BriefINK Review: ‘Dear Killer’ by Katherine Ewell

Dear Killer by Morgan MatsonBriefly: Kit Ward has been primed to take over the family business. Well, at least on her mother’s side, anyway. Vienna Ward was a serial killer, and has been training Kit in the art of assassination since she was young. And how do they find their prey? Requests are made via letter (and they say no one writes nowadays) and stashed in a secret location. No judgment is made by Kit; nothing is checked out or substantiated. The victim is located, and the deed is done. Quickly. Relatively cleanly. But not for free. There is no right; there is no wrong; only duty.

London police are at a loss regarding The Perfect Killer, as they have dubbed the unknown person who slays without rhyme or reason. Then Vienna brings home Alex, the unofficial head of the police unit investigating the murders. Kit is intrigued and wants to find out all he knows.

Then there’s a first: The Perfect Killer is asked to kill someone Kit is familiar with. Can she do it? She has to; it’s her creed. And after a detour to dispose of someone getting in the way of her quarry, she’s ready. Because she’s Perfect…right?

Didja Like It?: I know praise has been heaped upon the author, who, at seventeen years of age, wrote this book. It’s amazing really, since this mature prose is that of an author who was in high school when this was written. It’s told very matter-of-factly, without fear, prejudice or disdain, which mirrors the mindset of the main character, a hunter of prey. But be warned; Kit has been trained since birth to feel nothing; no remorse, no guilt, no regret. It’s a job for her, as her mother’s protégé. Her mother loves her and wants to pass on this skill, this profession. Kit loves her mother and killing. No right, no wrong.

Anything Else to Mention?: It’s truly an interesting concept, since, typically, we know serial killers as being compulsive in their need to kill. Not that they are sloppy or careless; they just must kill. So here’s a woman, who has that need, who marries carefully – he’s largely absent and makes a lot of money. Then Vienna has a child, with the intention of teaching her all she knows. Would Kit have been a serial killer without the instruction, or was it inevitable?

To Read or Not To Read: It’s graphic and, of course, about killing, so if this bothers you, I would skip it. For those who are intrigued, it is a well-written book that tells the story coldly. Like a serial killer would.

Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell was published April 1, 2014 by Katherine Tegen Books. Ink and Page picked this book up from the library, so no one had a choice about whether it was reviewed.

Rating: 4

Genre: Young Adult Fiction Contemporary Thriller
Ages: 14 and up
You Might Want to Know: Graphic descriptions of murder

 

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