How to Solve Your Sister's Murder in 10 Days: A Review of Like a Sister by Kellye Garrett
Once upon a midnight dreary, I sat down and read murder mysteries all March long.
Hello, Book Nerds! Welcome back to Reading Has Ruined My Life or welcome if you are new. As always, my name is Hannah and I am your captain on this journey into my bookcases.
Y’all, it’s Murder Mystery March! I have been planning this for nearly a year. I love a good murder mystery, and I have a bunch of great books picked out to review this month. And to kick Murder Mystery March off, I have a super awesome book. Please give a warm welcome to Like a Sister by Kellye Garrett! Like a Sister goes on sale March 8, which is next Tuesday.
A huge thank you goes out to Novel Suspect’s Insiders Club and Mulholland Books for sending me an advanced copy of this book. They aren’t paying me for this review, they just sent me the book for free. Again, a massive thank you for sending me this book, it means a lot to me that someone wants to.
Now let’s crack into it! As always, a spoiler alert is in order. I also need to include a content and trigger warning for Like a Sister. This book has major mentions of drug use and discussions on suicide. Both topics are very prevalent to the plot so please read this book at your own discretion. Synopsis time now.
The morning after her 25 birthday, reality TV star Desiree Pierce is found dead on a playground with signs that point toward her death being caused by an overdose. The police and the media are quick to jump to that conclusion, but one person doesn’t agree: Lena Scott, Desiree’s half-sister.
Lena and Desiree hadn’t spoken for two-years prior to Desiree’s death, but Lena still knows her sister better than anyone else. For example, Lena knows that Desiree would never kill herself. And if she did, it wouldn’t be in a public park. Lena is certain that there is more than meets the eye to Desiree’s death so it’s up to her figure out the truth.
Soon, she’s thrust into the world of Instagram filters and designer goods as she gets to know Desiree’s friends and “friends” who were there the night of Desiree’s 25 birthday party. Lena can trust no one, and her sister’s death proves to be quite the mystery. What transpires is a thriller that keeps you guessing till the last page.
I love this book! Seriously, it’s one of the best books I’ve read this year. If you are a fan of murder mysteries, I highly recommend that you pick this book up when it releases next Tuesday; you will not be disappointed.
If you don’t believe me, then let’s start with characters. Each character was so well done. Everyone had secrets that they were keeping, everyone had multiple motives for committing the murder, and everyone claims they didn’t do it. Grab your coffee, put on your mystery hat, and let’s solve a crime.
First up is Erin. She’s Desiree’s best friend. If you see one of these women, you see the other. Except for the night Desiree died. Erin and Desiree may have entered the party together, but they left separately. And that’s Erin’s biggest regret. If she had been with Desiree that night, then Desiree’s death may not have happened. That means Erin is going to help Lena solve the case. Or is she? Erin has a lot of secrets she doesn’t want the public to know, secrets even Desiree didn’t know. Could Erin be helping Lena just to lead our protagonist in the wrong direction?
Next up is Naut, Desiree’s boyfriend. Well…ex-boyfriend. They had broken up not too long before Desiree’s birthday, but he still got an invite to the birthday bash. Supposedly, things were totally fine between Naut and Desiree. They were still friends…allegedly. The thing is, Naut wasn’t over her, he still loved her. And maybe a little obsessively seeing as he still has a giant mural of her on his wall that he can’t bear to cover up. He has a solid alibi though. During the time of Desiree’s death, he was on stage performing. But he’s a professional DJ who performs in an astronaut helmet so who knows who was actually on stage then.
Desiree’s family isn’t beyond suspicion either. Lena and Desiree’s father is the famous hip-hop producer and mogul Mel Pierce AKA Murder Mel Pierce. Mel has a bit of a temper to say the least. Mel is one of those people who can make or break a career with one word. But he loves his daughters, he would never do anything to hurt either of them, right? After all, he gave them both credit cards with no limit on them. But he is pretty absent from Lena’s life, and even Desiree’s for that matter. He would never harm them though!
And finally there is Zarah. Zarah is another of Desiree’s friends, she’s the reason Desiree became a TV star in the first place. The pair have known each other for years, they’ve been through thick and thin, they think of each other as sisters. Let’s be honest though, working with friends doesn’t always work out. Desiree got fired from Zarah’s show, and things aren’t okay between them. Enough for Zarah to murder the woman she considers a sister though?
Can you see why I love this book so much? These characters are phenomenally crafted, and the mystery is great too. And I haven’t even brought up Lena yet. Lena, who is our main character, our amateur detective, or as she calls herself, a Super Black Woman. I love Lena. She’s a great protagonist. She’s strong-willed, has some great wit about her, and won’t stop till she learns the truth. She’s still not perfect though. She runs into situations without fully thinking things through which does lead to trouble. Like a lot of trouble.
Seriously, all the characters are great and the mystery is no different. There are so many twists and turns, and every time I thought I figured out who the culprit was, something happened that changed my mind. Literally, the entire time I kept changing my mind on who the killer was. The mystery is so tightly woven that even any obvious red herring this mystery might have could be true. I’ve never been jumped around on who I thought was the killer so much as I did with this mystery. If you want a tightly woven murder mystery then this is the book for you.
Like a Sister is incredibly smart, witty, and has great pacing to boot. But one of the things I enjoyed the most about this novel, that has nothing to do with the mystery, are the complicated, messy family dynamics. Kellye Garrett not only creates a twisty-turny mystery, she creates a blended family with their own issues but who still love each other at the end of the day.
I’ve already mentioned that Lena and Desiree hadn’t spoken for two-years before the latter dies. But I didn’t mention that Desiree’s mom was Lena’s mother’s best friend. Until Mel cheated on Lena’s mom with Desiree’s that is. Right away, it’s messy. But despite what transpired between the parents, Lena never feels or shows animosity towards her stepmother. Instead Lena treats her with respect, and even states in the book that she views her stepmom like a cool aunt. The dynamic between these two women could easily be that of Wicked Stepmother and Unloved Stepdaughter. But it’s not. It never went there. It never even looked in that direction. Instead Kellye Garrett explores how family relationships can be complicated while not being cruel.
In my reviews, I don’t typically mention if I think you should or should not buy a book. I have to feel really strongly to do that. Like a Sister is a book I think people should buy. If you want suspense, pick up a copy, this book has it. If you want an amateur detective with a great personality as the main character, pick up a copy. If you want domestic suspense with a social media twist, this is the book for you. If you want a good mystery, pick up Like a Sister. If you want a good mystery with discussions on race, class, and family, Like a Sister releases on March 8 so mark your calendars. This is the best book I’ve read this year. Ten-out-of-ten book.
And on that note, I must bid you all adieu. I could probably talk on and on about this book, it’s just that good. Once again, a huge thank you goes out Novel Suspects Insider’s Club and Mulholland Books for sending me an advanced copy of Like a Sister. And I guess that means I’ll see you all next week with another new review as we continue Murder Mystery March.
Until then, stay safe, wear a mask, wash your hands, and read some good books for me.