The Killer's Cousin

Nav:Home > Teens > Mysteries & Thrillers > The Killer's Cousin

Press: Perfection Learning (February 1, 2000)
Publication Date:2000-2
Author Name:Werlin, Nancy


After seventeen-year-old David is forced to stand trial for his girlfriend’s death, he is sent to live with his aunt and uncle and their young daughter, Lily, to avoid the media frenzy. 
But all is not well at his relatives’ house.
His aunt and uncle are not speaking to each other, and Lily seems dead set on making David’s life a torment.
And then there’s the issue of their older daughter, Kathy, who died under mysterious circumstances a number of years back.
As things with his family grow more and more tense, David starts to wonder: Is he the only one who’s hiding something? “David and Lily are sympathetic characters, who compel readers to discover the whole truth behind their stories.
Once they get started, readers will be hard pressed to put this book down.” – VOYA, starred review “[A] tautly plotted thriller, rich in complex, finely drawn characters.” – Booklist, starred review

From Publishers Weekly

"Many secrets bubble just beneath the surface of this skillful thriller narrated by a high-school senior who has been accused--and acquitted--of murdering his girlfriend," said PW in a starred review. 
Ages 14-up.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Audible Audio Edition edition.

From School Library Journal

Grade 8 Up-David Yaffe, 18, having recently been acquitted of murdering his girlfriend, is sent to live in Cambridge, MA, with his aunt Julia, uncle Vic, and cousin Lily to repeat his senior year of high school. 
Lily, 11, is resentful of his presence; she feels that her dead sister Kathy's room is rightfully hers, and that he should not be staying in it.
Lily taunts and torments David until he begins to doubt his own sanity.
His emotional fragility is compellingly revealed as he works through the loss of his girlfriend and the complicity he feels over her death.
Readers see Lily through David's eyes; she is alternately depicted as the troubled child of dysfunctional parents, a spoiled brat, and a truly evil character.
She plays on his fears and pushes David to the edge until he realizes what he has always known: that she, too, is a killer.
This psychological thriller will keep readers involved and should appeal to fans of Lois Duncan and Joan Lowery Nixon.Michele Snyder, Chappaqua Public Library, NYCopyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Audible Audio Edition edition.

From Booklist

In this utterly terrifying psychodrama, a teenager already laboring under a crushing load of guilt finds himself cleverly, relentlessly stalked by his 11-year-old cousin.
David killed his lover.
The fact that it was accidental and that he's been acquitted of her murder, matters to him not at all.
To finish high school and perhaps find a way to live with himself, he moves away from home to stay with Massachusetts relatives, where, in an attic apartment that may be haunted, he lives above a family driven seriously dysfunctional by a daughter's apparent suicide four years before.
His hosts' remaining daughter, Lily, greets him coldly and starts a campaign of surreptitious harassment designed to enrage him beyond control.
Why? Powerless to stop her and unable to make her parents believe that she needs help, David hangs on grimly, meanwhile trying to fit in at a new school and finding there an unexpected friend.
Positioning her characters in an intricate, shadowy web of secrets, deception, bad choices, family feuds, and ghostly warnings, Werlin winds the tension to an excruciating point, then releases it in a fiery climax: realizing in the nick of time that he's not the only killer in the family, David races into a burning house to save Lily from suicide, then promises her that she won't be alone with her anguish any longer.
With this tautly plotted thriller, rich in complex, finely drawn characters, Werlin more than fulfills the promise of her first novel, Are You Alone on Purpose? (1994).
John Peters

--This text refers to the Audible Audio Edition edition.


"Teens will find this tautly plotted thriller, rich in complex, finely drawn characters, an absolute page-turner."--Booklist"The novel's gothic flavor, compelling minor characters . 
and subtle exploration of guilt and complicity add texture to this tense psychological drama."--Publishers Weekly, starred"Readers will be hard pressed to put this book down."--VOYA, starred

--This text refers to the Audible Audio Edition edition.

From the Inside Flap

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 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 her home.There's one thing that David knows with certainty.
The more he learns about his cousin Lily, the harder it is to avoid thinking about his own past.

--This text refers to the Audible Audio Edition edition.

From the Back Cover

"Teens will find this tautly plotted thriller, rich in complex, finely drawn characters, an absolute page-turner."--Booklist"The novel's gothic flavor, compelling minor characters . 
and subtle exploration of guilt and complicity add texture to this tense psychological drama."--Publishers Weekly, starred"Readers will be hard pressed to put this book down."--VOYA, starred

--This text refers to the Audible Audio Edition edition.

