March 26, 2014

Review: Dear Killer

Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell
Grade: B-
Release date: April 1, 2014
This ARC was provided by Read Between the Lynes in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: 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.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Upon finishing Dear Killer, I summed up my feelings with a quote from the book.

"How do you feel?"
"Numb," I say blandly. "Just numb."

The biggest problem I had with Dear Killer is that it treated murder as okay, as something morally gray or even sometimes white.  In Kit's philosophy class, the students seemed to decide that murder was only evil when done as genocide.  I found the characters to be complex and sometimes also very random.  Kit claimed to be the Perfect Killer (well, she was the Perfect Killer) but she made some incredibly stupid choices that made me question how perfect of a killer she was.  Until part way through the book, she is so numb to the murders she commits that they don't even bother her anymore.  Her mother seems almost crazy from the murders she committed before having Kit, and I thought that was extremely realistic.  Actually, Kit being numb was pretty realistic, too.  If we see something, such as violence, enough, it doesn't affect us.  But the book was also too descriptive at the beginning, telling me how everyone and everywhere looked.
One of my favorite parts was the beginning.  I loved how it started, with this air of mystery.  I loved seeing Kit go to the cafe and collect her letters.  Maggie, poor Maggie, was a sweet character who I grew rather attached to.  I worried when Alex was introduced and then quickly found him to be one of my favorite characters.  I did enjoy how the letters were Kit's signature.
But overall, this book left me very numb (in a bad way), with how it treated right and wrong, violence (still cringing, y'all), and language (not as bad as in other books, but still fairly bad).  Also, as one final note, Kit was ridiculously stupid.  And, actually, in retrospective, Alex was kind of stupid and oblivious, too.

The Verdict: If you like serial killers and dark books, this is probably a read for you.  I mean, I liked The Naturals (which, at times, was very dark and twisted) but I just couldn't get into this book.

Also, on a completely unrelated note, I'm doing a Twitter giveaway for a signed ARC of All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill.  It ends tonight (9 PM CST), but if you haven't retweeted/followed me yet, here's the link ---> Twitter ARC giveaway.


  1. I'm sorry to hear you didn't like this book more! Stupid protagonists usually annoy me, but I actually think I would like reading a book that treats right and wrong in an unconventional way. As long as it doesn't seem like the author is advocating for murder (wait... does it?), I would be fascinated with the chance to get inside the head of a moral nihilist.

    1. I don't know, at some moments I felt like she was. Maybe that was just my interpretation, though.

  2. I actually really want to read this. I think it's an interesting concept, a world in which killing isn't necessarily regarded as bad (though I definitely think that it's morally wrong). I'm looking forward to reading it!


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