Eighteen-year-old Bresha blames herself for her younger sister’s death. She knew that Arlene was gullible and fragile. Yet she still let her tone-deaf sister meet with Saul Sanderstorm, a record company mogul whose charisma is as big as his temper.
When Arlene is found floating in Camden Lock canal, the police call it suicide. But Bresha knows different. She knows that sleazy Saul is somehow to blame. And so does Arlene’s ghost. Why else would she fog up mirrors and trace the letter S for Saul through the condensation on the glass? Now, Bresha has to find a way to prove that Saul’s guilty.
She lops off her Nordic blond hair, goes undercover and gets a work experience job at Saul’s record label. It’s a dangerous, almost blundering spy game. The game is hampered when Bresha develops an office crush on a super hot techno DJ, who turns out to be Saul’s son.
When Bresha discovers that Saul is getting a kick out of mentally breaking singers, she wonders if this happened to Arlene. The truth has to be ugly and shocking. Because why else would Saul be prepared to do anything to conceal it?
Soon, Bresha faces a choice. Risk her life to unearth the facts. Or drop the case and be forever tormented by her sister’s ghost.
Someone was screaming. She realised that it was her. She found herself on her feet. She took off down the path, her breath jagged, her shoes pounding over the gravel. Fire flashed against her legs, as the nettles stung her.
She ran a few more steps. She had to be faster than him. Surely, she was faster. He was paunchy old man. Her feet hit a boulder and she stumbled. She felt his hands on her back. Slam. He pushed her down. A burning pain shot across her cheek, as her face smashed into the gravel.
She scrambled up and ran on. He sprang on her from behind. Again, he brought her down. She twisted around. He threw himself on top of her, his weight crushing her. She reached up and tried to claw his face but he caught her hands and pinned them down by her sides onto the path.
“You will not to do this to me,” he snarled. “You will not ruin me.”
Bresha tried to speak but her tongue was frozen. She gazed into his eyes, hoping to reason with him on an unspoken level, human to human. She’d read somewhere that eyes were supposed to be the view point into people’s souls. Now she saw his soul. It looked like the photograph of a cancerous organ on the side of a cigarette packet, black and festering.
He brought his head towards her lips. Was he going to kiss her like he might have been trying to do that day on the couch? She turned her head away, pushing one side of her face into the grit. He’d never kiss her. She’d die before he kissed her.
She felt him bite into her neck. He was giving her love bite, the sick pig. She screamed as he drew blood.
Lost Boy – Ruth B
This tune is dreamy and other-worldly exactly like Arlene – the girl on the front cover and the sister in my novel. When Arlene is alive, she often feels lost or overwhelmed by what’s happening and retreats into her head.
Don’t Let Me Down – The Chainsmokers (feat. Daya)
Don’t let me down, I need you right now – go the lyrics of the song. This is how Bresha feels when Arlene starts communicating with her from the dead. Bresha doesn’t want to let her sister down. She wants to find out how she died . . . even though this seems impossible.
Turn Down For What – DJ Snake, Lil Jon
The energy of this track is off-the-chain! It feels hard and spiky. And it reminds me of the energy in London or in any big city, which seems to flow through everything like a boiling undercurrent. I imagine this playing as Bresha hurries through the high-rises to find Pixie, a rapper with the bubblegum pink hair. Bresha thinks that Pixie knows what happened to Arlene. Only Pixie is clearly too scared to tell her.
About the Author
British born Lara Sleath has been writing stories – on paper and in her head – for as long as she can remember. But gave up on the idea of becoming a writer because she believed that the idea was too far-fetched. Instead she took the only slightly more sensible option of working in the music industry.
But even that proved too dull for Lara. In her mid-twenties, she set off from London with her boyfriend in a battered VW van. Their aim was to drive to India. They arrived a quarter of a year after adventures with warlords and after having seen many mind-blowing sights.
Today, the boyfriend in the beaten-up VW van is Lara’s husband. She lives with him and their two children in Vancouver, Canada close to the ocean and the mountains. Lara writes every day surrounded by an army of cats. For Her Sister is her debut novel.