The Better Sister

The Better Sister

by Alafair Burke


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New York Times Bestselling Author

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062853370
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/16/2019
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 8,704
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.30(d)

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.

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The Better Sister 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Well done suspense thriller. This one had me hooked from the beginning. Two estranged sisters, a son/nephew-stepson,and a dead husband. Who killed him? A wrong place, wrong time type of murder? Not to the police who arrest the son. Now the sisters, after fifteen years, have to come together to stand behind him. Olivia Randall, a top-notch defense attorney from another of Alafair’s books, is hired to defend Ethan. Very timely and brilliantly written with lots of plot twists to keep you reading. And what an ending that I didn’t see coming. Definitely love to read Alafair Burkes' books. Fantastic read! I'd recommend this book 100%.
cloggiedownunder 11 months ago
4.5★s The Better Sister is a stand-alone novel by best-selling American author, Alafair Burke. When e-zine executive, Chloe Taylor comes home from a dinner party to find her husband, corporate lawyer Adam Macintosh, fatally stabbed, the police initially suspect it's a robbery gone wrong. But closer examination has them arresting Adam's sixteen-year-old son, Ethan. And despite being virtually estranged from Ethan's mother, her sister Nicky, they now join forces to scramble to his defence. Detective Jennifer Guidry is convinced that Ethan Macintosh killed his father and, despite lacking some vital evidence like the murder weapon, the prosecution has dug up a fairly credible motive, and a time line that fits the defendant’s whereabouts. But Ethan’s stepmother is insisting the police investigate Adam’s movements in the 48 hours before his murder. Guidry dismisses this until a newspaper article rings a bell. At first, readers may wonder just how reliable a narrator Chloe is; she certainly has some secrets she’s not revealing, but the reason for any discrepancies becomes apparent later on. And if the story starts out fairly straight-forward, with perhaps a few little kinks in the plot, then with each chapter, another wrinkle, another layer, another twist, another turn is added to the story, so that the reader is kept guessing until the final chapters, and even the most astute reader is unlikely to easily deduce the murderer’s identity. Burke gives the reader some great characters and the banter between the sisters is particularly delightful. There are plenty of clues and red herrings dropped throughout the story, and readers of Burke’s earlier novels The Ex and The Wife will recognise Olivia Randall in her role as lawyer for the defence with some excellent courtroom drama. A gripping page turner. This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by Allen & Unwin.
Anonymous 11 months ago
Samantha1020 9 months ago
I've enjoyed previous books by this author so I jumped at the chance to read this one. The Better Sister was a definite page turner that I couldn't stop reading! The setup of this book is a bit unique in the fact that Chloe is raising her sister's son with her ex-husband. But when she finds her husband murdered in their beach house, her entire life is turned upside down. What I loved about this book was that it was so completely different from what I expected it to be. I always read the summary of a book before starting it but this book ended up being very unexpected (but in a good way). I guess I went into it with notions of what was going to happen and how the book was going to go - and was completely wrong! Go figure! It helped make this book even more of a thrilling read for me though because I couldn't figure out what was going to happen and how everything was going to turn out. Chloe doesn't have many positive feelings towards her sister at first so I was all prepared not to care for Nicky as well. I honestly don't want to say more than that because this is a book to be experienced for yourself. Just check those expectations at the door and enjoy the ride that this author is going to take you on. It is completely worth it in my opinion! One of the other things that I really liked about this book was the author's portrayal of commenters on the Internet. A person can see this type of thing all over the Internet - just look at news stories and the comments that follow. The comments can range between sympathetic to absolutely nasty - and all on a topic or individual that they might not have any background knowledge of. I just felt like those parts of the book sadly rang very true to real life. I honestly was kept guessing throughout the entirety of this book. It's funny because I did at one point guess Adam's murderer but dismissed my guess early on. It wasn't until the very last pages that I fully understood and realized I had been correct without knowing it. I'm curious to see how other readers felt about the ending but I really don't want to say more than that. It worked for me if you are curious as to how I felt. Overall, I enjoyed this book a ton and I think that this may be my favorite book by her so far! I would really like to work on catching up with her backlist as well (but if I keep saying that with every author I read it won't happen). Ha! But seriously, I have yet to read a "bad" book by her and actually I believe that I've rated all of her books at least four stars. She is definitely an author to check out if you haven't yet! I appreciated so much about this book that I didn't even share about as it might be considered a spoiler but if you want to discuss further just let me know. This felt like a refreshing read and change of pace from all of the other thrillers that I've been reading lately - I can say that! I would recommend this book to fans of both mysteries and thrillers. I also think if you just enjoy suspenseful reads that this book would work for you! Highly recommended! Bottom Line: A refreshing mystery that kept me guessing until the very end! Disclosure: I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher. Thoughts are my own!
