Sunday, May 26, 2019

The better sister by Alafair Burke

Chloe Taylor is smart, has an amazing career in the publishing industry, and has the perfect life with her husband and step son.  That's the positive story, the image she shows to the world, but it's not that simple.  Chloe's husband was married to another Taylor sister once, Chloe's older sister Nicky, and the son she is raising as her own is her nephew Ethan.  Nicky was never cut out to be a mother, she was wild and reckless and loved to have fun - including having a substance abuse problem that resurfaced once little Ethan was born.  Knowing what Nicky was like meant she had no problems stepping in to support her brother-in-law Adam gain custody of Ethan and keep him safe.

Now fifteen years later Ethan sees Chloe as his mother, and despite a few moments of acting out her seems to be doing fine.  On the outside her perfect family is just that, but being a successful woman who earns more than her husband has it's drawbacks and Adam is being less and less supportive of her career.  To make matters worse Chloe is regularly targeted by social media trolls who want to take her down a peg or two.  Chloe mostly ignores the trolls and uses their comments to make her message stronger, but some of the trolls seem to know a great deal about her.

When Chloe returns home from a party one night she discovers Adam dead - a shocking moment that is just the start of the nightmare.  She and Ethan are automatically suspects, and the Police soon focus on Ethan and arrest him for the crime.  As the Police build their case secrets start to be uncovered and the perfect life they have apparently enjoyed begins to unravel.  When Nicky is informed about Adam's death she comes to New York to support her son, and as she is his legal guardian there is nothing Chloe can do to stop her sister crashing back into her life.  As the case heads towards trial and Chloe and Nicky spend more time together they learn more about each other and themselves, and the man they both loved.  Will they be able to prove Ethan is innocent - or is he?

The better sister was one of the best crime novels I have read recently.  Alafair Burke crated characters that were multifaceted and all too real, and as each moment passed and new secrets were revealed it added to the depth of the characters and the story.  This was a story that was revealed in layers, starting with a perfect life and ending with the 'truth'.  The relationship between the Taylor sisters was intriguing and the more you learn the more sympathy you have for both of them.  In some ways the novel is very topical, with the idea of men in power taking advantage of women, and women who don't speak out because of the consequences.  

This was a thrilling read, and yet another example of how well Burke understands human nature and psychology.  Highly recommended read, and if you like this then you should check out her other novels and the novels she has cowritten with Mary Higgins Clark.

If you like this book then try:
  • City of fear by Alafair Burke
  • Eeny meeny by M.J. Arlidge
  • The surgeon by Tess Gerritsen
  • The survivors club by Lisa Gardner
  • Vodka doesn't freeze by Leah Giarratano
  • Dead secret by Ava McCarthy
  • Behind closed doors by B.A. Paris
  • City of the lost by Kelley Armstrong
  • Breaking Creed by Alex Kava
  • The First Lady by James Patterson and Brendan DuBois
  • Spare me the truth by C.J. Carver

Reviewed by Brilla