The Details: The Winter Sister by Megan Collins. Atria Books 337 pages. Mystery-thriller Amazon Hardcover $17
Blurb from Amazon: In this spellbinding and suspenseful debut, a young woman haunted by the past returns home to care for her ailing mother and begins to dig deeper into her sister’s unsolved murder.
My take: The Winter Sister follows a well-worn plot line about someone coming back to her hometown years after a murder--in this case, her sister's. We've seen this plot set-up so many times in the mystery-thriller genre it is beginning to feel stale (Sharp Objects, being an example that shoots to mind). Usually the town is some small, often backwoods, type place; the inhabitants are cliquish or suspicious. There is often resistance to the quest for truth. Anyone who travels in the mystery-thriller genre will instantly feel familiarity with this plot.
I could overlook this worn plot; I've overlooked it. before. But sadly, with The Winter Sister, there wasn't enough meat to clamp my hooks in to. Had the characters been more interesting, this wouldn't have been a problem. Sylvie (the sister who returns home to undercover the truth about her sister's disappearance and death) isn't all that interesting. Ben (the dead sister's old boyfriend) isn't all that interesting either despite a subplot about him dealing with his new wife who is deeply suspicious of him. The one and only interesting character barely got a glance: Tommy! Now, he was maniacal and reading about him caused more psychological thrills than anyone else, yet his story was brief and inconsequential. Too bad.
Overall, I felt this book (one of my Book of The Month selections) was okay--a fair read that would likely be better appreciated by those who don't read many mystery-thrillers.
Three Stars ***