3no7 12 months ago
“The Better Sister” by Alafair Burke is the account, as one would expect, of two sisters. As sisters, they share parents and childhood experiences, however, this is an Alafair Burke novel, so these two sisters share other things as well; they share one husband, one child, and a lot of drama. Everyone involved has secrets, mysterious and dangerous secrets. Their lives are complicated, and readers wonder just who is the better sister. Much of the novel is told as a first person narrative by Chloe Anna Taylor, the younger sister. She is the successful editor-in-chief at “Eve” one of the last remaining successful feminist-oriented magazines in the country. In a revelation from fourteen years previous, she confesses to readers. “I betrayed my sister while standing on the main stairs of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in a beaded Versace gown (borrowed) and five-inch stiletto heels (never worn again).” Another startling disclosure sets the stage for the rest of the saga when she acknowledges “ten years after that, I’d be the one to find his dead body.” Taylor talks to herself, and she talks to readers, going back and forth in time to fill in details from the past; “That was the first time, but it wouldn’t be the last.” She shares her plans; “I now had a role to play.” She confessions lies in the past, “When push came to shove, I was still a liar,” But is she truthful now? “At least, that’s what I told the police, but I could tell they didn’t believe me.” Taylor’s first person narrative dominates the book, combined with online posts, comments from other people, and the police perspective of the pursuit, accusations, and investigation as the case unfolds. The police are incredulous; “I’m sorry, but that’s weird.” They are suspicious from the start. “Admit it…You don’t like her or what she stands for, so you want her to be guilty.” They plan their investigation; “She might have something to tell us about that perfect family.” The plot is rich in complexity and moral challenges. The death was revealed in the prologue, but subsequent events unfold in an unanticipated manner. The deaths, the accusations, the arrest, the trial, all are traumatizing, startling, and dramatic. Actions from the past continue to influence conditions in the present. Sometimes the results are good, and sometimes not so good. Questions are asked; lies are told; truths are revealed, and appearances are shattered. Life becomes more and more complicated and readers see that turmoil from all points of view. “The Better Sister” keeps readers guessing from the start as minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, life becomes more and more complicated. The ending is surprising, and yet satisfying. I was given a review copy of “The better Sister” by Alafair Burke, Harper, and Edelweiss. The plot is full of dramatic turns and startling revelations. I was glued to the pages
MTCKMason More than 1 year ago
Alafair Burke brings us the complicated story of two sisters. Chloe and her sister Nicky are as different as night and day. But, they end up marrying the same man. Chloe is the distinguished sister who seems to have it all with a great husband and a good stepson. Nicky is the sister who threw it all away. Then one day, a horrible event brings the two sisters together to weather through this storm. The story is divided into four parts. Each part gives more to the story than the previous one. Each adds an element of surprise and mystery to the story. You think you know where the story is leading you only to be thrown off by another piece of the puzzle. I enjoyed reading about Chloe and Nicky as well as finding out more about Adam and Ethan. Alafair Burke gives us intrigue as we delve into the lives of these characters and what shaped them into becoming the people we find in the book. She gives us what seemingly appears to be a great life only to learn that things often are not what they seem especially behind closed doors. I look forward to reading more from this author as I have enjoyed all of her previous works as well as her collaborations with Mary Higgins Clark. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I would like to thank NetGalley and HarperCollins Publishers for this privilege.
