cover image The Perfect Sister

The Perfect Sister

Stephanie DeCarolis. Bantam, $18 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-0-593-72601-3

A young woman investigates her older sibling’s disappearance in this rote outing from DeCarolis (The Guilty Husband). As encouraged by their recently deceased mother, Vivienne, adult sisters Alex and Maddie Walker have maintained a strong bond. After Vivienne’s funeral, Maddie leaves Alex at their Pennsylvania family home to summer in the Hamptons, but promises to return for Alex’s birthday. When that day arrives, however, Maddie fails to show up or return any phone calls, so Alex heads to the Hamptons to track her down. After she arrives, she learns that Maddie has been staying at the home of real estate developer James Blackwell and his family, who were the last people to see her before she disappeared. The Blackwells invite Alex to take her sister’s place in their pool house while she launches an investigation. She accepts the offer, and gradually unearths secrets about the Blackwell clan that make her suspect they know more about Maddie’s whereabouts than they’re letting on. DeCarolis smothers the plot with too many narrators (Alex, Maddie, all four Blackwells, and an anonymous local), and though the action is diverting, little of it is memorable. The result is a beach read without much bite. Agent: Melissa Edwards, Stonesong. (July)