When I first started Seven Sisters by Katherine Kovacic I was worried it was going in an obvious direction but then realised it wasn’t just me drawing parallels between the women we meet here and the book / movie Strangers on a Train. Rather Kovacic – via her characters – makes the point that they’re drawing their inspiration from exactly that… crossed with Greek mythology’s seven sisters, The Pleiades.
It changed the perspective for me and meant the book was more about the women, the crimes committed against their sisters and the hurt brought upon their families than the unfolding plot itself.
I must admit however, though we start by meeting Naomi, one of the ‘sisters’ and getting to know her, that’s really the extent to which we get the opportunity to really know any of them. What I love most about Kovacic’s Alex Clayton series are the characters she’s created and I felt that the lack of character development (or perhaps the scattered focus on several women) here meant that I didn’t enjoy it as much as I would have liked. I didn’t really connect with any of the women in particular, so wasn’t that invested in their stories.Seven Sisters
by Katherine Kovacic
Published by HarperCollins - AU
Source: Harper Collins
Genres: Thriller / Suspense
Naomi started grief counselling prepared to run for cover as soon as her therapist, Mia, pulled out a crystal or tried to align her chakras.
When Mia suggests that she join a support group, Naomi is sceptical: how could she begin to describe what it felt like to lose her sister, Jo? How could she possibly share her loss and rage to a room full of people? How could she express her helplessness that Jo's killer walks free on a suspended sentence?
And how could she share her deepest desire to see Jo's killer dead by her hand?
In the group sessions, Naomi finds that her experiences and her anger are shared between the other members: Gabrielle, Brooke, Katy, Olivia and Amy. Under the enigmatic leadership of Mia, a plan begins to take shape.
As I mentioned, I’m a fan of Kovacic’s other works of crime fiction – her Alex Clayton art dealer series and (more recently) her young Ms Peregrine Fisher book based on the spinoff TV show Ms Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries. In those books Kovacic’s background in art history and all-things-old-and-precious is obvious as she effortlessly offers up detail most of us would not notice. It’s the same here in her casual mention of architecture, furniture, decor and clothing.
Kovacic places us in the heads of all of the women here, though we start with Naomi who’s the last women recruited by therapist Mia to join her women’s group. I’d expected Naomi to play more of a role but she fades away a little and our narrator moves to the woman (the sister) who’s charged with the task (murder) at hand.
I read this over a couple of nights so ended up struggling a bit to remember who was who and the details of the crimes that brought them to Mia (how their sisters were killed). I realise however, the seven women were needed (well, six plus therapist Mia) to give the book enough would-be-murders and alibis.
We eventually learn a bit more about a confronting scene that opens the book and also Mia’s agenda and there’s a fairly satisfying ‘turn’ (as opposed to a twist!) at the end, but I think I was expecting something a little more nefarious to be added into the mix.
Having said that, I enjoyed this read and the insight or study into the women featured here, and of course it highlights the tragedy of violence against women – unfortunately topical and one that continues to see many perpetrators unpunished. Given the ethical or moral dilemmas on offer here I think this would make a brilliant bookclub read to kick off 2023.
Seven Sisters by Katherine Kovacic will be published by Harper Collins in early January 2023.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.