Killer's Cousin
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Killer's Cousin

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  1,412 ratings  ·  198 reviews
Recently acquitted of murder, 17-year-old David goes to live with his aunt and uncle. In his attic apartment, he sees ghostly shadows at night and the hostile behavior of his 11-year-old cousin, Lily, becomes more threatening. Winner of the Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Mystery.
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published February 19th 2009 by Dial (first published October 13th 1998)
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okay, this book is not four-stars like proust is four-stars. this earns its rating because after reading a series of "ho-hum" and "meh-meh" teen books - this one was actually pretty good.

except for the epilogue, which made me a little embarrassed. ungood.

it's kind of a ghost story, it's kind of a mystery, it's kind of a story about a creepy little kid, it's kind of a coming-of-age story.

but it works.

it may be just that i read it in about an hour and a half, so my reading didn't get interrupted...more
After reading The Rules of Survivaland Impossible, I have become quite a fan of Nancy Werlin, and I found The Killer's Cousin to be another interesting book from this author. The main character's struggle with his past and his strange and difficult present lead to an interesting story with strong character development. Although some readers will predict part of the ending, the final scenes do offer some surprises and a satisfying and hopeful conclusion to a fairly sad story.
I love Nancy Werlin. Her ability to write different genres always amazes me. The Rules of Survival severed my heartstrings, Double Helix was a decent science-fiction novel, and Killer's Cousin was thrilling and suspenseful.

Seventeen-year-old David Yaffe feels guilty for the death of his girlfriend, Emily - despite the jury acquitting him and proving his innocence. He decides to move in with his aunt and uncle in Massachusetts, where he resides in their attic apartment. Strange things are lurking...more
Well this is one of those mood whiplash books. And it does it perfectly. (view spoiler)...more
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 and now has to attempt to start fresh in a new town, among new people. Once he moves in with his aunt, uncle, and cousin, he is forced not only to relive his guilt, shame and regret, but theirs as well, because they have their own tragedies to face.

"The Killer's Cousin" is a skillfully done thriller which in spite of its predict...more
3 1/2 stars. I enjoyed this quite a bit. It was a very quick read. I think the author did a great job of creating tension between characters that you could actually feel. Lilly was a creepy kid and although I figured out her secret right away it didn't spoil the book for me. The character of David was well done. I empathized with him. I probably would have given this 4 stars if not for the telepathic type link he suddenly develops with his cousin near the end of the book. Where did that even com...more
Tabi {Don't think~Just write~Tell a story}
I have discovered that physcological thrillers are just not my type. Hence the one star rating, but I have a few other reason for that rating as well, which I shall attempt to briefly explain.
I should probably start off with my reason for reading this book in the first place. Fact is, I was interested in the author's works, and so being the bookaholic that I am, I checked out all of the titles my library had by that author. And so this being the least interesting looking of them all, I decided t...more
The Killer’s Cousin (Playaway)
By Nancy Werlin
Read by Nick Podehl

The Killer’s Cousin is actually quite a surprising story. From the title I had an image of gore and creepy killers but I was quite wrong. David has to repeat his last year of high school living with his aunt, uncle, and younger cousin Lily because of what happened last year. He lives in the attic where his older cousin (who mysteriously died) used to live, suffers through Lily’s awful tricks, and begins to unbury the secrets that h...more
Katie Young
Katie Young

David was a high school senior who, acquitted of his girlfriend’s death, decided to finish high school in a different town. He moved in with Uncle Vic, Aunt Julia and little cousin Lily. The family was in turmoil because Kathy, Lily’s older sister had died. David tried to express his psychological concerns about Lily to his Aunt and Uncle but they did not agree. They accused David of being crazy and kicked him out of their house. From the time David arrived in Cambridge, he beg...more
Keri McLucas

David Yaffe is seventeen years old and trying to rebuild his life after being acquitted of murder. David’s parents arranged for him to stay with his Uncle Vic, Aunt Julia and cousin, Lily while he finished high school. He struggles to learn how to live with the truth of knowing that he killed someone he loved. Although the death was an accident, simply knowing that he was capable of murder consumed him. At eleven years old, Lily has also experienced the death of a loved one,...more
This is more of a 4.5 star book than a 5 star read. Who knows, as time goes on, I may even bump it up to a five star book.

