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The Better Sister
Cover of The Better Sister
The Better Sister
A Novel
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A Best Book of the Year: Washington Post, Sun Sentinel

From Alafair Burke—New York Times bestselling author of the runaway hit, The Wife— comes another twisty tale of domestic noir. When a prominent Manhattan lawyer is murdered, two estranged sisters—one the dead man's widow, the other his ex—must set aside mistrust and old resentments ... but can they escape their past?

Keep your enemies close and your sister closer.

Though Chloe was the younger of the two Taylor sisters, she always seemed to be the one in charge. She was the honor roll student with big dreams and an even bigger work ethic. Nicky—always restless and more than a little reckless—was the opposite of her ambitious little sister. She floated from job to job and man to man, and stayed close to home in Cleveland.

For a while, it seemed that both sisters had found happiness. Chloe earned a scholarship to an Ivy League school and moved to New York City, where she landed a coveted publishing job. Nicky married promising young attorney Adam Macintosh and gave birth to a baby boy they named Ethan. The Taylor sisters became virtual strangers.

Now, more than fifteen years later, their lives are drastically different—and Chloe is married to Adam. When he's murdered by an intruder at the couple's East Hampton beach house, Chloe reluctantly allows her teenage stepson's biological mother—her estranged sister, Nicky—back into her life. But when the police begin to treat Ethan as a suspect in his father's death, the two sisters are forced to unite . . . and to confront the truth behind family secrets they have tried to bury in the past.

A Best Book of the Year: Washington Post, Sun Sentinel

From Alafair Burke—New York Times bestselling author of the runaway hit, The Wife— comes another twisty tale of domestic noir. When a prominent Manhattan lawyer is murdered, two estranged sisters—one the dead man's widow, the other his ex—must set aside mistrust and old resentments ... but can they escape their past?

Keep your enemies close and your sister closer.

Though Chloe was the younger of the two Taylor sisters, she always seemed to be the one in charge. She was the honor roll student with big dreams and an even bigger work ethic. Nicky—always restless and more than a little reckless—was the opposite of her ambitious little sister. She floated from job to job and man to man, and stayed close to home in Cleveland.

For a while, it seemed that both sisters had found happiness. Chloe earned a scholarship to an Ivy League school and moved to New York City, where she landed a coveted publishing job. Nicky married promising young attorney Adam Macintosh and gave birth to a baby boy they named Ethan. The Taylor sisters became virtual strangers.

Now, more than fifteen years later, their lives are drastically different—and Chloe is married to Adam. When he's murdered by an intruder at the couple's East Hampton beach house, Chloe reluctantly allows her teenage stepson's biological mother—her estranged sister, Nicky—back into her life. But when the police begin to treat Ethan as a suspect in his father's death, the two sisters are forced to unite . . . and to confront the truth behind family secrets they have tried to bury in the past.

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About the Author-
  • Alafair Burke is a New York Times bestselling author whose most recent novels include The Wife and The Ex, which was nominated for the Edgar Award for best novel. She also co-authors the bestselling Under Suspicion series with Mary Higgins Clark. A former prosecutor, she now teaches criminal law and lives in Manhattan and East Hampton.

Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    January 15, 2019
    When a corporate lawyer who divorced his first wife and married her more successful sister is found dead in his home in the Hamptons, his teenage son goes on trial for murder.The fans who put Burke's (The Wife, 2018, etc.) last domestic thriller on the bestseller list are going to be happy with this one, a gimmick-free murder mystery with a two-stage surprise ending and uncommonly few credibility-straining plot elements. No double narrator! No unreliable narrator! No handsome psychopaths from central casting! And though there's usually at least one character in this type of book who isn't quite three-dimensional, most of the players here feel like they could have worked in a domestic novel without a murder, which is a kind of test for believability and page-worthiness. The star of the show is Chloe Taylor, a woman's magazine editor-in-chief who has become a hero of the #MeToo movement and a target of misogynist haters on social media. The lumpy area beneath the surface of her smooth, pretty life is the fact that she married her boozy, unstable, maternally incompetent sister's ex-husband and has been raising her nephew, Ethan, as her own son. When his father turns up dead, Ethan tells so many lies about his doings on the evening in question that despite the fact that he's obviously not a murderer, he ends up the No. 1 suspect. As soon as he's arrested, his real mom, Nicky, swoops into town and the sisters form an uneasy and shifting alliance. You'll think you have this thing all figured out, but a series of reveals at the eleventh hour upend those theories. Most of the important people in this novel are women--the head cop, the defense attorney, the judge--and their competent performances create a solid underpinning for the plot.You'll kill this one fast and be glad you did.

    COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    April 1, 2019

    Chloe Taylor is married to her estranged sister Nicky's handsome ex-husband Adam Macintosh, and raising her sister's son, Ethan, as her own. She's also the editor-in-chief at a women's magazine and has recently gained significant recognition--both good and bad--for a series highlighting everyday women and the #MeToo movement. By all appearances, she's super successful, with a loving spouse, a two-book deal, and a well-paying job. Then Adam is murdered, and a staged crime scene and an inconsistent account of Ethan's whereabouts leads to his arrest. Not sure whom she can trust, Chloe reluctantly lets Nicky back into her life. Together, they deal with the consequences of having their secrets exposed during a high-profile trial while also confronting the truth about the man they both once loved. VERDICT Burke (The Wife; The Ex) writes a straightforward and uncomplicated character-driven mystery that also delves into the topics of sisterhood and abuse. Vague references to current events might eventually date the story, but mystery lovers will find much to enjoy in this fast-moving whodunit.--Vicki Briner, Broomfield, CO

    Copyright 2019 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Washington Post "Cunning.... Readers of The Better Sister, Alafair Burke's wonderfully twisty new thriller, should get ready to be led down the garden path to a conclusion so morally ambiguous a professional ethicist might have to be called in."
  • Entertainment Weekly "Coming off of last year's brilliantly timely The Wife, psychological-suspense master Burke traces the uneasy relationship between two sisters and how it's tested in the wake of a grisly murder."
  • Associated Press "Alafair Burke's name on the cover always guarantees a stellar read, and this novel is no exception. Elements of other domestic thrillers are in abundance, but the author knows how to take what could easily be cliché and make it feel brand-new. The realistic family relationship carries this story to great heights and wonderful surprises."
  • Karin Slaughter "In addition to being a gripping thriller, this is a poignant look at the lives of two very different sisters—and how seemingly inconsequential events can often bring about great sacrifices. Burke gets better with each new read."
  • Seattle Review of Books "One hell of a rip-roaring read.... Taut-domestic-and-courtroom-thriller aspects aside, Burke is, as always, terrific on the salient cultural details that bring her characters to vibrant life."
  • South Florida Sun Sentinel "Burke hits the ground running with the highly entertaining The Better Sister, and the story continues to peak in one believable twist after another. Surprises lead The Better Sister to a sizzling finale."
  • New York Journal of Books "Compelling.... In addition to the powerful characteristics of a thriller, The Better Sister is also a psychological investigation of social media, gender in business, childrearing, and family ties."
  • Publishers Weekly "Mesmerizing.... Burke paints a poignant portrait of sisterhood and sacrifice with this twist-riddled, character-driven whodunit."
  • Library Journal "A straightforward and uncomplicated character-driven mystery that also delves into the topics of sisterhood and abuse. Mystery lovers will find much to enjoy in this fast-moving whodunit."
  • Tulsa Book Review "Burke has a flair for creating compelling characters who bring out a plethora of emotions from the reader. A worthy follow-up to last year's smash The Wife. Do not miss!"
  • Suspense Magazine "You know just from the title that this is going to be a winner; you also know it's a "must read" from the simple fact that Alafair Burke is the author....A non-stop thriller fest."
  • FreshFiction "Chilling and thrilling....Will keep you engaged from start to finish."
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