Monday, October 23, 2023

Book Review: Blood Sisters

By Melissa Smoot

There are secrets in the land.

As an archeologist for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Syd Walker spends her days in Rhode Island trying to protect the land's indigenous past, even as she’s escaping her own.

While Syd is dedicated to her job, she’s haunted by a night of violence she barely escaped in her Oklahoma hometown fifteen years ago. Though she swore she’d never go back, the past comes calling.

When a skull is found near the crime scene of her youth, just as her sister, Emma Lou, vanishes, Syd knows she must return home. She refuses to let her sister's disappearance, or the remains, go ignored—as so often happens in cases of missing Native women.

But not everyone is glad to have Syd home, and she can feel the crosshairs on her. Still, the deeper Syd digs, the more she uncovers about a string of missing indigenous women cases going back decades. To save her sister, she must expose a darkness in the town that no one wants to face—not even Syd. (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon.)

Blood Sisters is about a Cherokee woman, Syd Walker, who grew up in Northeastern Oklahoma. Syd has since left her small town and moved to Rhode Island where she works as an Archeologist for the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). Syd spends her workdays searching for answers in the cases of missing Indigenous women and girls, some going back decades.

Syd gets a call from back home about a skull that was found near a crime scene that she has tried to move on from for the past 15 years, she must return to Oklahoma to help solve the mystery, just as her sister, Emma Lou, goes missing. The last thing Syd wants to do is go back to the place where she and her sister almost lost their lives in a traumatic night of violence.

The story takes many frenetic twists and turns and has Syd suspicious of everyone she meets, in her hometown. Who is hiding what really happened to Emma Lou and who can she trust?

By the time I was a third of the way through the book, I couldn’t wait until I could sneak away to devour more and find out who was behind the disappearance of Emma Lou and all the girls who had vanished before her. Up until the very end I was on the edge of my seat.

 I have been very fortunate to have read and reviewed so many wonderful books this year, and this one is no different. I really connected with this story. As a member of the Muskogee Creek Tribe, also located in Oklahoma, the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous Women and Children is something I feel deeply about.

This story is worth a read. It is filled with history, friendship, suspense, and the ups and downs of family bonds as well as small town roots. I really hope someone options this book for a movie, I would be first in line to watch.

Thanks to Berkley for the book in exchange for an honest review.

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