Blood Sisters

Syd Walker Book 1

Vanessa Lillie

Berkley Pub

Oct 31st, 2023

Blood Sisters by Vanessa Lillie combines a riveting mystery within a thrilling plot. This is a story of the main character’s personal journey as she attempts to overcome her past demons and strives to balance her Native American identity with her current life.

“This is the first book in the series. The story is set in Northeast Oklahoma, which is where I am from.  I wanted to write about my hometown and the surrounding towns.  The town in the story, is based on the history of a real town where there was oil and minerals, lead, and zinc.  It became a boom town overnight.  I wanted to incorporate my real history within my fictional characters backstory. I also wanted to write about the meth production, the Mexican Cartels coming into NE Oklahoma, and the legislative changes which is all accurate for the time, in 2008. I wanted to show how the illegal drug of meth combined with the legal Opioid drugs caused a lot of devastation in so many communities.”

Syd Walker, the protagonist, now lives in Rhode Island with her wife Mali, working for the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). She moved there from Oklahoma because of her violent past. Fifteen years ago she barely escaped from being killed when two masked men came into the trailer she, her sister, and her best friend were staying. She was able to rescue her sister, Emma Lou, but her best friend, Luna Myers was murdered.  She is guilt ridden and haunted literally by Luna’s ghost, who speaks to her ala Charles Todd whose ghost Hamish haunts Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge.

“Syd is a badass—with a lot of vulnerability.  I wanted to show through this character how someone processes trauma. She cares about justice, what she believes is right.  She is haunted and struggles to connect with people. She is not direct and a loner. She has a little bit chip on her shoulder. She is very loyal and will do anything to find, help, and save her. Even putting her life at risk.  Syd had created boundaries in her life, but at the end of the day when her sister was at risk, she would do anything to save her sister.”

After Syd’s old BIA ID badge from a college internship is found inside a skull on BIA-managed land she is asked by her BIA supervisor, Jo Mankiller, to investigate.  Reluctantly, she returns to her hometown and learns that her sister Emma Lou, an opiate addict, has vanished, one of many Indigenous women to have recently disappeared from the area. She begins to investigate the women’s disappearances, hoping her inquiry might finally bring her face-to-face with Luna’s killer.

“Luna is haunted by her. Ghost Luna is a manifestation of trauma and pain that Syd carries.  She appears during Syd’s stress. She is based on an old memory of a teenage friend when they were girls.”

The blending of the culture and history made the plot even more interesting. Readers take the journey with Syd as she tries to reconcile her past, come to terms with her demons, and attempting to rebuild a relationship with her family.



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About the Author

Elise Cooper

Elise writes book reviews that always include a short author interview.