ISBN: 141169242X, $14.95, 228 pp.
This story is described by the author as a "study in what it takes to send the most unlikely person over the edge" and in the press release as "dark comedy." The plot is not complicated. Alice Pendleton, who has just received her first book contract, allows her scheming older sister Aurora, who has fallen on hard times, to move in and take over her home and life. While Aurora works to sabotage Alice's career, the days turn into years, five to be exact. Alice, with the support of her new husband Ron, the Fed Ex man, decides to kill Aurora.
I quote from the opening to give you an idea of the author's writing style:
"For five years now I have lived ... lived with that scourge. Today it ended, quickly, with only a few wet gurgles and a couple of stains on the rug. I thought I'd feel guilty. Ha! And did I feel guilty when I quit drinking? No. Did I feel guilty when I quit smoking? Hell, no! So why should I feel guilty about starting to really live again?
But I'm getting ahead of myself. It started five years ago now, the day after my first book was accepted at an up-and-coming press somewhere in Kansas, someplace I've never been to and never hope to visit. Someplace called "Aurora".
Aurora, coincidently, is my older sister's name. In the same coincidental vein, my dear Aurora came to visit me. Aurora never left. Aurora had decided to start a new life here in Fleming, New Hampshire. Perhaps "decide" isn't the right world. She thrust herself upon me when I signed the book contract, perhaps sensing the stench of money.
Her eighty-million-year-old husband had just died and left all of his money to the children. According to her, that was something "just not supposed to be done." A week after the funeral she was on my door step, the door step of her favorite sister Alice. I should have stopped it right there and claimed the last five years of my life for myself. But I'm getting ahead of myself again. It's just frazzled nerves.
"How am I ever going to get the stains out of the rug? Damned white carpet."
Kristin Shoemaker can write and the book is well edited. However, for a story to be consider a good story, it must be honest or at least seem reasonable ... even a fiction story. Can the reader relate to such behavior?
Alice knew her sister's predisposition and foibles before allowing her to move in and right off, she lets her take over. Would you do...