The Bonesaw Killer is on death row after being caught in his basement with a man's arm (no one ever found out where the rest of the body got to), and shortly thereafter being convicted of a string of serial murders.
Kit and Fancy Cordelle are his teenaged daughters.
And more and more, they're starting to take after him.
But they live in Portero, Texas, a town that's used to monsters, magic and hidden doors*. So it's just possible that they'll be able to be true to themselves, to who they are—to follow in the footsteps of their father—without ultimately paying a price.
(Something tells me that a certain WSJ book reviewer would not approve.)
So, Slice of Cherry. Sisters, serial killers, vigilantism, magic, revenge, romance. It definitely should have been right up my alley. And in some respects, it was.
I loved the world. Well, worlds. Because there are two: Portero (which is also the setting of Bleeding Violet**—I love it when authors write different stories set in the same town), which is a weird and scary place, but also one that has a tight-knit community and a cool culture; and Kit and Fancy's Happy Place, a world in which they are, basically, gods.
I loved the revenge scenarios: Kit and Fancy tend towards the wickedly, appropriately ironic, and I'm a pushover for that. They're also hilarious (well, it's a dark hilarious):
"Ambulance schmambulance," said Kit, and poked him in his hurt side. She smiled when he screamed.
"I know," Kit said with exaggerated slowness, as though the prowler were feeble. "I stabbed you."
I loved that this book was more about their relationship than about their penchant for violence. And that it was about growing up and apart and back together again.
Despite all of the pluses, though, Slice of Cherry never really grabbed me. I enjoyed it well enough while I read, but I was easily distracted away, and never felt a panicked necessity to continue. I enjoyed a lot of the details: Like Fancy's dislike of profanity and discomfort with her sister's—and her own—burgeoning sexuality, even though she's comfortable with and comforted by committing horrible acts of violence. I enjoyed dialogue, scenes, and imagery, but it never gelled for me as a whole; and although I recognized and appreciated Kit and Fancy's emotional arc, I never felt it or the romances. Like the Jasper Fforde books, I liked the ideas—the worlds and the premise—in it more than I liked the book as a whole.
*"Who hasn't picked up a stray head? Remember that time when we were little, back when people still liked us? A whole bunch of us found this severed head in a field and played kickball with it?" No, Portero's not your everyday town.
**Which I haven't read yet. But I have a copy at home. So hopefully, it won't be long before I give it a try.