Gina is incredibly thankful when a personal reference from her new boyfriend lands her an assistant position role in a television production company. It’s not Gina’s ultimate dream job and the new boss is something of a controlling horror, but Gina has high hopes. Her suggestions for ways to increase the station’s market share will surely be taken seriously soon and the result will be Gina powering up through the ranks. Her employers need to reach new digital audiences in the fickle age of social media immediacy and Gina is sure much more could be done in this arena. Gina’s end goal of working in front of the camera rather than behind it however seems to be annoyingly always just out of reach.
Fate drops an opportunity into Gina’s lap one night when she discovers the body of a young woman left in an alleyway. Making the snap decision to live stream the discovery on her company social media page has life changing consequences for Gina. As the public’s interest turns from the unfolding murder investigation to focus instead on Gina’s thirsty reporting, Gina is terrified that her decisions have placed her under suspicion for the killing. When Gina is the one to find the next victim, the public has nothing left for her but vitriol and spite. There is a killer out there, and its evident that he is paying close attention to Gina’s every move.
THE OTHER SISTER has some good structural bones in the scene setting and a little included social commentary (as in that we’re all critical posters online) and so the first half of this book flies by. Protagonist Gina has a lot going on in her life, as does her brother Ryan. The loss of their sister when they were all young children haunts them still and created family rifts that were never repaired. The tension levels off as we find out more of Gina’s family history, and how reliant she is on her present day relationship with her illusionist boyfriend.
The separate storylines of Gina’s family history however and the modern day murders unfortunately just don’t come together convincingly. THE OTHER SISTER struggles to create a believable framework to support the intrigue. The family backstory has substance, and it is this that gives strength to a novel that falters with incorporating the crime element. The specifics of how the murders were carried out is not explored satisfactorily which would have helped with buying into the identity of the murderer. The motives… hmm. It might be a stretch, considering the work put into explaining how Gina came to be where she is now. This is where we wanted to source our reasonings from.
It’s true that it is not always necessary to have a likeable character to focus your concerns on and some readers may be invested enough to see the unlikeable folk in this novel receive their comeuppance. THE OTHER SISTER reinforces that our childhoods will always impact upon our future selves, and that everyone around us harbours their own secrets and biases.