Release Date - April 1, 2014
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader
Pages -368 pages
My Rating - 3/5
**received in exchange for an honest review from the publisher**
Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Rule One—Nothing is right, nothing is wrong.Stories that can put you into the mindset of the characters are often some of the best. It's always impressive when a character's voice resonates deeply, and you fall into the story with them. Perfect Killer is one such story, and Kit is one such character. Dear Killer has, at it's heart, a wonderful character, but I had a few issues that kept me from fully loving this one.
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.
Kit is crafted honestly, and wonderfully as a character. Her mind is a twisted, conflicted, emotional place to be in, and Katherine Ewell let's us experience every last part of it. She's captivating, fascinating, and morally ambiguous. Her motives are sometimes unclear, even to herself. It's this aspect of her character that appealed to me and made her different from the other 'serial killer' voiced novels out there.
Perfect Killer takes the notion of moral nihilism and crafts a well known tale of nature vs nurture. Kit is breed, trained, and conditioned to become who she is when we meet her. The novel wavers and allows us to see the complex emotions Kit goes through, and sometimes glimpse the damaged girl underneath the monster.
The idea of the letters is fascinating. It's the ultimate 'be careful what you wish for' scenario. People have said and done things in anger that they wish they could take back. These letters felt like they came from that place. Something written and sent in a fit or anger, jealousy, desperation. It made me wonder how many people, after having their desires fulfilled, wished for a take back. The letters made everything feel random, and often the reasons present within them felt flawed. A young man asks her to kill a woman who spurned him for example. It made it all the more chilling because of the randomness of it all.
Alex, the young detective on the "Perfect Killer' case was one of my main issues with the storyline. He's young. We're told he's 25-30ish, but he's put in charge of a major case. The 'Perfect Killer' must have had well over 50 victims, and it didn't feel realistic that someone so inexperienced would not have been put on the case. It seemed to be added as a way to create some romance, and dramatic tension. While I liked the push/pull he created within Kit, I wish Alex had been introduced in another capacity.
Kit's unlikely friendship with Maggie provided many tense, dramatic moments. I would have liked this aspect of the novel explored more. Their friendship is too spoilery to really discuss, but it illuminates Kit herself, and the rigid rules she abides by. I
I wish the origins of the mythology behind the 'Perfect Killer' would have been expanded upon more. I wanted to know more about the how, when, and why of it starting. It would have deepened my understanding of Kit, and benefited the story in general. If anything, this was the thing I missed the most in the story.
The ending would have had a greater payoff if the relationships had been expanded on a little more. I felt the story premise itself was sound, the main character richly developed, but it needed a little more fleshing out to truly help the story come together.
Katherine Ewell's writing talent is something I am going to be curious to see develop. I predict she'll have some fantastic books to come, this one just didn't quite connect with me the way I wanted it to. It's a story that held a lot of potential, mainly due to Katherine Ewell's writing, but ultimately ended up leaving me wanting more from certain aspects.