by Katherine Ewell
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (April 1, 2014)
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Full of "can't look away" moments, Dear Killer is a psychological thriller perfect for fans of gritty realistic fiction such as Dan Wells's I Am Not a Serial Killer and Jay Asher's 13 Reasons Why, as well as television's Dexter.
Rule One: Nothing is right, nothing is wrong. Kit looks like your average seventeen-year-old high school student, but she has a secret: she's London's notorious "Perfect Killer." She chooses who to murder based on letters left in a secret mailbox, and she's good—no, perfect—at what she does.
Her moral nihilism—the fact that she doesn't believe in right and wrong—makes being a serial killer a whole lot easier . . . until she breaks her own rules by befriending someone she's supposed to murder as well as the detective in charge of the Perfect Killer case.
I love the macabre. I love reading dark, twisted stories. So when I first read about Dear Killer, I just knew it was one of those books that I just had to get. Dear Killer is a very unique and unexpected story to come out of YA, and I enjoyed every bit of it.
However, while reading the novel, I did something I never, ever do: halfway through, I decided to read the reviews on Goodreads.
It was a sea of single stars and DNFs. So many people had such negative things to say about a story I was thoroughly enjoying. Most of the time I can shrug off negative reviews for books I love. Not everyone likes the same kind of story. But in the majority of these negative reviews, people were claiming that they gave up on the book and just couldn’t finish it. Again, I understand. The themes and the storyline are quite controversial. But the other things these reviewers had to say made me so angry.
This included statements such as:
“The main character had no personality/was not a complex character.”
I could not disagree more. Kit is a very complex character. She is essentially a sociopath. Sociopaths tend to lack the empathy and the ability to make interpersonal connections that most humans possess. Kit is always having to “act” in front of people; she has to put on false emotions, otherwise everyone would see how unfeeling she is. But she doesn’t stay like that through the course of the novel. Kit is a product of the completely unconventional way she was raised. It’s nature versus nurture. While Kit probably had sociopathic tendencies genetically, her mother took that and made it grow. She has taught her daughter to kill without feeling, to treat it as a job. We see this in the first couple of chapters and this is where I believe many readers abandoned ship.
“The main character was really arrogant.”
That’s because sociopaths are. Many sociopaths see themselves as superior to the rest of humanity (just take a look at BBC’s Sherlock). Kit revels in the fact that the media calls her the “Perfect Killer.” She’s proud of her murders. This also goes for serial killers in general. A lot of them feel the need to brag about what they have done, and while Kit cannot go around bragging, she certainly does gloat.
“The writing was just so horrible.”
Was it? Or is that just your excuse for why you didn’t finish the book? Honestly, I have no opinion when it comes to the writing. It wasn’t the most beautiful prose I’ve ever read, but it was not as horrible as some people are stating. This is the internet. People tend to exaggerate.
In the end, I really enjoyed Dear Killer. It is one of those books that not only delivers an entertaining story, but makes you think about morality and the value of life. This book does handle some pretty dark subject matter so if this does not sound like your cup of tea, then I’d advise you to maybe pass this one up. But if you are interested or you’re like me (someone who pretty much grew up watching British murder mysteries), then go for it. Just try to make it through to the end before you come to any conclusions, okay?
Young Adult Book Blogger