cover image People Person

People Person

Candice Carty-Williams. Scout, $27.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-5011-9604-1

Carty-Williams’s underwhelming sophomore effort (after Queenie) follows five London siblings and half siblings who were raised by their mothers, and hardly glimpsed their father, Jamaican playboy bus driver Cyril Pennington. As adults, they’ve gone their separate ways, never having cause to interact, much less build meaningful relationships. That is, until protagonist Dimple Pennington, an aspiring social media influencer at 30 who lives with her mother, lands in hot water after a fight with her abusive boyfriend, Kyron, ends with him slipping and falling in their kitchen. Dimple, worried Kyron is dead and she will be accused of murder, calls her oldest sister, Nikisha, for help, and Nikisha arrives on the scene with the other three siblings—a dramatic if implausible development. A wild romp ensues as they try to hide Kyron’s body. As Dimple faces a ticking clock involving a nude photo and blackmail, the plot oscillates between the quest to put the incident with Kyron behind them and the siblings’ developing relationships with one another. As Cyril slips back into their lives, they begin to understand him through his own family history. The juicy premise gives way to conflicts that are solved too easily, and there are too many anticlimactic scenes. There’s potential here, but’s rather frustratingly not realized. Agents: Deborah Schneider and Gelfman Schneider, ICM Partners. (Sept.)