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Murder Reading For Fans of BAD SISTERS (AKA JP Must Die!)

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Jamie Canaves

Contributing Editor

Jamie Canavés is the Tailored Book Recommendations coordinator and Unusual Suspects mystery newsletter writer–in case you’re wondering what you do with a Liberal Arts degree. She’s never met a beach she didn’t like, always says yes to dessert, loves ‘80s nostalgia, all forms of entertainment, and can hold a conversation using only gifs. You can definitely talk books with her on Litsy and Goodreads. Depending on social media’s stability maybe also Twitter and Bluesky.

Bad Sisters on Apple TV+ is an absolute joy of a show. Did I just call a show about a group of sisters trying to kill their brother-in-law a joy? Yes, yes I did. It’s a high stakes feeling show without actually being high stakes, so it’s perfect during our very stressful current times. What I mean by feeling high stakes and not being high stakes is you already know the murder victim, John Paul, and you’re just waiting for the how. And, if you’re anything like me, you’re rooting to see the murder in the past scenes even if you already know it happened. Because John Paul is a horrible human being top to bottom, hence why his four sister-in-laws have joined together to plot his murder.

They are however not trained killers, nor good untrained killers, so as the show goes along we watch them trying and failing to murder John Paul. All the while two brothers who run an insurance agency are investigating in the present if John Paul died by accident or not. Do they care about John Paul and justice? Absolutely not: they will lose their business if they have to pay out the life insurance policy. It’s an excellent show, with a great cast that blends family drama with a murder howdunnit, and an amateur sleuth investigating team. If you too have been impatiently waiting every week for a new episode and are beyond bummed (tv hungover?) that it’s almost finished (the season finale drops Friday, October 14th), here are some books like Bad Sisters you might enjoy based on elements from the show.

The Despised Central Figure Should Die

cover image for The Last Party

The Last Party by Clare Mackintosh (November 8th, Sourcebooks)

Like in Bad Sisters. you get multiple POVs, a pair of investigators, and a murdered man with plenty of suspects because he was awful. Rhys Lloyd, a former famous person building an exclusive lake front housing project being sold to people outside the community, is found dead on New Year’s Day. As you can imagine, it’s not going great with the locals. Enter DC Leo Brady of Cheshire Major Crimes and Ffion Morgan who is with the North Wales Police. Not only do they have plenty of suspects but they’re working from two different jurisdictions and only recently met with the intention of not meeting again.

The Intensity to Kill Someone you Hate

cover of Never Saw Me Coming, featuring a close-up of a young woman's face in sepia tones

Never Saw Me Coming by Vera Kurian

All the sisters have good reasons to hate JP and want him dead. You can find that same intensity in college student Chloe Sevre. She’s enrolled in a secret clinic program for psychopaths at the university she’s attending, which offers free tuition in exchange for participating in the program. She’s not there for the program nor education, she’s going to murder the man who assaulted her when she was younger and she’s set to revenge only. You also get multiple POVs like in Bad Sisters, in this case other students enrolled in the program: one trying his best to lead a quiet productive life and another lying about being a psychopath because he needs the scholarship. Did I mention someone has killed off a fellow student in the program, so naturally all fingers point toward those in the program?

A Whydunnit

cover image for When I am Through With You

When I Am Through with You by Stephanie Kuehn

Like in Bad Sisters, you get the guilty party up front, in this case you’re reading to find out why they did what they did. Ben Gibson is in juvenile detention and starts off the book by telling us he murdered his girlfriend Rose. From there we get the story, a camping trip, and a dark twisty ride…

Orphaned Siblings

cover image of The Turnout by Megan Abbot, showing a pair of pink ballet shoes and ribbon against a black background

The Turnout by Megan Abbott

If the focus on the family relationships was your favorite part of the show, here’s a slow burn, wait-for-it crime novel. Dara and Marie run a dance studio left to them by their parents who died in a car accident. Charlie is Dara’s husband, having grown up with them and moved in as a teenager. They are stressed at the moment trying to put together the annual Nutcracker production when a fire breaks out in the studio. They hire a contractor, which starts to turn their lives upside down and further deepens the cracks in the sisters’ relationship…

If You Liked The Sister Bonding And Fighting

Wahala by Nikki May book cover

Wahala by Nikki May

Okay, so they’re technically not sisters in this book but their relationships are very much like sisters. You get an opening scene that feels like something criminal may be happening but it’s vague and left unsolved. From there you go deep into the current lives of Ronke, Boo, and Simi. They’ve been close friends for almost two decades, having bonded initially over all of them being Anglo-Nigerian. They’re all very different personalities and in different places in their lives and love each other and fight like sisters would. But as a new woman enters the group, their friendships are put to the test and their current life issues become messier.

If You Wished It Had Been A Whodunnit

Not a Happy Family by Shari Lapena

Not A Happy Family by Shari Lapena

Here’s a family drama that is a whodunnit. Fred and Sheila Merton are murdered in their upstate New York home after an Easter Dinner with family. The prime suspects are their relatives, with a main focus on their three adult children. Everyone is despicable and a suspect as the POV changes until the final reveal!

If You Just Really Like the title of the Show and Want a Very Literal Book Recommendation

Cover of My Sister, The Serial Killer

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

This gives you the dark humor from the show, a murderous sister, and like the show a focus on women’s issues. Korede is used to cleaning up, literally, after her younger sister Ayoola who seems to find herself multiple times in a situation of murdering her boyfriends. But when Ayoola sets her eyes on the man Korede likes, the ties of sisterhood will be strained…

That’s it for books like Bad Sisters. Want more bookish TV reads? We got you.