Saturday, May 10, 2014

Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell [Review]

Dear Killer1.5 out of 5 Robots!

Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell
Genre: YA Contemporary/Thriller
Release: April 1, 2014
Hardcover: 359 Pages
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
My Copy: Publisher (Edelweiss)
Reviewer: Shannon
Buy the Book: Amazon

Book 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
(Courtesy of the Publisher)

Shannon's Thoughts:
Um, wow.  Ok.  Where to start?  I have to admit that the premise of this book sounded extremely appealing.  Kind of like a teenage Dexter.  But what follows is, to put it bluntly, a hot mess. 

First of all, the suspension of disbelief needed for this book is unreal.  There are so many things that don't even make sense.  For instance...Kit receives letters via a secret mailbox in the women's bathroom of a pub.  Kit reads the letters and then decides which person to kill.  She then leaves the letter with the dead body.  So...wait....couldn't the police figure out who requested the murder based on the letter?  Kit even admits as much, but apparently no one has ever revealed the location of the mailbox.  No one.  Yeah...ok....sure.  It also seems everyone in London knows about the Dear Killer mailbox...except for the Police. I also find that incredibly hard to believe.  Also, if these letters can be traced back, why would anyone want to "hire" Kit anyways?  You KNOW she leaves the letters.  You might as well murder the person yourself.  But apparently the police are idiots or very very very bad at interrogating suspects.

We are also to expect that a 25ish year old guy is "unofficially" in charge of an extremely high-profile serial killer murder case.  And that he would befriend a 17 year old and invite her to look at a crime scene (which said 17 year old committed) for her "fresh eyed" perspective?  Um, no. 

There are so many instances like this.  And none of it makes any sense.  I can handle one or two unlikely situations, but not a whole plot full of them.  It just begins to feel insulting.   

On top of the incredibly unrealistic plot, the writing and characterizations isn't much better.  The writing is very monotone.  I was not able to glean any type of personality from Kit.  I had no idea why she did the things she did.  I had no "insider perspective" into her thoughts or motivations.  I mean, she tells me she's a serial killer.  But I had no actual feelings of compulsion or desire from her.  There is nothing substantive about her.  At least Dexter had a personality.  Don't even get me started on the rest of the characters. 

Overall, I think this book is all flash, no substance.  But a good premise means nothing if the plot and writing can't hold up, which is the case here.  Because of that, I can't recommend this book to anyone. 

Disclosure:  I reviewed a copy free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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