Sally is so frightened of her abusive boyfriend that she refuses to tell Detective Inspector Laura Kesey what happened but instead accepts an offer of a place at a refuge for the victims of domestic violence. The refuge, located in the centre of Welsh village Caerystwyth is run by Ivy Breen, a former domestic victim herself, but Ivy has an unconventional method of empowering the women in her care.
Rather than identifying as victims, the women become vigilantes, taking matters of right and wrong into their own hands with the support of Ivy, who has a Machiavellian way of covering her tracks and manipulating the justice system.
When Sally’s abusive boyfriend is released from prison and attempts to confront her at the refuge, she is taken under Ivy’s wing and introduced to the unique way the women at the refuge move on from their pasts.
From broken and bruised to cunning killers, the women will stop at nothing to ensure that toxic and violent men no longer roam the streets.
But will DI Kesey uncover what’s going on, gathering enough evidence to dismantle the group, or will the women’s bloodletting continue?
The Sisters is a dark, gritty, and compulsive read that achieves the feat of making the reader root for the underdog.
Author John Nicholl was a policeman before heading up child protection services in Carmarthenshire, Wales.
This direct experience of dealing with police investigations, supporting victims and encountering abusers shows in Nicholl’s writing, with vivid, realistic descriptions of police investigations making the novel particularly compelling.
Nicholl’s personal experience of working with victims of trauma is evident in the complex and sensitive approach he takes in portraying the impact of domestic abuse on his characters.
The Sisters is an engaging and thought-provoking novel that handles challenging subject matter in a way that is intelligent and nuanced, while also proving entertaining and addictive.
A must-read thriller to be added to your winter reading list.