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.
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.