The Cordelle sisters, Kit and Fancy, aren’t typical teenage girls. For starters, their father, Guthrie Cordelle, is an infamous murderer, known as the Bonesaw Killer and is awaiting his execution on death row. The sisters reside in the fictional town of Portero, Texas, where strange occurrences, and the sightings of supernatural creatures, are common place, but still, murder is frowned on by law enforcement. The sisters know, they have to be careful, if they are going to tread the same deadly path as Guthrie. Kit and Fancy, refrain from social interaction with their peers, and with the exception of their mother, Lynne, who they call Madda, the girls spend the bulk of their time together.
The novel begins, as do all subsequent chapters, with what Fancy refers to as a dream diary entry, many of which contain disturbing imagery. When Fancy awakens, in the bedroom she shares with Kit, there is a stranger standing over her bed. While thinking of what she can do to the stranger to harm him, Kit comes to her rescue by knocking him over the head with an item she grabs off her shelf. Fancy and Kit take the strange man’s body down into a cellar located on their property; it is the same cellar their father used to dispose of his victims. The girls learn that the stranger wasn’t in their home to do them harm, but instead, was looking for items that belonged to their father, that he could sell on-line. The girls take turns cutting his body as a punishment for invading their home. Fancy names the man Franken, because of all the stitches they’ve sewn into him, in order to keep him alive after cutting him. Kit wants to kill the man, but Fancy insists on some restraint, which presents a problem. They can’t keep Franken forever, nor can they trust him to keep his mouth shut if they let him leave. The sisters, don’t want to end up like their father, either being incarcerated for life, or put to death by the state.
In the first few chapters of the novel, the reader learns that the sisters are on summer vacation from school. If they think, however, that they can just spend a lazy summer doing nothing, Madda soon reverses their mindset. She has enrolled the sisters in separate art and music classes. Furthermore, Fancy has turned fifteen years old, and because of that she and Kit, who is seventeen, are required by Madda to attend an event known as Juneteenth at Cherry Glade, a town tradition for younger members of the community. For those who attend the event, it is said that everyone will be granted one wish by the ghost of Cherry du Haven. Cherry is the girls’ ancestor, and while she does grant wishes, it is not always in the specific manner a person wants her to.
Fancy uses her wish to insure that she and Kit will always be together. Readers, by this point in the novel, have already learned that Fancy has the ability to see people and places, in transparent objects. A short while after making her wish, Fancy discovers she can open the entranceway to an alternative world, which she will name ‘the happy place.’ Once there, she and her sister, can dispose of bodies and evidence linking them with their crimes. Like Dexter Morgan, Kit and Fancy are driven by an inner compulsion to kill. Additionally, like Dexter, rather than killing indiscriminately, the sisters decide to murder bad people, who they feel deserve it; for example, an abusive step-father, who views beating on his young, step-son as a hobby.
Problems begin to arise between the sisters, when Kit becomes interested in one of the novel’s secondary characters, Gabriel, who she begins to opt to spend time with, instead of being with Fancy all the time. Reeve’s writing makes it clear that Fancy is not easily accepting of change, even to the point of wearing clothes that are too tight on her, not because she is dressing to stimulate the opposite sex, but because the clothing is more befitting of a child. Fancy is not interested in boys, and sees Kit spending time with Gabriel as an act of abandonment. She lost her father to prison, and her mother has to work long shifts at her job to make ends meet. Things, however, start to become even more interesting, when Ilan, Gabriel’s brother, begins to show an interest in Fancy. I don’t want to get into any more specific plot points in the book because I don’t want to hamper the enjoyment for those of you who want to read the novel.
The entertaining, well plotted and written, “Slice of Cherry,” is 505 pages in length, and was published on January 4, 2011 by Simon Pulse; it is the sophomore follow up to Dia Reeves debut novel, “Bleeding Violet.” “Slice of Cherry” is, in a manner of speaking, a coming-of-age story. The Cordelle sisters aren’t attempting to become normal, instead they are journeying toward self-acceptance, regardless of how perverse that reality may be. This book will not be for everyone, but for those of you who are looking for an interesting twist to the standard, serial killer story, “Slice of Cherry” delivers.