Title: Dear Killer
Author: Katherine Ewell
Genre: YA Thriller
Publication Date: April 4, 2014
Format: Hardcover, 368 Pages
ISBN-10: 0062257803 (HarperTeen)
ISBN-13: 978-0062257802 (HarperTeen)
Reviewed by: Bridget
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.
Quick & Dirty: Very unique book that explores the ins and outs of the mind of a serial killer. This was so different from anything else I have ever read and it literally leaves you speechless.
Opening Sentence: Rule one.
What is moral nihilism? The philosophical definition is that nothing is inherently wrong and nothing is inherently right, because morality is only a set of rules created by society and not based on any greater truth. Take for example when someone murders another person they may believe that it is neither right nor wrong, but society has deemed it wrong, so it is a moral nihilism. Welcome to the disturbing awesomeness that is Dear Killer!
Kit has been a serial killer since the age of nine years old, but she knew at a much younger age that this was her life calling. Her mother was also a serial killer, and she wanted to pass on her legacy since she can no longer do it herself. She taught Kit everything she knows and now at the age of seventeen Kit has become the most famous serial killer in London since Jack the Ripper. She has a calling card she leaves at each of her murders and that is the letter. She has a secret mailbox that people leave requests in and after she fulfills their requests she leaves the letter they wrote her. She is known as the perfect killer and the police are nowhere near finding her. Then a letter arrives that could change everything. She has finally been asked to murder someone she knows and Kit doesn’t know if she can maintain the belief that there is no right or wrong.
Kit was such a fascinating character and being inside her head was a whole new experience for me. Her way of thinking was always very calculated and at times, I thought she was totally psychotic. But there were other times that she seemed like a completely normal person and that killing people was no big deal. I actually really liked Kit even though it was slightly disturbing to be inside her head, I found it interesting and very eye opening. She’s not really a character you connect with easily but as the book progressed I found that I came to understand her. I honestly really liked her as a whole and thought that she was written perfectly!
I am so torn about what I think about this book. It is just one of those books that really makes your head spin and brings out all these weird feelings. I will admit that it did drag pretty bad in the middle and I thought that it was a little too long. But this is one of those books that really makes you think and there is a lot of moral grey area covered in it. I read a lot of reviews that stated they were disappointed because the book was so unrealistic, and to be honest there were very unrealistic parts, but I was expecting that when I started reading it. This is a work of fiction that explores the mind of an unfeeling serial killer that finally starts to see the consequences of her decisions and I thought it was totally fascinating. There were some cliché moments that made me roll my eyes but overall I thought that this was a very unique and interesting read. This would be the perfect book for a book club because there are so many things you can discuss about it. I commend Ewell for coming up with such a wonderful idea and I look forward to reading more from her in the future. I would recommend this to anyone that is looking for a unique young adult book that will leave you thinking about it long after you finish it!
She started to move away from her knees to look up at me; she wanted to look me in the eyes. But this was already taking too long.
I stepped forward and swung my knee upward in to her nose before she had a chance to see my face. She really was a pretty thing. All elegance and sharp beauty.
I heard and felt the bone splinter against my lower thigh. She opened her mouth to scream, but I kept driving upward with my leg and the shattered bone plunged upward into her brain and she was dead.
She fell forward onto the black carpet, her pink fluffy bathrobe making her look like some sort of grotesque flower. Quick and silent and simple. I crouched down and turned her over. Wet blood, the color of cherry cough medicine, dripped from her mutilated face. Her eyes were open. I left them that way and made sure not to get any blood on myself. Bloodstains were hard to wash out, and I already had one on my knee. I would have to get rid of these jeans.
Carefully, making sure not to touch anything else, I slid one hand out of my glove and checked her pulse and breathing. Both were gone. I slid my hand back into the glove, pulled a damp sponge out of my coat pocket, and carefully scrubbed away the print. I put the sponge back in my pocket.
I reached into my jeans pocket and pulled out the letter.
I stood up and looked down at her. Looked at her ruined face and bloodshot eyes and that pretty hair.
FTC Advisory: Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins provided me with a copy of Dear Killer. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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