Werlin crafts and intense psychological thriller in The Killer's Cousin. The novel is narrated by David Yaffe, a young man who is acquitted of killing his girlfriend. When I started the novel, I didn't want to like him. I didn't want to believe. However, as the novel unfolds, I found myself feeling sympathy for David and the emotional aftermath of his girlfriend's death and t...more
A tight, intense psychological thriller involving family secrets, family dysfunction, murder, and redemption. The title can refer to at least three characters in the book, and their lives intersect and intertwine. First person narrative keeps the tension going, as does the slow reveal of what really happened. Everyone except the artist renter is going through PTSD, and how they manage it is part of the story.
The characters are complex and readers can have some good discussions about motive, trut...more
Premise sounded intriguing. Execution left much to be desired. David's voice did not sound believable as an 18 year old male. Everytime I came across a section of dialogue in which David was the main speaker, it sounded like a middle-aged woman was doing a bad impression of what she thought teenage boys were supposed to sound like. Werlin should study how other authors (Laurie Halse Anderson in particular) write dialogue for their teenage male protagonists. She would really learn a lot.
David was an ordinary teenager with ordinary hopes and dreams with an ordinary girlfriend. That ordinary existence changed horrifically, making David somewhat infamous. In a desperate attempt at moving on with life, David's parents send him to live with his aunt and uncle, whose marriage seems to be falling apart. Their daughter, Lilly, was only seven years old when her older sister died. The family has never been the same. David's presence brings about new changes to their family, some of which...more
I can't say that I hate this book but I don't like it. It's a well written story and has great mystery to it. however it just isn't something I really enjoyed. The whole book was depressing and I predicted what happened long before it tells the reader. Lily, the little girl is creepy and a brat and David the protagonist is too much of a push over and the way he reacts to Lily doesn't seem realistic.
Content: some language, violence, disturbing behavior from the child.
Jan 11, 2010 Isabella added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone over fourth grade.
Recommended to Isabella by: Myself
It's a really good book about lilly ( The eleven year old girl.) and David (The guy who accidently killed his girlfriend.) David finds out a whole lot about lilly in the story with a great ending! I thought it wasn't going to be the best of book but it turned out to be really good. It's not for someone in grade school unless there parents are so positive that it should be fine.
Reread 5/5

I've read this book way back 2008 when I was just had my first work as a project nurse. Because of daily work travel, I always make it a point to drop by to a bookstore on my way back home. The Killer's cousin would be one of those books that I had to build my own stack of books then eventually to a huge bookcase.

I had a initial impression on the first chapters of the book that this would be a somewhat a horror story. I found the characters to be disturbing at first but I understood th...more
Fascinating and creepy. I can't believe I missed out on this one when it came out.
Christine Kloss
Best Books for Young Adults: Mystery

I enjoyed this book very much--thanks again Jessica!

This book is about a boy named David who is forced to stand trial for the murder of his girlfriend. Due to all of the press and attention surrounding this case he is forced to move in with his aunt and uncle. As time goes on and he begins to question the hidden secrets of his family. Such as how exactly did his cousin Kathy die? Why does his aunt and uncle fight so much? Why does his aunt not want him in the...more
I had read another book by Nancy Werlin & really enjoyed it. The Killer's Cousin though is a whole different animal than Impossible. This suspense novel leaves you just enough in the dark about what's taken place prior to the beginning of the book that you're just a bit confused. You know that something terrible has taken place & that the main character David is escaping persecution based on a murder charge, but you don't get the whole story until the end of the book. As you watch David...more
Sometimes students are looking for a good mystery, and Nancy Werlin is good for that. This book was published back in 1998, so I wish the cover looked a bit more modern, but at least it's still in print!

