Sibling relationships are unique. When you think about it, you basically find yourself tied for life to a person with whom you might be best friends—or might have nothing in common with at all, that is, if you’re not outright rivals. Here are five great reads that examine just how far these blood ties can reach.
Two sisters are at the center of this twisted thriller from crime fiction queen Karin Slaughter. Twenty-eight years ago, they survived a terrifying home invasion that killed their mother and left one of the sisters with permanent injuries. Still, they managed to move on and build successful lives for themselves, with the younger sister becoming a lawyer like their father.
But now, a school shooting in their hometown and the ensuing investigation turns up surprising links to the past, and to the tragedy that tore their lives apart.
I was lucky to read Jennifer Wolfe's Watch the Girls early, and there’s so much going on in this briskly-paced thriller that I can hardly fit it into one small paragraph.
Teenage actress Liv’s career was derailed after a disastrous party ended with her sister’s unsolved disappearance. Now she has a chance to finally find out what happened… with a reality-TV camera trained on her all the while. Darkness and grittiness abound in this novel that you definitely don’t want to miss.
The premise: Vida Winter, an enigmatic, iconic author known for making up vastly different life stories for herself, is on her deathbed when she summons the narrator to finally tell her the one true story of her life. That story is lush with Victorian Gothic tropes and nightmarish reveals around every corner.
There’s a crumbling mansion, a family with a sinister reputation, and at the center of it, twin girls who only seem to connect with one another. How did one of them become Vida Winter, and what exactly happened to the other? This classic-in-the-making has all the tension and breathtaking twists of a thriller.
This book was my introduction to the novels of Heather Gudenkauf, who is never afraid to hit the reader right in the feels, as they say. These Hidden Things focuses on two sisters: fallen former golden-child Allison and mousy, neglected Brynn.
Allison was cast down from her pedestal after committing a crime that shocked their small community. But now she’s out of prison, and Brynn has to deal with Allison’s return into her life… and all the dark secrets it will inevitably dredge up. This is a very emotional read, and not for the faint of heart.
As I reread my list, I realized all these books deal with sisters. Maybe it’s not so surprising since sister relationships are such a compelling mixture of complicity and rivalry. But in the interest of adding some brothers to the mix, here’s Ill Will.
Dustin is a middle-aged psychologist leading an ordinary life when the news breaks: his adoptive brother is being released from prison after his murder conviction from thirty years ago is overturned due to DNA evidence. Dan Chaon weaves a strange and compelling literary thriller that might frustrate some, but will leave no one indifferent.
Related: Books that Explore Family and Crime
by Nina Laurin
"...currently wanted by the police. If you know anything about the suspect's whereabouts, please call..."
I look up at the TV screen, and my twin brother's face is splashed across it, life-size.
It's a shock that makes my breath catch. This is my brother as an adult, my brother who I last saw fifteen years ago after the fire that killed our parents, covered in soot, clutching a lighter in his hand, his knuckles stark white against the dirt and ash.
Everyone always said he'd grow up to be a heartbreaker. But his face has gone gaunt instead. The stubble on his cheeks and chin is patchy, and his eyes look dull and dark.
My first thought is that it's not him. Not my beautiful brother, the golden boy who everyone loved. Yet, deep down, I've always known this would eventually happen.
What did you do this time, Eli? What the hell did you do?
by Nina Laurin
A dark and twisting psychological thriller for readers of I Am Watching You, The Luckiest Girl Alive, and All the Missing Girls.
Lainey Moreno was abducted when she was ten years old. She managed to escape, but so did her kidnapper. Now, thirteen years later, he has struck again.
Lainey knows her memories could help the police find Olivia Shaw and the man who took her. The problem is, she's spent over a decade doing everything she can to forget.
It's time for Lainey to confront her past and discover the truth about what happened all those years ago. But can she do it in time to save Olivia? Or has her luck finally run out?