Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell

Title: Dear Killer
Author: Katherine Ewell
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: April 1, 2014
Pages: 368
Source: EW

Summary from Goodreads:
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.


"Rule one. Nothing is right, nothing is wrong.
That is the most important guideline, and the hardest one for most people to understand - but I have understood it my entire life, from the moment I laid my hands on that first victim's neck to this very moment as I think about the blood under my fingernails and the body I have so recently left behind."
To be honest, this book kind of baffled me. I do not mind books in which the MC kills. In fact, I enjoy these kinds of books for their change of pace. But there is always some reason or situation that justifies the killing. Dear Killer is the first book I have read in which the MC kills by choice and likes it. This is the first book I read in which the MC is a moral nihilist.

There were some things I liked about this book and some things I could've done without.

Kit lives by a code. She doesn't pass judgement. She kills who the letters tell her to kill. Until recently. She gets too close to her latest victim and starts breaking her own rules, starts making mistakes. In some ways her mistakes were predictable, a little exasperating. But in other ways, her actions were unexpected, a little surprising. The ending surprised me.

The story itself kept my attention. I was really into the discussion on moral nihilism, that 'nothing is inherently wrong or inherently right, because morality is only a set of rules created by society and not based on any greater truth.' I like exploring beliefs different than my own. And since Kit thought this way her actions were a bit foreign to me. I wasn't always sure who, when or why she would kill. She kept me guessing. And I had fun with the story because of this.

But I didn't connect with the characters in the story quite as much as I would have liked. It was hard for me to connect with Kit because of how she thought and behaved. And I think my lack of connection with Kit kept me from really feeling Kit's connections to the other characters. I didn't really get her relationship with Alex or Maggie. The characters, the relationships, just felt a little bit off to me.

And I can't finish this review without admitting that, yes, a lot of what happens in this book is a little hard to believe. But I was able to look past it and enjoy the story for what it was.

Overall, Dear Killer is an unusual read. I encourage others to read if anything because it is so different.  It's not without flaws, so critical readers beware, but it is thought-provoking and interesting for sure. 

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