Sunday, May 18, 2014

Review: Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell

Dear Killer
by Katherine Ewell 

Category: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller       
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books    
Release Date: April 1, 2014
Edition: Hardcover
Page Count: 359
Source: Library

Goodreads Synopsis:
Rule One—Nothing is right, nothing is wrong.
Rule Two—Be careful.
Rule Three—Fight using your legs whenever possible, because they’re the strongest part of your body. Your arms are the weakest.
Rule Four—Hit to kill. The first blow should be the last, if at all possible.
Rule Five—The letters are the law.

Kit takes her role as London’s notorious “Perfect Killer” seriously. The letters and cash that come to her via a secret mailbox are not a game; choosing who to kill is not an impulse decision. Every letter she receives begins with “Dear Killer,” and every time Kit murders, she leaves a letter with the dead body. Her moral nihilism and thus her murders are a way of life—the only way of life she has ever known.

But when a letter appears in the mailbox that will have the power to topple Kit’s convictions as perfectly as she commits her murders, she must make a decision: follow the only rules she has ever known, or challenge Rule One, and go from there.

Katherine Ewell’s Dear Killer is a sinister psychological thriller that explores the thin line between good and evil, and the messiness of that inevitable moment when life contradicts everything you believe.


Review: I'm quite shocked by the amount of people who did not seem to enjoy reading this book. I knew just from reading the synopsis that it would be pretty controversial, though. I mean, you have a teen character who is a serial killer, that is a pretty big, new thing to find in Young Adult books. Despite reading all of the negative reviews and what they had to say,  I really did enjoy this book. Sure, there were some details that were missing and some things that probably would not be accurate in reality, but that is why it is a fiction book. 

Cover: I love the cover of this book. I know that it is pretty simple, but sometimes those are the best. I also love that it has the writing in the background of the cover, which turns out to be very important when it comes to actually reading the book. It's all about the letters, which is how Kit decides who she is going to kill in the first place. 

Speaking of Kit, I have never read a book with a main character like this one. Usually we are supposed to love the main character, and I believe that this is a book where you really are not supposed to love the character; at least not in the same way. How could you based on what she does? Still, I do think that her character was very well done. She is so easily influenced by her mother who raised her to be this way. Her mother was the killer until she decided she needed to settle down, and then she trained her daughter at a young age to kill instead. Young as in, killing on her own for the first time at age ten. My goodness! It is all that Kit knows, and in that way I feel horrible for her. 

She is smart, though. I love how we get to see just how her mind works in so many parts of the book. From her checking the mailbox for letters to going through the actual kills, to even befriending the lead police officer on the case in order to get him off of her trail and make sure he is not suspicious of her. It is clear that she is too smart for her own good, and that is what ends up hurting her in the end. Usually she relies strictly on the letters to determine who to kill. If someone has gone through the trouble to write the letter and talk about how much they want someone dead, they have to deserve to die, right? It is when Kit makes a decision on her own that she believes someone should die that causes the downward spiral that leads to her struggle. 

Alex was a great character, though I never really understood why he was spending so much time with a high school student. Having lunch with her and weighing in her opinion about who she thinks the killer might be. Ultimately, this friendship with Alex leads to a lot of problems at the end of the book. Well, that and the fact that Kit decides to befriend Maggie, someone that she knows she is going to kill. That was one of the most difficult parts for me. Maggie was a great friend, but you know what is coming the whole time. 

Overall, I think this book was very well done. It is certainly not something that I have ever read before, and I think that is what I enjoyed about it so much. Sure, some things were a little off, and the whole thing was pretty awful (we have a teen killing people without much guilt, after all!). Still, it was nice to read something different, and Ewell's writing was beautiful in a way that was quite haunting. I respect her for that.

Rating: 5.0/5.0

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