AudioSynced: The Killer’s Cousin by Nancy Werlin

I’ve mentioned before that I’m more willing to try books outside my preferred genres when I am listening to them on audiobooks. When I read Janssen’s review of Nancy Werlin’s The Killer’s Cousin, I thought it would be one worth listening to, and let me say: this was one of the more engaging audiobooks I’ve enjoyed lately.

David did something awful, and the rumors are that because his dad is a Very Important Person, he got out of it. No jail time, no probation, nada. But, he didn’t get to finish his senior year of high school, and rather than go back to the place where everyone knew who he was and what he did, his parents decide to send him to live with his aunt and uncle in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to finish out his senior year at a private school.

Aunt Julia and Uncle Vic have had to deal with the loss of their older daughter Kathy, who killed herself in the apartment where David would now be residing. But it’s their younger daughter, Lily, who will take on a starring role in this haunting story.

Lily is creepy. She is the epitome of creepiness. Think about your worst, most annoying cousins, and multiple it by thousands. Lily is cold toward David, and she seems to spend a lot of time alone. But rather than spending it alone idlely, she sneaks around the house and David’s apartment, and eventually, she begins calling David some horrible things. Over and over and over again.

David finally breaks. Despite his fear of his aunt and uncle, he tells them he thinks Lily needs psychological help. But will they believe him? He’s the one who has a problem, which is why he’s been living with them in the first place. A tragedy, though, will strike the family again, and this might be when the truth about Kathy’s death finally emerges.

Nick Podehl delivers a fantastic narration for this utterly creepy story. His reading was authentic to an 18-year-old boy, and his ability to partially voice this one kept me engaged, particularly with his spot-on portrayal of a spoiled-sounding 11-year-old Lily. Changes in his tone, his delivery, and his pacing worked here, helping deliver the suspense and intrigue the story contains. The production on this one is top-knotch, as well: the few instances I noticed the editing were so minute that it did not distract from the story or the narration.

The beginning and ending of each disc of the 5-disc audiobook made effective use of music to not only signal where the listener was in the book, but it helped set a mysterious mood. Again, I’m an audiobook listener in the car, so every little aspect like this is not only helpful to me, but it helps break up my listening — somewhat like a new chapter or break in a chapter helps you when you read visually.

While listening to this one, I was utterly captivated by Lily. She is one of the better-drawn characters I’ve read in a long time, and she’ll stick with me for quite a while. Although David is our main character, he definitely serves as the story teller for Lily. I don’t think it could have been done vice versa, nor could Lily have told her own story here.

I think this is one of those books better listened to than read. Podehl wraps the listener in the story and leaves you wanting more, more, more. This is a quick listen with a story well-paced and plotted by Werlin. I will definitely be seeking out Locked Inside, one of Werlin’s other mystery/suspense books, and you better believe it’ll be all audio for me.

Make sure you check out the sample audio available right here.

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  1. says

    I am so sad that my CDs started skipping so badly I couldn't finish it on audio. I loved the book, but I think I would have loved it EVEN MORE if I could have done it all on audio.

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