The Killer's Cousin - Nancy Werlin

Killer's cousinAnother thriller.

I was long overdue in my reading of The Killer's Cousin. I should have read it ages ago, back when I was still at the Monkey, since Nancy Werlin is a Boston writer and all (she lives in Southie, according to the book jacket, but it's from '98, so she may've moved by now).

David has just been aquitted of murder in his hometown, and so he's moved up to Cambridge, MA, with his uncle's family to re-do his senior year.

This book was geniunely creepy—not just because of anything supernatural (although there is some of that in the book), but because of the family dynamics:

I'm imagining things, I thought. Shadows, noises, atmosphere... I looked at Vic again, and Julia saw me do it. She said smoothly, "Lilian, ask your father if he'd like seconds."

I blinked. I recieved my plate back. Lily said, "Dad, would you like some more stew?"

Yes, please, Lily," said Vic.

I watched as Vic passed his plate to Lily, who passed it on to Julia, who filled it generously and passed it back via Lily to Vic.

"Thank you," said Vic to Lily.

"He says thanks," said Lily to Julia.

"He's welcome," said Julia.

"She says you're welcome," said Lily to Vic.

The other part of the creepiness is Lily. She's the creepiest eleven-year-old that I've ever read about:

The expression on Lily's face made me stop talking. "You interrupted me," she said.

I opened my mouth to apologize, and then closed it. When had control slipped from me to Lily? She was standing there, facing me, perfectly self-possessed despite her rage.

She waited until she was sure I wouldn't interrupt her again. Then she said, "You told my father to talk to my mother instead of me." She leaned forward suddenly. "Didn't you?"

The answer popped from my mouth. "Yes," I said.

Lily caught her breath. "I knew it was your fault."

It was fun reading about the Cambridge area—Nancy Werlin obviously knows it well—but it was a little depressing when David goes shopping in Harvard Square and goes to both WordsWorth and Tower Records. What's even left in Harvard Square? The Gap? Yuck.