Title: Dear Killer
Author: Katherine Ewell
Genre: YA Thriller
Publisher: Harper Collins
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.
Thank you, Edelweiss, for giving me the opportunity of reviewing this book.
Hello Dear Killer,
Seeing as the one of the main reasons Kit does anything slightly important in this book (except for one person) is because of a letter, I’ll write one in the hopes that this book will be one of the killed.
I know that many people think it’s impossible for there to be a teen killer. Fortunately for you, I’m not one of them. Sure, they’re rare (Most serial killers are between the ages of 18-30), but Armadeep Sada was an eight year old serial killer. I can even believe that you started killing when you were tiny, because female serial killers don’t get caught until much later and Miranda Barbour was recently caught.
Killing over fifty people? Very unbelievable, but then, Pedro Alonso López is known to have killed over 300 people, and he’s still not in jail.
Seventeen year old killer? Believable. Female serial killer, even though only 15% of serial killers are women? Fine, whatever. Killing over 50 people even though the female average is nine? Not as believable, but whatever, it’s fiction.
But for Ctullu’s sake, do some research, book! Kit’s supposed to be the only terrifying serial killer in England, after Jack the Ripper (who, by the way, only killed five people), but a simple Wikepedia search shows so many more.
Okay, fine. You don’t want to do the work of actually googling things. I get it. Hey, how about that TV show that’s extremely popular called Criminal Minds? It’s not the most completely accurate thing that details about serial killers, but whatever. Anything would be better than this trainwreck.
Did you know, Dear Killer, that I had a great year of books before you? And then you came, with your interesting cover and your interesting synopsis, and I ignored my basic instincts that told me that teen serial killers were the new thing in YA, which therefore would make this horrible. But I didn’t listen to the instincts that kept humanity alive for millions of years. I decided to get you from Edelweiss, and look how horrible you were.
Do you know how much I tried to like you? I mean, your first couple of pages were amazing, and I was so excited to finally get an actually good YA thriller. I was even ignored the other books that I wanted to read to get to you. And you know how you acted to me? Just. Like. This:
So instead of reading actually decent books, I was stuck reading you. Do you want to know why I didn’t stop. Because I had faith in your getting better.
Oh yes, Dear Killer, I was one of those horrible main characters that would stick with the heroine even though he was a complete and utterly unredeemable… jerk. Yes, I have decided that I should really come up with better insults. Anyways, I was one of those terrible heroines. Look at what you have made me become!
You know what Kit leaves as her signature? Letters. And not just any letters. Letters that people write to her when they want her to kill somebody. How stupid can you be?
Oh, and do you know where the people put the letters? In a mailbox, as if the police isn’t going to catch that.
Okay, fine. I get it. Occasionally, the police mess up. That does not mean they’re that bad at their job every single time. Similarly, it does not mean that it’ll be simple to take part in a police investigation and feed them the information you want them to know. If you freaking walk up to the police station and start declaring all these facts about the investigation, they’re not going to believe you’re a little bright. They’re going to do the magical thing called arresting you for suspicion of murder.
And you know what else? They don’t used media-inspired names, for obvious reasons.
If you couldn’t tell, I really like studying serial killers. And guess what? Kit. Is. Not. A. Serial. Killer. Serial killers don’t just kill a lot of people. A serial killer is a person that kills three or more people in an extended period of time with a cooling off period in between. This “cooling off” period is a time where said serial killer keeps an emotional distance. And then they have an urge to kill again. Did this happen, Dear Killer?
The answer, by the way, is no.
Were you supposed to be creepy, Dear Killer? Weren’t you supposed to give me nightmares? Wasn’t I supposed to lock all my doors and windows and huddle in a corner? Well, do you know how much coffee I had to drink in order to stay awake through this?
Please, a “perfect” kill? Every single time, which, by the way, is over fifty times? This just falls into the realm of unbelievable. Kit messes up so many times, it’s turns hysterical. Anyone reading you, Dear Killer, can see how obviously bad Kit is at killing.
Maybe if Kit was more careful, I might have believed that she could get away with over fifty kills. But of course not. She’s one of those narcissistic characters who believe they do everything correct. Usually, something will happen to one of these characters to change this thought, but no. Nothing really happens to Kit and she just continues her narcissism until the end.
The mother-daughter dynamic was laughable. It was supposed to make me feel pity for Kit and everything she went through, but the way she was raised was really badly written.
And I’m not even going to bring up Alex, who, by the way is the love interest. While it wasn’t instantaneous love, it was an instant attraction, which was bad enough. He’s nine years older than Kit, and he’s just completely weak. I mean, there’s the typical romance alpha male who just pushes everything on the heroine, and then there are people like Alex, who sit back and whine and let everything happen to them instead of actually controlling the events around him.
Also, does this take place in the U. K.? Because I never would have guessed if it wasn’t told to me so many times. I mean, don’t completely throw stereotypes at me, but give me a few hints as to where this is located other than Kit’s incurable first person narrative.
There is no plot in you, Dear Killer. It’s just a lot of events that are barely aligned in chronological order. Congratulations on maintaining a semblance of control of time.
At first, I gave you 2 stars, but now that I’m actually writing about you, I’ve decided that you’re a horrible book.
But hey, at least there’s no love triangle. Also, read Nenia Campbell’s Horrorscape trilogy for an actually good thriller.
A Very Pissed off Reader
(Named Alisa, by the way)
Rating: One Star