cover image The Guest List

The Guest List

Fern Michaels. Zebra Books, $7.5 (400pp) ISBN 978-0-8217-6657-6

The latest by Michaels (Celebration) is an eventful tale of sisterly love and simmering obsession. When their parents die suddenly under mysterious circumstances, five-year-old Abby Evans and her six-year-old sister, Mallory, are adopted by their dad's friend Donovan Mitchell and his new wife. Troubled Mallory is sent off to an institution and banished from the now-prosperous Mitchell family for more than a decade. Still missing her sister, Abby suffers yet another loss when her boyfriend, Connor, dies suddenly. The sisters are finally reunited in their early 20s, and Abby's life seems complete once again, with a wonderful new man, an opulent house and an instantly successful writing career. Trouble soon arises, however, when Mallory becomes convinced that their parents, along with Connor and several others, were actually murdered--and that Donovan Mitchell is the culprit. Abby bases her newest novel on that idea, and the two young women hunt for the clues they hope will roound out the story and clarify their complex past. The evidence is inconclusive until Abby and Mallory throw a lavish book-completion party, at which a violent encounter leads to the truth. Although the plotting is marred by coincidences, Michaels has crafted a smoothly written, dramatic tale full of incident and emotion. (Aug.)