{ARC} Book Review: Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell

March 1, 2014 Review 0 ★★★★

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

{ARC} Book Review: Dear Killer by Katherine EwellDear Killer by Katherine Ewell
Series: Standalone
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on 2014 April 1
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 359
Format: E-book {ARC}
Source: Edelweiss
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four-stars

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.

Dear Killer is not a book that would be enjoyed by everyone.  I even have a feeling that a significant amount of readers will hate and burn it.  For starters, the main character of this book is not someone that you can really call a “heroine.” Kit Ward is not the girl who will save the day. On the contrary, she’s the dragon who needs to be slain by your knight in shining armor.  And the most disturbing thing is that she has a very disturbing view about morality.

Kit’s first rule in life is: There’s no right or wrong. To her, such notions are based on perspective. Every time she murders someone, she remains cool and indifferent about it. She’s not even haunted by the memories of her victims because everything is just a job to her.  But suddenly, things made a significant turn when she killed someone who isn’t a part of her job.  She started questioning herself, her rules, her beliefs. She even went as far as going into a killing slump.

Kit’s development as a character was really interesting to follow even if I couldn’t relate to her. I mean, how could I? I have never understood the workings of a killer’s mind. Though she got to a point where she almost regretted her actions as a murderer, she really didn’t work hard to redeem herself. The opposite actually happened.  She got more determined to kill due to another crazy realization. At that point, I was already asking myself if I am as crazy as Kit because I wasn’t disgusted with the path that she chose in the end.  And trust me, it was horrifying but it only fuelled my interest.  I guess that I really had an open mind when I dove into Dear Killer.  And there were times that I was able to put myself in Kit’s shoes enabling me to see things from her point of view.

It’s not only Kit that caught my attention. Her relationship with her mother  made a disturbing impact on me.  Yes, Kit might be worthy of eternal condemnation but can we really blame her?  Her killer mother raised her to believe that that there’s no right or wrong and that they could kill any person as long as the others deemed it.  To whom would you lay the blame?

With a philosophical vibe and definitely thought-provoking, Dear Killer is not without its faults.  My enjoyment went a few notches down after identifying some glaring plotholes along the way. I am not a cop and I don’t have any idea how they investigate serial killings but this book really put the Scotland Yard police force in  a very bad light. In here,they look like a bunch of incompetent idiots who never found any leads about Kit Ward when the evidences are as clear as daylight.  And hurrah, you will also find that it is easy for a 16-year old turning 17 girl to befriend a cop-cum-detective. And to make matters more unbelievable, that 16 year old is allowed to go to crime scenes and her opinions are even sought out by the police.  I could hardly suspend my disbelief.

Luckily enough, the theme explored by the book was enough to keep me hooked until the end. Dear Killer does not draw its power from the grisly killings nor from the chilling thoughts of our MC.  Disregarding the blood lust of Kit, she’s a very likable person and her thoughts are not that morbid to make you shiver.  Dear Killer is more of a philosophical story than a thriller/mystery one. It plants seeds of doubts in your mind. It causes you to question your beliefs. It makes you wonder how laws came to be. And eventually, it will compel you to think deeply of morality.

Overall, Dear Killer was a remarkable read with its rousing premise and realistic ending. It didn’t wow me but it’s the kind of story that will stay with you for the days to come. Highly recommended for those people who are fascinated with morality and for those who want to read a YA novel with zero romance. Yep, you’ve read that right.

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