Killer Cousins – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
I’d flown into Gatlinburg, reached my cousin’s house, shoved on the stuck gate of her backyard’s wooden fence, and fallen. “Stevie!” I cried, lying face down in tall grass. “Ste—vie!” Her screen door slammed. “Oh, Cealie, it’s you! You came!” She squatted beside me and I noticed my hand landed in dog doo-doo. I jerked my hand back. I wasn’t wearing my bifocals but could tell the poop was dry. Still – I swiped my fingers through the grass. “You didn’t answer the doorbell,” I said, checking my hand to make sure it was clean, “so I came back here. I tripped over something.” I moved my legs slowly to make sure my stinging knees weren’t broken. So many trees cluttered Stevie’s yard, I figured a thick branch had fallen, and it was the object my shins lay across. “I’ll help you move that thing out of the way.” I pointed back to it. Stevie didn’t speak. I glanced back to see what brought about this bizarre occurrence. She stooped near me but didn’t look at my face. Stevie stared at my feet… I took my time rising. Until I glanced toward where she stared. “It’s a man!” I yelled, scrambling to my feet. “Stevie, there’s a man in your grass.”
Cealie and Stevie are cousins and had grown up close, but in distance only. Their mothers were sisters but their grandmother seemed to favor Cealie over Stevie. This ended up giving Stevie a problem with jealousy, and she made Cealie cry whenever possible. So as Cealie prepared for her trip to Acapulco the call from Stevie begging her to come for a visit was a surprise. She insisted she “needed” her presence and that she, Stevie, was in danger. What caused Stevie to believe she was in danger? Her tarot cards, candles and crystals, of course.
Reading this book and hearing the feelings these two women had for each other brought back memories of some of my own cousins. There always seemed to be one that just stood out in the family as being special, causing others to feel jealous and left out. That’s what appeared to be the problem with the relationship between Stevie and Cealie in Killer Cousins. So, will the death of a member of Stevie’s stop smoking group change things for them? Will it make matters worse when another member of the group ends up dead in a restaurant owned by Cealie’s lover Gil? Or will it bring the two cousins closer together? Why would anyone kill two people who had only one thing in common, which was to quit smoking? And how did they kill them? There are no apparent signs of a struggle on either victim. I’ll give you a clue. I guessed the cause around page 115 for the 1st murder. As to the who the killer might be, there are 321 pages in Killer Cousins, I thought I had the answer on page 300 but I was wrong. The killer was a total surprise for me.