About the Author

NANCY WERLIN was born in Massachusetts, where she still lives. 
In writing for teenagers, she always strives to combine the emotional intensity of a coming-of-age story with the page-turning tension of a suspense thriller.
Nancy’s books have won numerous awards and accolades, including the Edgar award for The Killer’s Cousin, which was also named one of the “100 Best of the Best for the 21st Century” by the American Library Association.
Her most recent book, The Rules of Survival, was a National Book Award Finalist.
Visit her web site at

--This text refers to the Audible Audio Edition edition.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

I sat down. 
"I don't remember.
You'd better tell me."My father nodded.
We looked at each other straight on for possibly the first time, neither of us looking away.He said, "I was at the inquest.
It--Kathy's death--was ugly.
She ingested a glass of cleaning solvent.
Ammonia of some kind.
She was taking a bubble bath, and apparently had the glass all ready next to the tub.
She drank half of it--more wasn't required.
It burned out her throat, and she sank down under the water.
The actual cause of death was drowning.
There was water in her lungs."And Lily .
Well, Kathy had locked the door to the attic but Lily knew where the key was.
She had sneaked in before.
She liked to hang out here when Kathy wasn't in."Now, that sounded like Lily to me.
"So she thought Kathy was out?" I asked."I think so," said my father.
"Her testimony was a little confused.
She was only seven.
The judge was very gentle with her.""What did she see?" I asked."At first she didn't realize Kathy was there.
The bathroom door was closed.
Then she heard a noise .
probably the glass crashing to the floor." My mother made a sound, a soft involuntary mew, and my father paused for a moment, glancing at her, before continuing."Lily said she burst into the bathroom--yelling 'Boo!' or something.
The bathroom door wasn't locked.
You understand that it would all have happened very quickly.
Kathy would have been beneath the water already.
Lily said she thought Kathy was playing a game, holding her breath under the water.
But she didn't come up.""Lily got all wet," said my mother.
"She tried to pull Kathy out .
."The ice cream I'd eaten earlier threatened to push its way back up my throat."Lily even tried to pick up the glass," my father said.
"But of course it had shattered on the tile when Kathy dropped it, so Lily's hands got cut up.
And her knees .
She kept saying it was her fault.
Children that age, they often think they're responsible for everything."I had a vivid picture of Lily kneeling on the shards by the tub, pulling desperately at Kathy.
"Okay," I said.
"That's enough." But then I thought of something else."This was about Kathy's boyfriend?" I asked.
"The one who dumped her?""Yes," said my mother."Well," said my father, the stickler for detail, "that's what the inquest concluded.
The letter from him was on the kitchen counter."I asked, "Did Kathy write a note or something?""No," he said, then added, "I wish she had.
It would have been .
not easier, perhaps, but more final." He shrugged.
"People usually leave letters, but not always.
This could have been a sudden impulse.
Probably Kathy didn't really intend to die.
Just to get sick.
To scare her boyfriend, perhaps.
And maybe Vic and Julia, too.
They'd been fighting."I found myself staring across the room into the bathroom.
Its door was ajar, and I could see the edge of the tub inside."Why were Vic and Julia fighting with Kathy?" I asked."They'd been fighting since she dropped out of college," my mother said.
"She'd been commuting to U.
Mass, Boston.
Do you remember?""Something, yeah," I said.
What I suddenly did remember were my mother's comments about it.
Julia won't pull her claws out of Kathy.
Mark my words: That girl will never get away."So they were angry at Kathy for dropping out of school?" I asked."Yes.
They'd been letting her live here rent free.
But when she dropped out and got a job, Julia said she had to start paying." My mother's tone dripped disapproval."That doesn't sound unreasonable," I said, and heard my father's grunt of agreement."She wasn't earning very much money," retorted my mother.
"And I think, with a little understanding and support, she would have gone back to school.
But Julia's attitude made her dig in harder.
Julia always makes you want to do the opposite of what she says."That was true.
I moved on.
"So they fought about college and about rent money? And Julia and Vic were in agreement?""Well," my mother said.
