Book Review: Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell

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.

1.5 cupcakes
“Nothing is right and nothing is wrong. For some people a thing may be right, and for others it may be wrong. There is no greater truth to morality – it is merely an opinion.”

Dear Killer is a book that requires a lot of suspension of disbelief. While I could easily overlook the fact that the Perfect Killer was a seventeen year old girl (even though it’s statistically unlikely), there were so many gaping plot holes that I couldn’t ignore – and, believe me, I tried. The officers of Scotland Yard were made out to be complete idiots, the murders were committed with literally one kick, and any potential evidence was completely disregarded.

The main thing that I just couldn’t believe in, though, was the letters. People send in letters to the Perfect Killer, and those letters are found next to the dead body after the request is filled. Given that most of those letters say something like “kill my husband” or “kill my sister,” it should be incredibly easy to find out who wrote the letter and use them to find out where the location of the mailbox is… right?

Our main character, Kit, definitely didn’t live up to my expectations. Despite the “Perfect Killer” moniker, Kit is anything but perfect; she makes so many rookie mistakes, and I was continuously wondering how she had managed to evade the detection of Scotland Yard for so long. It was, however, really interesting being inside Kit’s head, since the reasons she chose her victims and the reason she killed was so twisted yet intriguing.

The one facet of the story that I really enjoyed was the discussion of moral relativism, and how our perception of good and evil changes based on our life experiences. While the philosophical debate wasn’t as in-depth as I would have liked, it was interesting to see how Kit’s worldview changes in response to this information – even if it did lead to inconsistent characterization.

Overall, between gaping plot holes, inconsistent characterization, and an anticlimactic ending, Dear Killer was quite a disappointing read.

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Book Review: Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell

  1. Yours is the first review of Dear Killer I’ve seen, though admittedly I wasn’t exactly searching for them. I agree with a lot of this. I had high hopes for this book – teenage serial killers should be beyond fascinating – but honestly never even finished the ARC. Too bad, because the concept was a good one. Suspension is disbelief is definitely putting it lightly! And I thought the depiction of London was really strange – a lot of language weirdness that didn’t sound British at all. (Though I’ve only been to London once so maybe I’m wrong.) The author’s really young, though, so maybe she’ll improve a lot with time? She definitely has the creativity to write some great stuff.

    • I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy it! I’ve never been to London, but it seemed as though the story could have taken place in the United States, if it weren’t for the occasional Briticisms. I think she definitely has a lot of potential, so I’ll probably end up seeing what she comes out with next.

  2. Pingback: First Reads Reading Challenge | The In-Between Place

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s