Thursday, May 15, 2014

Review: Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell

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.

My Rating: 1 heart 

Thoughts on the Novel: Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell was a book that I wish I could say something redeeming about. But I can’t. And since letters play an important role in the book, here’s my letter to Dear Killer.

Dear Dear Killer,

Your premise was utterly ridiculous as it features a teen serial killer who receives mail from people wanting her to kill others. Though Kit (aka the Perfect Killer) has killed over fifty people (since the age of nine) and it appears that everybody seems to know where her mailbox is located, the police have somehow not yet discovered her identity.

I thought you would get better at some point and so continued reading on. You didn’t. Instead, you remained unbelievable. As further proof, you decided to have the police not even realize that their serial killer was a teenager until Kit tells them so. The police then continue to remain inept by not considering Kit a suspect when she has access to information that only the murderer would know, inviting her to a crime scene in the hopes of her providing them with a fresh pair of eyes to the case, etc. It’s not just the police who is incompetent though but the public at large as well because apparently in your version of London, office buildings lack security and cameras. And don’t even get me started on the idea of someone not reporting the identity of the Perfect Killer after she attempts to kill them but is unsuccessful!

Another reason I disliked you Dear Killer was because you had a main character who I felt completely disconnected from. I didn’t like her voice, and I didn’t like her arrogance. And to top it off, she was a crappy murderer! Not only does Kit not fit the psychological profile of a serial killer, but there seemed to be no real reason for her to be killing anybody. Yes, you talked quite a bit about moral nihilism but do you seriously expect me to believe that weak argument?! Furthermore, Kit hardly prepares for how she’ll commit the murder – basically, she relies on good luck – and when she does so, it seems way too easy. Oh, and then she returns to the scene of her crime!

Finally, I found it seriously creepy and disturbing that you tried to create a romance between a much older cop and a teenager.

P.S. The conversation with Diana was weird!

A novel I wish I had DNF’ed, Dear Killer was released by Katherine Tegen Books in April 2014. 

Comments About the Cover: I like that the background is a letter.  

In exchange for an honest review, this book was received from the publisher (HarperCollins) for free via Edelweiss.


  1. This is the first time that I have heard of Dear Killer and upon reading the synopsis, my initial thought was "this is not going to be good." I commend you for finishing this one, even though you did not particularly enjoy it. The romance part... no, just no.

    Why are there books written about serial killers/murderers? It's not cool!

    Thanks for the review!

  2. Oh, yes. I DNF-ed this one too because it seemed utterly ridiculous. None of it made any sense whatsoever. Now, I have o trouble suspending disbelief, but I need at least something to hold on to. This was just too much nonsense in one place.
    Sorry you wasted your time.

  3. Yeah, she was kind of a crappy murderer. I can overlook some convenient plot devices, but the whole set-up was so unrealistic that I couldn't get beyond a few chapters. I mean, it is EXTREMELY difficult to strangle a grown man, even if you are a man. It's even more difficult to do it if you're a grown woman, and I'd say probably impossible if you're a nine-year-old, as this main character was supposed to be. (Spoiler, but it's in the first few chapters so I figure I'm okay with posting that here?) It was too much to swallow, with too many bad decisions, plot holes, and farfetched scenarios. It's disappointing that there seemed to be so little research put into this book.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  4. Well, that's a shame. I'll be avoiding this one now, not that I was rushing about to read it before. Bad main characters usually lead to a bad book. Great way to write your review :)

  5. I read this review on Goodreads a few days ago and had a good laugh! I mean, I so would not be able to take this book seriously either, it sounds so ridiculous! Sorry you had a bad experience with the book, Zahida, but hopefully it makes you feel a little bit better knowing that you very much entertained me with you review!


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