Some people are just born storytellers, able to craft narratives that feature fascinating characters in compelling plots with an ease that seems magical. Add Kellye Garrett to that list. After two nearly perfect light-hearted cozy mysteries, Garrett turns her pen to the slightly more menacing domestic suspense arena and knocks it out of the park. Like A Sister will undoubtedly amass Kelley Garrett a legion of fans willing to follow her lead anywhere.
For years now, Kellye Garrett has worked tirelessly to promote diversity of all kinds within the crime fiction community and with Like A Sister she places herself front and center in advancing that cause within the domestic suspense sub-genre. For that she will be commended, however that should not be thought of as Like A Sister’s crowning achievement – for that one only needs to examine how cleverly-paced and tightly-plotted this novel actually is. Kellye Garrett sets the trap in the early pages of her narrative and before readers realize it, they will be under her spell all the way to the finish.
Lena Scott hasn’t spoken to her half-sister Desiree Pierce in over two years. It is not that she doesn’t care about Desiree, but the two have nothing in common – other than a father – and Lena has spent too many late nights bailing Desiree out of trouble.
As a reality star – albeit one on a rollercoaster of a career – Desiree Pierce is used to living her life in the spotlight, with every move she makes documented on social media. But as so often happens, the public impression and the truth do not always align. When your entire existence is filtered to filth, is it possible to uncover the human between the glam and the slam? Meanwhile, Lena has spent her life distancing herself from her media-centric family and is quite content in her more laid-back and private lifestyle. Two very different women, both of whom are strong Black role models in their own way.
Like A Sister begins with Lena discovering that Desiree has been found dead at a Bronx playground, a passing that the authorities are more than happy to chalk up to an accidental overdose. But despite their differences and the recent estrangement, Lena knows her half-sister had no reason to be in the Bronx, nor would she have defaced her flawless skin with the track marks associated with needle use. Determined to expose the truth, Lena sets out on an amateur investigation into Desiree’s final days.
Evidence quickly points to an incident from Desiree’s past, requiring Lena to reach out not only to the father who has never shown her the love she deserved, but also to Desiree’s best friend, former lover, and various acquaintances. Throughout this journey, Kellye Garrett highlights inequities, stereotypes, and biases of all types without ever allowing the novel to stray into direct social commentary. This author’s first and foremost goal is to entertain her reading public while remaining true to societal realities – warts and all.
The plotting within Like A Sister is extremely tight. Kellye Garrett has crafted a completely believable path for Lena’s makeshift investigation, allowing her – and the reader – to absorb each new revelation before following those clues to the next likely destination. A cadre of authentic characters provide more than enough suspects to keep readers guessing and the ultimate reveal more than satisfies. Fans – and let it be known that anyone who reads Like A Sister will be a fan – will turn the last page already anxious for Kellye Garrett’s next domestic suspense thriller.
Disclaimer: A print galley of this title was provided to BOLO Books by the publisher. No promotion was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.