How did I get it?:
I borrowed it from Luna’s Little Library!
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.
This book is going to be incredibly hard to review, because I have so much to say about it and I’m finding it hard to express just what worked with this book and what didn’t. I’m also, at the time of writing this, undecided about my star rating, so I’m hoping by the time that I’ve articulated my thoughts it will become clear for me how much I rate it. The reason why I liked it was because I thought the idea was incredibly unique and interesting. Yet, I had to complete suspend my disbelief in order to get though the book.
Dear Killer is an incredibly disturbing, dark concept. It centres around ‘The Perfect Killer’ Kit. Kit is seventeen years old. She has been trained by her mother to murder. Her mother used to be a serial killer who had a trademark stamp on her deaths.. she would draw a heart on her victims. Kit’s mother had been training her since she was a child to murder others with brutality and perfection. She’s taught never to leave her mark. Kit develops her own trademark. She has a mailbox, where people write to her, requesting people for her to kill, Kit leaves their later by the victim’s body. Kit takes her job incredibly seriously. Her first murder is at the tender age of 9, and with age she just gets better and better. She takes more risks, but still commits ‘perfect’ murder. So much so that she becomes known in London as ‘The Perfect Killer’ because no-one can ever track her down. Kit’s ‘job’ becomes even more interesting when she starts to recognise the names on the letters.
Katherine Ewell wrote this book when she was seventeen. I don’t think you can particularly tell that the author is a young age, although some readers have mentioned that they thought the writing was very ‘young’. The writing isn’t amazing, but it was readable and I’m sure she’ll get better as she continues to write. Every writer has to start somewhere.
Kit is an interesting character. I found her quite inconsistent. At some times she seemed a bit too pretentious and conceited, other times she seemed incredibly insecure, at times she showed no remorse but then she’d feel some guilt. It was all very unbalanced. Perhaps this was intentional, Kit certainly is an unbalanced character! I did like the way she developed and the good person inside of her was trying to get out, despite her alter ego ‘Diana’ who thrived on the perfect murders. Kit’s mother wasn’t the best role model for her, Kit was raised in a weird and uncomfortable way it’s no doubt that she ended up confused and messed up. Kit’s father is always absent, I would’ve liked to have known more about him. Alex is the police officer in charge of The Perfect Killer case. I found him incredibly unrealistic. I really don’t think a police officer would have been as involved with a teenager without eyebrows being raised but perhaps that’s my own cynicism.
I think for me, it was too unrealistic and I found myself rolling my eyes quite often. I just found it hard to believe that Kit would get away with the things she did, especially the DNA swapping in the restaurant… hmmm….
However, I think this was a really unique read. I haven’t read many books this disturbing and in the perspective of a teenage serial killer. I thought the story was really engaging and I certainly kept turning the pages. I think Katherine Ewell is a writer to look out for, and as she develops her craft I’m sure her writing will improve as it does with every writer.
Would I recommend it?:
Yes! BUT not to everyone– this story is definitely not for everyone. I have seen a lot of negative reviews surrounding it and I can totally see where they’re coming from. The story is flawed and unrealistic, but at the same time I found it engaging and unique. It definitely stands out in the YA market right now as something completely different.