Wicked Stepmother

Wicked Stepmother - Michael McDowell, Axel Young, Dennis Schuetz

After another few moments, Cassandra asked, “Did you at least have a good time last night?”

“I think so,” said Verity after a moment of hesitation.

“You don’t know?”

“Well, we did a lot of coke, and then we drank something that— Cassandra, honest to God it was bright green, and I know it wasn’t crème de menthe.” With two fingers she rubbed the skin just beneath her nostrils. “And I’ve got nose-burn from the amyl nitrate.” Cassandra raised her eyebrows and shook her head.

“Are you shocked?” asked Verity, peering at her sister over the top of her dark glasses. “No,” sighed Cassandra. “Just surprised that in the midst of all that, you still had time to think about Father, and Louise, and Atlantic City.”

 

I have heard Wicked Stepmother described as sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll in Boston, and that is exactly what it was. That and a bit of creepy murder.

 

When I first met the Hawkes, I hated all of them. I had a hard time to decide whether the stepmother was wicked or whether the grown-up children were just horrible. As it turns out, they balanced each other quite well. While the "kids" dismiss their stepmother as and over-dressed wanna-be, she seems to be up to something else entirely...

“And what did you find out?” asked Cassandra curiously.

“That Louise was either planning to get high on airplane glue, or else she made a purchase of certain chemicals.”

“In a hobby shop? What kind of chemicals?”

“Little tiny bottles. For teenage chemistry sets. I wasn’t able to figure out what kind she got.”

Cassandra put down the brush. “You think Louise doctored Father’s sleeping pills?”

“I think that’s more likely than that Louise is sniffing airplane glue.”

“Verity, I don’t like this.”

 

I really enjoyed most of the book. The back and forth between the two camps in the family was horrible to watch because all of the characters (apart from Cassandra) were either vile or TSTL, but none deserved what they got - apart from... you know... the end.

Louise left off abruptly. Her movements had become jerks. All three of the Hawkes were watching her, and she forced a semblance of calm over her features.