cut off all contact with her sister.

When Desiree is found dead all indications point to an overdose, but Lena is sure that there’s more to her sister’s death then that. Following a trail of clues from social media as well as her personal knowledge of her sister, Lena starts trying to learn the truth as she deals with cops, music stars, Instagram influencers, reporters, and her own father.

I loved a lot about this one, starting with the character of Lena herself. Naturally she’s got guilt and thinks that maybe she wasn’t there when Desiree needed her. However, she’s also being incredible stoic and refusing to show her grief which she calls “…putting on the Super Black Woman cape” as she keeps a brave face to deal with both the practical matters one has to handle when a loved one dies as well as doggedly chasing any clue about really happened to Desiree.

Through the first-person narration we follow along as Lena seems to set everything aside to bluntly deal with whatever is in front of her in the moment even as we know how torn up she is by all of it. Despite the dark circumstances, Lena can also be a very funny narrator at times with sly observations and a dry wit, and there were several laugh-out-loud lines.

The mystery of is also handled in intriguing fashion. This isn’t a murder that will be solved in the drawing room of an English mansion or the mean streets of New York. Instead, Lena uses her sister’s Instagram account to track Desiree’s activities before she died and figure out who might have the answers she’s looking for as well as using social media to research and track suspects. Trying to find Desiree’s phone becomes a critical piece that Lena desperately wants to find because she knows that her sister’s whole life revolved around the device.

The plot has a lot of twists and turns to it, and I was fooled at several points as to where the book was going. None of the red herrings seem like cheats though, and when all is revealed, you realize that even the misdirects mattered. It’s a solid story that plays fair with its clues and ends in a satisfying fashion.

Kellye Garret did an admirable job of writing a mystery that mixes heart and humor and has a great lead character you can’t help but like. It’s also a solid template for how to do a 21st century whodunit.

View all my reviews

No comments:

Post a Comment