bookchickdi More than 1 year ago
The Better Sister is the third book from Alafair Burke that is related thematically, although the characters are different in each book. The Ex deals with a lawyer called upon to defend her ex-boyfriend from a murder charge. The Wife features a woman whose high-profile professor/author husband is accused of preying sexually on young women. And in her latest, The Better Sister, a high-powered magazine editor finds her husband murdered in their East Hampton vacation home. Chloe worked her way up in publishing to become the editor-in-chief of the last successful feminist magazine standing. She married Adam, a former prosecutor for the Southern District of New York, now a lawyer in a white shoe firm. Adam was previously married to Chloe's older sister Nicky, who was always the wild-child bad sister to Chloe's rules-following, hard-working good sister. One day Adam found Nicky floating facedown in their pool, with their toddler Ethan next to her. She had been drunk or on drugs (not unusual), and Adam divorced her and took Ethan to live in New York, where Chloe began to spend all her free time with them. Adam and Chloe married, and Chloe became Ethan's defacto mom. Nicky was out of the picture, staying back home in Cleveland to care for their parents. When Chloe finds Adam stabbed to death in their East Hampton home, she knows that the police will look hard at the spouse, they always do. She also has to contend with the fact that she is not legally Ethan's mother and has to contact Nicky, who soon shows up. Chloe and Nicky revert back to their sibling relationship- Chloe is the responsible one, Nicky is the screw-up. But when the police turn their attention to Ethan as a probable suspect, Chloe and Nicky must make amends and decide to work together to prove Ethan innocent. The Better Sister is a twisty, timely suspense story. Chloe is a women who is a prominent media person, and with that comes the trolls who send her hateful, even threatening, messages on social media. Chloe believes that perhaps one of them could be the killer. Burke throws in a lot of red herrings, and she excels in letting the reader believe they may have solved the mystery, only to be surprised at the big reveal. Being a former prosecutor, she brings a sense of reality and tension to the courtroom scenes. As the mother of two young men, I really felt such empathy for Chloe as a mother, trying to protect her son. I had a pit in my stomach during many scenes. One thing you learn from The Better Sister is that secrets can destroy people, and I can only think that if they communicated better, some of their big problems could be avoided. I read The Better Sister in one sitting, furiously turning the pages to find out who dunnit and why. I highly recommend it for anyone who likes a great suspense story.
SheTreadsSoftly More than 1 year ago
The Better Sister by Alafair Burke is a highly recommended domestic thriller. Chloe Taylor is married to Adam Macintosh. Adam is the ex-husband of her estranged sister, Nicky. The two are raising Nicky and Adam's, Ethan, and Ethan calls Chloe "Mom." Fourteen years ago Chloe helped Adam get custody of two-year-old Ethan, proving Nicky as an unfit parent. Although the two weren't involved at that time and had no plans to do so, things happened and they ended up getting married and raising Ethan together. Of the two, Chloe is the more successful. She has always been ambitious and driven to succeed. Currently she is the very successful editor-in-chief of Eve magazine in NYC and has recently gained significant recognition and fame. When Adam is murdered by an intruder in their second home in East Hampton, Nicky comes back into their lives. Then Ethan is arrested for Adam's murder and the two work together to get him exonerated, even as family secrets are exposed and several hard truths need to be confronted. Although partly a courtroom drama, The Better Sister is mainly a domestic thriller. It is not fast-paced, which allows time for a slow disclosure of some secrets and hidden drama. This is not necessarily a complicated thriller, rather it is a character driven domestic mystery where secrets are exposed and everyone is looking for the truth of who really murdered Adam and what really happened in the past. The writing is very good, in a pretty straightforward style. The novel has a strong start and the courtroom scenes were well-done. The ending isn't surprising, but the narrative is really about the journey to get there and the secrets that are exposed. Since this novel is strongly character driven, the characters are all well developed, albeit keeping all manner of secrets from each other. The negative comments Chloe reads about herself on social media were a realistic touch that maybe subliminally could be social commentary, but in this case is tied into the plot. The Better Sister is a good pick for a summer vacation read or an airplane book. It will keep you entertained and help pass the time. 3.5 rounded up. Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of HarperCollins.