David is seventeen and was recently on trial for the murder of his girlfriend. Therein is one mystery--how did she die? Why was he tried? Why does he have to move away from his hometown? The book opens with David moving into an apartment of his aunt and uncle's in Cambridge. He's repeating his se...more
Erin Sterling
After being acquitted for an accidental murder, David leaves his parent's house to go live with his Uncle Vic and Aunt Julia and 11-year-old cousin Lily as a way to avoid the tabloids and ex-friends. However, it is obvious that Julia and Lily do not want him around. But something weird is going on--he sees shadows in the night and hears weird humming noises and determines it might have something to do with Lily's older sister Kathy who died when she was about 18. As he talks more with Lily and s...more
I've never read anything by Nancy Werlin - boy was I missing out! I listened to "The Killer's Cousin" on audio tape. It is a taut, psychological thriller that I found myself taking the long way as I drove so that I could listen longer. At the end, I sat in the school parking lot before work crying as I listened to the last several minutes of the book. Terrific last line that reminds us of the magic, or spirituality, or kismet, or whatever you want to call it, in all of our lives. Fantastic1

I have yet to read a book by Nancy Werlin that I didn't like. Her books always explore the darker side of people, and it often a side that we would prefer to ignore. Ms. Werlin always does a superb job helping us to understand what is going on in the minds of her characters and there is always something a bit creepy going on in those minds.

David is currently living with his aunt, uncle and cousin Lily, as he tries to complete high school. David has been sent there to avoid the notoriety that ca...more
David Bernard Yaffe is tried for murdering his girlfriend and acquitted. After the trial, his parents send him to Boston to live with his uncle's family during his senior year of high school. David accepts the move, but he is hurt and feels that his dad doesn't want him around.

The Shaughnessy family is no stranger to grief. David's cousin Kathy killed herself at eighteen, David's age now. David soon realizes that the family is falling apart. Neither his Uncle Vic nor his Aunt Julia speak to one...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Killer’s cousin is a novel about coping with homicide consequences. The protagonist, David, moves into the house, where his uncle, aunt and 11 year old cousin Lily reside. He’s groping with fears that haunt him after the trial for his GF murder. But the new place of residence poses another threat to him, namely the unspoken taboo of not mentioning anything of his older cousin Kathy demise and the hard time that the younger cousin Lily gives him by literally driving him mad with a rage. And he’s...more
So I am a bit torn on how many stars to rate this book. More than half of the book was surprisingly good. Very good. Thought I was going to have to put this on my "recommend to friends" list of books. Then is went down hill FAST. There was two major things that happened in the book that made it go from a 5 star book to a 1 star book... I am being generous and giving it 3 instead of the 2. If you don't want to read about it then stop now because i'm not hiding anything under a cut.

1. The main ch...more
Andrew Sedensky
The book "The Killer's Cousin" by Nancy Werlin is good because this story is exactly what teens go through like trying to fit in. What his little cousin did to the main character David got my emotions flowing throughout the whole book. I rated this book three stars because in some situations the book did not make since. Like with swapping store cards, the defensive parents and unusual behavior. Another reason I rated it three stars is because its simply just a short story. This book had a lot to...more
After accidentally killing his girlfriend - who knew a punch to the face would equal murder! Unfortunate the punch didn't make it's mark on her brother though - David is sent to complete his senior year of high school at what was once an all girls religious school. He is sent to live with his aunt and uncle and their still living daughter Lily. Their older daughter, Cathy, was though to have committed suicide several years prior.

When David gets to their home he finds that things don't seem quit...more
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Nancy Werlin writes young adult fiction: New York Times–bestselling fantasy, Edgar-award winning suspense, and National Book Award-honored realistic novels.

Nancy's newest book is UNTHINKABLE, the sequel to IMPOSSIBLE and EXTRAORDINARY.
More about Nancy Werlin...
Impossible (Impossible, #1) The Rules of Survival Extraordinary Double Helix Black Mirror

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