Sisters and Lies by Bernice Barrington

sisters and lies
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Published by Penguin Ireland, March 24 2016, 320 pages, £9.09

Quick description: contemporary thriller, family drama, mystery, relationships.

Plot: One hot August night, Rachel Power gets the call everyone fears. It’s the police. Her younger sister Evie’s had a car crash, she’s in a coma. Can Rachel fly to London right away? With Evie injured and comatose, Rachel is left to pick up the pieces of her sister’s life. But it’s hard fitting them together, especially when she really doesn’t like what she sees. Why was Evie driving when she doesn’t even own a licence? Who is the man living in her flat and claiming Evie is his girlfriend? How come she has never heard of him? The more mysteries Rachel uncovers the more she starts asking herself how well she ever really knew her sister. And then she begins to wonder if the crash was really the accident everybody says it is. Back in hospital, Evie, trapped inside an unresponsive body, is desperately trying to wake up. Because she’s got an urgent message for Rachel – a warning which could just save both their lives . . .

I think this book started off a little slow. There was a instant splurge of questions and no clear direction. I usually prefer thrillers that are fast paced pow-pow-pow. There are big chunks of repeated background story- which is all very well but when its a mystery, I felt there needed to be hints in the present. All of it really sums up the fact that things are messed up. But I mean it was enough to keep me intrigued. It got good when we get Evie’s POV, still conscious and piecing her memory back while in the coma. As she tries to remember everything, Rachel is stumbling in the dark, doing her own investigation, tracing footsteps and making calls. Things become clearer halfway through and the book begins a slow tense build-up to a popping climax around 70%. Their stories meet and everything gets quickly unraveled, including skeletons from their childhood.

It’s fair to say that I did get more interested halfway through. The pace is slow and pulsing and prepares you for an explosion. And the big reveal really was surprising, I would not have guessed that at all. So it did throw me a curve ball.

Overall the characters are well fleshed. I don’t have more to say about Rachel than the fact that she is a bold and caring sister. I think Evie is a more complex and elusive persona, especially as she tells her story while comatose. The book gets quite graphic at times, through language, drug references, violence and sex. Certain parts in the big reveal are quite dark- mainly involving psychological issues.

So give it a whirl if all the above is y’thing!

Thanks Penguin for my review copy xxx

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