The Killer's Cousin
|Publisher:||Delacorte Books for Young Readers|
Recently acquitted of murder, 17-year-old David has moved to Massachusetts to complete his senior year of high school. His aunt and uncle have offered him shelter—escape from the media’s incessant questions and from the uncertain glances of his neighbors and ex-friends.
His attic apartment doesn’t feel much like a shelter, though. He sees ghostly shadows at night, his aunt is strangely cold, and his 11-year-old cousin Lily is downright hostile. And as Lily’s behavior becomes more and more threatening, David can’t help but wonder what ugly secrets lurk within the walls of Lily’s home.
There’s one thing David knows with certainty. The more he learns about his cousin Lily, the harder it is to avoid thinking about his own past.
Ever since David Yaffe was acquitted of murder in the accidental death of his girlfriend, he has felt that “for the rest of my life, over and over, I would have to convince everyone—including me—of my harmlessness.” To escape media attention and the prying stares of the curious, he is sent to finish his senior year of high school in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he lives in the attic apartment of his Aunt Julia and Uncle Vic. They receive him coldly, and his 11-year-old cousin, Lily, is openly hostile. (The apartment previously belonged to their older daughter Kathy, who died an apparent suicide at age 18.) With a haunting series of episodes—including a sporadic humming and a fleeting shadow—David begins to sense Kathy’s eerie and powerful presence.
His loneliness and self-distrust is relieved only by his friendship with Raina, an art student who lives downstairs—until Lily’s spying and harassing destroys the relationship. Lily’s anger escalates into more and more vicious tricks, but when David confronts Vic and Julia, they refuse to believe that Lily needs help. At last David is forced to realize that he and Lily share a complicity in murder, in a blazing climax that resolves this subtle psychological thriller. (Ages 12 and older) —Patty Campbell