Monday, March 7, 2022

Bad Blood Sisters by Saralyn Richard

Bad Blood Sisters
by Saralyn Richard is an engaging thriller of a murder mystery with intricate psychological twists. I love epigraphs, those short quotations at the beginning of books that often foretell the book’s themes. Bad Blood Sisters has four of them and they each provide clues to the coming mystery and its solution. The first two hint at the inner turmoil and profession of the book’s protagonist. 

The past is dead and buried. But I know that buried things have a way of rising to the surface when one least expects them to.”  — Dan Simmons, Prayers to Broken Stones

“Not everything buried is actually dead.” — Louise Penny, Bury Your Dead

Quinn and her family have a mortuary and funeral home and Quinn’s brother Jack has advanced diabetes and desperately needs a kidney transplant so Quinn has had to pick up the slack since Jack can no longer prepare bodies for burial. That makes it even more difficult for her to spend time with her boyfriend Josh, a fifth-year surgical resident at the local hospital, due to their often conflicting schedules. When word comes that Jack has a match for a transplant, their parents rush to the hospital and Quinn takes care of business at the mortuary. 

The next body entrusted to their care is that of murder victim Ana Renfroe who was Quinn’s childhood best friend, someone she hadn’t been close to for several years. Adding to the drama is the strong possibility that Jack might have received Ana’s kidney. That’s where the third and fourth of the book’s epigraphs hint that there may be more to Ana and Quinn’s abandoned friendship.

There is no place for secrets in sisterhood.” — Erin Forbes, Fire and Ice: The Kindred Woods

“I love you with everything I am. For so long I wanted to be just like you. But I had to figure out that I am someone too, and now I can carry you, your heart with mine, everywhere I go.” — Ava Dellaria, Love Letters to the Dead

Ana and Quinn had been extraordinarily close as young teenagers, but after pledging never to tell a secret, they drifted apart. Now Ana has been murdered and the police have discovered Quinn’s address on Ava’s calendar so they question her and she learns that Ana died while saying Quinn’s name. Author Saralyn Richard describes Quinn’s anguish well: “Her head was spinning with questions of her own, the same ones over again like a scratched CD. “ 

Soon Quinn’s home is vandalized and she begins receiving threatening notes. Her boyfriend wants to help, but she’s reluctant to open up to him completely despite loving him. Quinn hires an attorney who guides her and provides insight into what the police investigation is learning. Once again, our author offers more than a simple whodunnit with this description: “The attorney’s eyebrows were drawn so close together, like dark valances on a drapery rod. Quinn felt sorry for anyone having to oppose those eyebrows in court.”

As the investigation focuses more on Quinn and what she might know, she becomes determined to solve the case even if it leads her into danger. While this mystery offers just the right amount of escape, it also offers Quinn’s motivation to prove her worth to her mother who was always trying to make Quinn something bigger, something her mother could brag about. That determination leads Quinn into danger and readers go along for the tumultuous ride.

Summing it Up: Bad Blood Sisters is both a traditional whodunnit that you’ll want to gulp down in one sitting and a psychological tale of insight into the hidden costs of holding onto secrets that won’t stay buried. You’ll love Quinn’s growth and you’ll shiver at the climax of this engaging story. The characters are well-drawn, the mystery is plausible and intriguing, and the details are well-researched and realistic.

Attention Book Clubs: I lead several book groups and one of my favorite devices to promote discussion is talking about a book’s epigraphs and how they foreshadow the action and enliven the book’s themes. If you have a book club, the four epigraphs in this mystery will engage your members in a compelling discussion. 

Rating: 4 Stars

Categories: Chinese Carryout, Fiction, Grandma’s Pot Roast, Mysteries, Suspense, and Thrillers, Book Club

Publication Date: March 9, 2022

Author Website:

Interview with the Author:

What Others are Saying:

Midwest Book Review:

Saralyn Richard's Bad Blood Sisters has suspense and surprises aplenty. A gripping story of a woman wrenched from the safety of her life, and her race to reclaim it." "A delicious five-star mystery served with a side of nail-biting suspense and a dash of romance for dessert. Genre-smashing goodness!" —

“A delicious five-star mystery served with a side of nail-biting suspense and a dash of romance for dessert.” — Avanti Centrae, author of the VanOps thrillers

“A tense, suspenseful novel about engaging characters. Will Quinn lose her life and a chance at happiness because of a fifteen-year-old secret?” — Allison Brook, author of the Haunted Library mysteries 


  1. Many thanks for this pub day review. I'm so glad you appreciate epigraphs as much as I do. If book club readers invite me to lead discussions by zoom, I'd be delighted. It's an honor to be Chinese Carryout and Grandma's Pot Roast.

  2. What a great idea and a thrill for book clubs. Epigraphs are unsung heroes of literature.

  3. Great interview that really highlights all the book's twists and turns!