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  • Writer's pictureNia Forrester

'Like A Sister' by Kellye Garrett

I have to admit. This one was a sleeper. And by that, I don't mean it put me to sleep, but that it came out of nowhere. The set up for the mystery comes immediately when a social media influencer and reality show personality, Desiree Pierce is found dead in the Bronx of an overdose of an injectable narcotic. To everyone who knows of her hard-partying rep, it sounds as though she likely overdosed after taking the drugs voluntarily. Her friends, parents and of course the press are happy to accept her death as either suicide or accidental overdose. Only her estranged sister, Lena, immediately smells a rat.

First of all, Lena reasons, Desiree was deathly afraid of needles and second, suiciding half-naked in the street in the Bronx was completely "off-brand" for someone so ridiculously image-obsessed. So Lena sets out to discover what really brought Desiree to the Bronx, particularly since she suspects that Desiree may have been on her way to see her, despite their estrangement. Propelled by guilt at that possibility, as well as how she reacted to the incident that led to their being at odds in the first place, Lena launches an amateur investigation. She trawls through her sister's last days, including finding the friends she hung out with, the clubs and restaurants she frequented, and the social media posts leading up to her last day.

The background of all this is the rarefied word of a hip hop mogul and his family---Desiree and Lena's father, mega-producer, "Murder" Mel Pierce, who has a fractious relationship with both his daughters, but mostly with Lena, whose mother was his first partner, who he left for Desiree's mother. Until Desiree's death, Lena kept Mel mostly at arms' length, refusing the perks and money he throws her way, preferring to live in her grandmother's old house in the Bronx and bike to the university where she's getting her masters degree.

But let me not tell you the whole story. Let's just say that at about 25% in, I was getting weary of what seemed to be arcane details about the life of two hip hop princesses--one completely immersed in the life, and the other rejecting it. But it was all necessary backstory, leading to clue after clue, building to the truly surprising conclusion when the mystery of Desiree's death is solved. I thought for sure I was on the right track, but the author successfully misdirected me more than once so that by the end, I had suspected just about everyone except for the main character herself.

This author is clearly an avid consumer of pop culture and celebrity news. There were shades of the Lyric McHenry death (under almost identical circumstances) as well as the Anna Delvey debacle. A fun read. Recommended.

AUDIOBOOK NOTE: Don't shoot me for this, but I'm not a Bahni Turpin fan. Her narration almost caused me to not finish this book. Her tone was a little glib, even in the beginning when the main character visits the site where her sister was found. It made me almost wonder whether the book was meant to be satire. When I switched to reading, I was able to enjoy it much more.

My rating:⭑⭑⭑⭑

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