Tag Archives: Review

Like a Sister: MWA Best Novel Nominee

sisterAuthor Kellye Garrett has the life experience to write knowledgably about the entertainment industry and the writing credentials to back it up, with two previous award-winning books (which I fully intend to read!)  Like A Sister takes a common trope – rich girl reality TV star comes to a bad end – and gives it a new twist.

Plot summary:  Columbia grad student Lena Scott shares a father – wealthy hip-hop magnate Mel Pierce – with her half-sister, Desiree Pierce.  While Lena has done her best to distance herself from Mel, Desiree has lived a hard-partying life in the public eye.  In some ways, it’s not a surprise that Desiree was “found dead in lingerie in Bronx with cocaine and no shoes.”  But the easy answer doesn’t seem so easy to Lena, who has a lot of questions.  She investigates.   It’s murder.  But who did it?  And why?  She finds out that her sister was more than she thought, and that some people you trust are not trustworthy.

What’s good:  Garrett does an excellent job of using Lena’s investigation to explore her relationships with friends and family, which adds depth to the zippy story.   There are well-drawn characters, plenty of knots to unravel,  and a sympathetic protagonist.  Plus, nice use of social media to illustrate the past.

Not-so-good:  Movie critic Roger Ebert once wrote that if there’s no real reason for a particular character, he’s probably the villain.  Agreed –  I was suspicious of the bad guy from the start.  I also didn’t find the violence particularly believable.

How does it compare to the three other nominees?  Again, I’m struck by the wide variety in this year’s crop.  Like A Sister is a quick, fun read, primarily a plot-driven who-done-it.  The other nominated books are more complex and more thought-provoking.  So while I would definitely recommend Sister and plan to read Garrett’s other books, I wouldn’t call it Edgar-worthy.  It takes fourth place on the Lit Lunchbox ranking.

EdgarsLiterary Lunchbox Rankings:  Best Novel

  1. The Maid by Nita Prose
  2. The Devil Takes You Home by Gabino Iglesias
  3. Notes on an Execution by Danya Kukafka
  4. Like a Sister by Kellye Garrett