"My brother .
."I waited."At first, Vic didn't take the rent money from Kathy.
She'd give him a check and he'd deposit it, but then he'd give her back the cash.
Julia didn't know.""Tell him, Eileen," said my father."I was going to!" my mother said.
But then she sighed.
"Oh, God.
This is embarrassing.
David, it was my idea.
Vic asked me about charging Kathy rent .
he wasn't sure .
so I told him to give Kathy back the money.
Secretly.""It was a spectacular piece of meddling," observed my father calmly.
"Your mother outdid herself.""I was only thinking of Kathy!" my mother protested."You were thinking of needling Julia, and you know it.""Oh, and you're so perfect yourself!" Then her voice changed.
"I've said I was sorry.
I've said it again and again .
to Vic, to Julia.
I couldn't be sorrier.""Julia found out?" I asked, even though I already knew.
It explained so much."Naturally," said my father."Shut up, Stuart," said my mother.
"Yes, David, she found out.
Kathy told her--yelled it at her--in the middle of a fight."I could picture it.
Perhaps they had had that fight right here, in this living room.
Perhaps Julia had said, Your father and I .
and Kathy had flung back, Dad doesn't agree with you! He agrees with me! Do you know what he does? Do you know .
.It was odd.
I could almost hear her.
Almost see her as she screamed at Julia, her shoulders stiff like Lily's so often were.
Kathy? I thought.
Kathy, are you there? Are you here?I heard it then, plainly.
The humming."David?" said my mother.I looked up.
"Yes?""Julia has never forgiven me," my mother said.
"But I am most sincerely sorry.
I've told her.
I told her then, and after Kathy .
and I've written .
." Her voice trailed off."I understand," I said."I thought I meant well.
But your father is right, too.
Julia and I .
I'd gotten into the habit of, well, I was always trying to score points .
It went too far.
I went too far.
I know that."I said, "It's okay," and I heard her sigh.
I listened as my mother told the rest of the story.After the incident over the rent, Kathy had begun paying for real.
Julia collected the checks, and kept a sharp eye on the checking account to ensure that Vic gave Kathy no extra money.
My mother believed that this, and not Kathy's death, was the true beginning of Vic and Julia's estrangement.
And then Kathy's new boyfriend had entered the scene."He wasn't a nice Catholic boy," said my mother.
"Or even a nice Jewish boy.
But I don't know a lot about it.
My brother .
wasn't talking very much to me right then.
He had long hair.
The boy, I mean." Her eyes skittered away from my own hair, longer than it had ever been.
"An earring too.
Of course no job.
And of course they were .
." She gave me a quick look, swallowed, and finished bravely.
having sex."It was an odd moment to realize I loved her, my sturdily Catholic--despite the conversion--mother; I grinned at her.
For a second, as our eyes held, I thought we might both laugh.
Then she ducked her head.
It was all perfectly ordinary, really.
Julia overreacted.
Anyway, it only lasted three months.
But by the end, nobody was talking, even to argue."Nobody talking.
Typical Shaughnessy.
Typical Yaf-I said quickly, "And then Kathy died.""Yes," said my mother.
"Yes."That was all.After a while, my parents went to bed, and I flung myself onto the sofa.
Then I got up, and prowled into the bathroom; looked at the tub.
It needed a good scrubbing.
I had never bothered.If I closed my eyes I could almost see Kathy there.
See the shadow; hear the humming.All at once I couldn't bear being in the house.
I put on my running clothes and headed out, fast.The Shaughnessy apartment was dark.
The only indication that Vic and Julia were there was the fact that their bedroom door was closed.Lily's door was also shut.
For some reason I paused outside it for a few seconds.
It wasn't all Lily's fault that she was so odd.
Terrible things had happened in her short life.I was halfway down the stairs when I realized that I hadn't asked my parents about Lily.
What had been going on with her while Kathy quit school, got a job and a boyfriend, and fought with her parents? Very likely my mother and father would not have known.
What was there to know about a seven-year-old? That she had been in second grade? That she had liked to sneak into the attic where her big sister lived, to play at being grown-up?I should live here, Lily had said of the attic, on the day I moved in.
It's all wrong.And then I wondered: Why would she want to live in the place where she'd seen her sister die?

