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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

MICHELLE'S REVIEW: Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell

Title: Dear Killer
Author: Katherine Ewell
Format Acquired: eARC
Publication Date: April 1, 2014
Publishing House: Katherine Tegen Books
ISBN: 9780062257802
Source of Copy: Edelweiss


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.

(Image, summary and information courtesy of Goodreads)


Kit is the Perfect Killer everyone is both in fear and in awe of. She doesn't leave a trace, which leaves the police force scratching their heads. But when she meets a police officer she thinks she can play cat and mouse with, Kit breaks some of her rules, and reveals the identity of the killer slowly... just because she can, and just because she thinks she can't get caught. 

After the first few chapters, I was so ready to quit this. Unlike her mother, Kit doesn't exactly kill because there's a passion for it. It's more like she gets off on people not knowing about the Perfect Killer's real identity, and she gets her ego stroked when people call her murders the perfect crime. Kit kills people based on demand, in the loo of a coffee shop where people leave her names of persons they'd want dead, and I have no idea why the police aren't checking this area out if some people know that this is the Perfect Killer's mailbox. Kit thinks she's invincible, so when her paths cross with Alex, who is on the investigation of the Perfect Killer murders, she's cocky enough to give him some clues, and offer her help with the investigation (because the fully grown police officers can only be too happy to accommodate a seventeen year-old, am I right?). 

I seriously don't understand why Kit even bothers to commit murder, since she obviously lacks her mother's passion for killing. She approaches murder methodically and scientifically, that the whole thing doesn't even come out as deserving of words like macabre or gore - just painfully clinical and uninteresting. There is just no motive. Kit just kills because it's what her mother taught her to do, so what cleaning our rooms is to us, is what Kit is to murder. 

If you're into books featuring teenage protagonists struggling with their darker side, you can do so much better than Perfect Killer. You don't need a cocky, confused teenager who doesn't deliver with much conviction. Dan Wells' I Am Not A Serial Killer and Barry Lyga's I Hunt Killers are undoubtedly much better, and deliver characters who are believable, real, and who actually know what they're doing and why. 



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