Review by Mark Palm.
How many thrillers have started with the main character crashing their car -or almost crashing it-because they thought they saw a figure in the road? I’ve read more than a few, and What My Sister Knew by Nina Laurin starts the same way. However about three quarter of the way through Ms. Laurin shows you that even that singular event, like so much of the book, is not what it seems. And that is what makes this novel so gripping.
After the aforementioned car crash Andrea Warren, the main character and narrator discovers that her twin brother Eli, who has been in in prison, was just released, and is suspected of killing a woman. When the twins were twelve Andrea was burned and her mother and stepfather were killed in a fire that Eli was accused of setting. In the present the police are interested in Andrea, first fearing that he may be coming after her, and later suspecting her of aiding Eli. From here the novel follows Andrea as she tries to discover what is happening to her know, along with flashbacks to her and Eli’s life fifteen years earlier, before and after the fire. There are also excerpts from a true-crime book written about the case.
Ms. Laurin starts off simply but quickly entangled me in a plot that is complex but never convoluted. Andrea, the main character is complex and compelling. The supporting characters, particularly her step mother Cynthia, and her step sister Leeanne start off seeming like one-note cliches, but become fully realized and sympathetic. Eli’s story takes a similar arc, though in reverse, becoming harder to read and perhaps, more sinister. The story is taut and tense, and as I have alluded to earlier, so twisty that I cannot reveal much more without dropping a ton of spoilers. Ms. Laurin does an exceptional job of letting the story unfold through Andrea’s voice, and her prose fits that character, and the story, like a glove. After a measured pace in the beginning the last few chapters careen along like a runaway train to an ending that was both shocking and inevitable. If you are looking for a great summer thriller that will chill you to the bone read What My sister Knew.