--This text refers to the Audible Audio Edition edition.

From AudioFile

The intrigue begins immediately as 17-year-old David moves into the tension-filled home of his Boston relatives. 
He has one year of high school left and must finish far from home, tortured by the memories of the trial that took place after he accidentally killed his girlfriend.
Nick Podehl's narration reveals apprehension and shock as David experiences the strange snipes of his aunt and uncle, and their daughter, Lily.
Soon a tone of suspicion filters through David's thoughts and words as he begins to believe that Lily may have been responsible for her sister's death some years earlier, at the time believed to be a suicide.
Understandably, fear creeps into Podehl's voice as David becomes haunted by the words and actions of his late cousin.
© AudioFile 2009, Portland, Maine

--This text refers to the Audible Audio Edition edition.


Teens,Mysteries & Thrillers,Mystery & Detective,Literature & Fiction,Social & Family Issues,Family

 PDF Download And Online Read: The Killer's Cousin



Comment List (Total:15)

  •     This was an invaluable tool for struggling readers, they were able to keep up with students reader the print version.
  •     Really good book. Great characters and really interesting story line. Bought it for myself then for my nephew and really enjoyed it.
  •     This is a great book. I couldn't stop reading it. The Killer's Cousin is truly amazing and one of my favorite books.
  •     I knew when I started the first chapter how it would end. Like the title of my review says predictable. I kept reading only because I paid for the book. Sometimes the wording was awkward. For instance in one place it said that I put on the lights. How exactly do you put lights on? Another is when he talks about his dresser but it's a bedroom dresser. Is there another kind? I had to look to see when this book was written because the slang was out of date. No one says the net anymore referring to the internet. Also Tara Lipinski as a favorite ice skater? Even when this book was written in 2009 she had been retired for several years. I'm supposed to believe that an 11 year old girl knows who she is and that Lipinski is her favorite ice skater? Very doubtful.
  •     I don't have very much to say about this book. I think it was probably the weakest of Werlin's books that I've read so far.
  •     I LOVE this book! I first read it when I was in 10th grade in my English class and instantly fell in love with it.
  •     This book is entirely different than what I usually read and I still loved it. Some parts are a bit slow, but overall it is really fascinating.
  •     My son had to read this for summer reading, he really enjoyed it and it was an easy read.
  •     While I felt that this book was well written, the plot moved very slow and at times I felt like skipping to the end to find out what really happened. I think the character development was good but if you want a page turner, I highly recommend Please Listen by Carrie Vanlandingham. This book had me wanting to run home and check on my kids and students. I finished it in one night and still can't beleive what I read.
  •     A very good book. At first I didn't think i would enjoy it because i had it as my summer reading assignment over the summer but then after i started reading it i couldn't put it...
  •     3.5 of 5 starsAfter being acquitted of killing his girlfriend, David moves to Boston for a fresh start.
  •     I read this book last night in one sitting. Wow! I'm 24 (does that count as "young adult"?) and I was mightily impressed and enjoyed it immensely. It might not be appropriate for some younger teens, and it's classification as YA seems quite incidental (to me). Great book :-)
  •     Firstly I want to mention this book is a page turner and very difficult to put down. Now with that being said, I loved the suspense of this book. David was acquitted of murder of his girlfriend Emily the year before. His parents have moved him to his aunt and uncle's house to live with them to finish out his senior year in high school. He's not really welcomed when he arrives and his little cousin, Lilly is very upset he's invading. Vic and Julia are very distant from each other so much so, they use Lilly as the go-between in all conversations. Lilly herself is more than a bit disturbing for an 11 year old. She asks things of David like, `how did it feel', etc etc.David will make a friend at his new school too, Frank, a skinhead. I think he adds just the right thing to the story. David needed a nonjudgmental friend who's an outcast himself. At the end they will become the best of friends. However, I would have liked to learn more about Frank.*****Spoilers below*****As the conclusion to the story moves closer to the end David learns that Lilly is the killer of her older sister that everyone thought committed suicide because it's just not possible a 7 year old child (at the time) could do something like that. What annoyed me most about this book is the fact that it's never really said what David did to Emily. I think he beat her to death in a rage, but it's unanswered. Also, it annoys me that Lilly is such a demon and yet it feels as though you are supposed to feel sorry for her because she's a child. From the start I did not like Lilly; I did like David, just wish more was explained about the murder he committed. David's aunt Julia is a witch, she spends most the book being nasty or very cold to David. Also, I almost had to laugh out loud at how Julia and Vic were completely blind to the fact that their precious little girl was a monster and how they felt it was alright to use her against each other and relay messages. How childish adults can be. And how blind. I can also say at no point did I ever feel sorry for either David or Lilly, I just preferred David to Lilly.All in all, this was a great book and I look forward to reading more from this author.
  •     This book was a great addition to my bookshelf. I only read it because my daughter was reading it for school and I am glad.
  •     Nancy Werlin picks another interesting topic to address in her book.This novel is a killer's story, a story of a teenager who was acquitted of his girl-friend's murder...

Relation Books


Legal Theory & Systems,Cooking Methods,Physics,Dentistry,Other Team Sports,Infantil y juvenil,Cars, Trains & Things That Go,Christian Denominations & Sects Book,。 FreeBook 

FreeBook @ 2017