JHSEsq More than 1 year ago
It is said that when there are two siblings in a family, they will be opposites. The Taylor family was no exception. Chloe, the younger sister, was the honor roll student, while Nicky was restless and reckless. Nicky never left Cleveland, but Chloe graduated from an Ivy League college, moved to New York City, and made a name for herself in publishing, winning awards and achieving fame. Nicky seemed to settle down. She married Adam Macintosh, a prosecutor, and they had a beautiful little boy, Ethan. But happiness was short-lived. Fifteen-plus years later, Chloe is married to Adam and the two of them are raising Ethan, with Nicky pretty much absent from their lives. Adam is murdered at the couple’s swanky East Hampton beach house, and Chloe must reluctantly permit Nicky back into their lives. They achieve a tentative truce, but the police deem Ethan a suspect, forcing the two sisters to unite to save their son. They must confront and finally deal with their family history and long-buried secrets. Burke tells a contemporary story about a dysfunctional family with a complicated history. Nicky did not manage to remain settled for long after Ethan was born. She reverted to her old patterns, and Adam was awarded full custody of Ethan. He moved to New York City to keep Ethan away from Nicky, and his proximity to Chloe resulted in them falling in love & marrying. Chloe was already devoted to her nephew, so it was a natural transition and Ethan began thinking of and referring to her as "Mom." But over the course of the past couple of years, Ethan's behavior has been troubling and his relationship with his father deteriorating. As Chloe's success and fame magnified, so did problems in her marriage to Adam. He left his job a a prosecutor and joined a large law firm, but was never happy there. When Adam is murdered, Nicky is notified and while Chloe may be his stepmother, she is petrified that, despite a clause in Adam's will asserting his desire that Chloe continue raising him, Nicky will regain custody. When Nicky arrives in New York, Chloe is motivated to develop an amiable relationship with her -- for Ethan's sake and to, hopefully, ensure that he is able to remain in her care. But when Ethan is charged with murdering Adam, the two women must band together in order to save the boy that both of them love. Burke's characters are fully developed and empathetic. Nicky was always troubled and, in Chloe's estimation, blamed her problems on their parents. Their father was abusive, and their mother did not stand up for herself or her girls. Chloe's judgmental attitude toward Nicky is not helpful. Gradually, the sisters manage to believably forge a new relationship, this founded upon a mutual goal. In order for it to work, they will have to trust each other. As Ethan awaits and stands trial, Burke deftly portrays Chloe's search for the truth about her husband's death, as well as the secrets she has been keeping about the true of Ethan's relationship with Adam, and their marriage. Burke injects clues about the identity of Adam's killer and that individual's motivation, but expertly keeps readers guessing. In the process, readers learn what happened between Nicky and Adam, and the myriad ways in which the reality of Chloe's life has been at odds with reality. The Better Sister is an exploration of the unique relationship of sisters, and the lengths to which a mother will go to save her child. Advance Reader's Copy provided by NetGalley.
Candice_S More than 1 year ago
I have been a huge fan of Alafair Burke's previous work, so I was STOKED to get a copy of her new one. And this one was pure delectable fun. This story is one of those delicious slow burn character drama + suspense stories that genuinely has you guessing and second guessing who did what and why they did it. Chloe has always been the successful sister. Nicky has always been the screw up. But Nicky is the one married to her successful lawyer husband Adam, with a new son, Ethan & seems to be getting it together. Fast forward 15 years - Chloe is married to Adam and raising Ethan; Nicky is no longer in the picture. Until Adam is murdered, and Ethan is the prime suspect. Old wounds will need to be set aside for the sisters to come together and confront the truth about what really happened that night. I’m not saying a word about what happens in this one (spoilers are the WORST) but I am saying that I love the way Alafair writes colourful and vibrant characters. I love that I felt like I knew these women, and I love that every character in this book ended up surprising me in their own ways. I love that Alafair’s old career as a prosecutor makes the courtroom scenes all the more tense and realistic. I love that the women in this book are all ruthless and unbreakable. I love this book. Period.
Ms-Hurst More than 1 year ago
Chloe married her sister’s husband. She raised her nephew as her own child. Years later when her husband is murdered and her son arrest d, she has to be honest with herself about her life and her past. The Better Sister combines the recent increase in awareness of abuse and harassment through stories like the Me Too movement with a crime story. Not so much a Who-Done-It as a Why-Did-It-Happen story. It started slowly for me, but the last half moved along at a nice pace.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book. Another fantastic read from one of my favorite authors. The only quibble is that I read it so fast that I had time to fold the laundry even though free laundry folding is literally the only reason I had kids.
Shelley Alexander More than 1 year ago
I normally like her books but just could not get into this one. Unlikable characters and not very well written. Waste of my money. So disappointed.
1st-Reader-of-stories More than 1 year ago
The BetterSister # NetGalley Alafair Burke ⭐️⭐️⭐️ I enjoyed this book even though it started out a little slow for me. I have read other books by this author and they usually keep you engaged until the end. This book did pick up speed and I am glad I read it. The characters were a little stiff and not easy to get attached to. As the storyline moves on it was somewhat predictable except for the “who done it” at the end of the book. That was a little bit of a surprise. I feel the characters could have been fleshed out more than they were and it would have made it a better book. I will recommend this book to friends and family who enjoy a mystery, but I did not see much psychological thriller aspect about it. ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an advance copy read of this book for an honest review. ⭐️⭐️⭐️