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Dear Killer

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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.

362 pages, Hardcover

First published April 1, 2014

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About the author

Katherine Ewell

4 books117 followers
18-year-old author of YA thriller DEAR KILLER, to be published by HarperCollins in April 2014. Stanford freshman, horse lover, avid reader, science and sci-fi lover, girly-girl, geek.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 736 reviews
July 26, 2016

“The Perfect Killer is based in Chelsea and is a student,” I said loudly.
“You...didn’t know that,” I realized with a touch of despair. I had said too much.
I only wanted to prove my cleverness to him, seemingly using information that was public property. But instead I had given him new clues that could lead to me.
Shit.
Well, way to fucking go.

This was just a terrible book. There are so many problems, I am at a loss because I'm not quite sure where to start.

So let's start from the beginning. This book is about a 17-year old female serial killer. Let's just use our literary suspension of disbelief and let this go because there is so much wrong with this book that the utter improbability of a child serial killer barely registers on the radar of incomprehensible idiocy.

Let's just believe, that 17-year old Kit is really a serial killer, groomed by good ole mommy (a gorgeous, blonde former serial killer herself, currently a Stepford Wife in disguise) to kill, since she was 9 years old.
When I was nine, we began to manage it together, and when I was twelve she let me have it all for my own. I only killed four between the ages of nine and twelve, but when I took absolute possession of the mailbox I set a quicker pace—about ten a year.
At the ripe old age of 17, Kit has developed a reputation for herself, she is known far and wide in London as the Perfect Killer. She has been responsible for over 50 deaths.

Ok, suspension of disbelief over. Now onto the real dumb shit.

The Writing & Narration: Is just terrible.



The writing is full of introspective bullshit that a 15-year old emo teenager might write in her notebook because she feels everything so strongly. It is pretentious, it makes me scratch my head. It is full of observations that just makes me laugh out loud because they are so completely ludicrous.
I wondered if the maids would be nervous too if they knew they were cleaning the house of murderers.
Note to self: NO SHIT.

Kit has the dumbest character observations. She goes into paragraphs and paragraphs to herself, wondering what a person is like, thinking about their characters, their clothes, what they're hiding beneath the surface. It doesn't come off as realistic so much as it gives us a sense that this is a pretentious teenager overthinking things. It doesn't help that her observations are of the "WELL, DUH" sort.
She had on this draped, toga-like dress patterned with green bamboo; it didn’t suit her figure, and it bothered me, but she was one of my favorite teachers despite her odd dressing habits. I’d had her a few years ago for an English class. She taught English when she wasn’t teaching philosophy, and I liked her and how she spoke. Her short black hair was no-nonsense, no-frills. She didn’t talk too fast. She took her time with things, and sometimes I even believed that she might understand me and why I killed. But I would never tell her, of course. She was legally obligated, as a teacher, to tell the police.
Note to self: NO SHIT.

Kit's long running narrative is excruciatingly painful to read. Her observations are way too much. They're just so incredibly silly.

BUT HIS EYES! HIS EYES! Kit is one of those sorts who reads everyone's emotions. And it is just terrible. .
...he looked almost upset, but the turmoil was mixed disturbingly with fury.
She seeeeeeeeeees so much into people's eyes.
His eyes tell me that he is thinking intently about something else, and also that he is sad about something or other.
The Dialogue & Kit's Acting: Artificial and utterly laughable. The characters' speech is overly flowery at times, completely wooden in others. It doesn't flow, it doesn't feel like actual dialogue.

Kit thinks she is an actress, she tries to be an actress; she feigns distress at times, and her acting is completely laughable. She yowls, she wails. I don't know quite how the other characters buy into her acts of distress when I don't believe in it myself.
“Yes, but I didn’t do it, I swear I didn’t, everyone is going to think that, but I swear I didn’t, I didn’t, I didn’t...,” I wailed insistently, and leaned more heavily against the window, quivering timidly. I even managed to make myself cry some more, tears leaking out of my eyes slowly.
Kit acts a LOT in this book. She pretends to be someone she's not, and it is unconvincing as hell. She pretends she's dumb. She pretends she cares. I can't pretend that I give a shit about her and her acting.

Kit's Arrogance: Kit is so fucking full of herself, I can't even deal with her. She always puts herself in a setting. She always poses. We always feel her sense of prime self-importance, and it pisses me off like nothing else. Kit appears in every scene like the prima donna in a movie.
I thought about us in our gray-walled, elegant hallway, the two slender blondes on the edge of an expensive rug, pale-skinned and frail-looking, pausing beneath famous photographs, drinking orange juice from designer glasses.
She is tallish, blonde, pretty enough, and she knows it. She constantly reminds us of how unthreatening she is, making sure that we know that she is good looking, but so self-deprecating that she doesn't really care how pretty she is.
They would see dark eyes under dark eyelashes, prominent collarbones, and a smattering of freckles dashed across a thin nose like Audrey Hepburn’s, the only truly beautiful feature of a small pale face—would they see a seventeen-year-old murderer?
The Letters: You know, for a serial killer, Kit doesn't exactly keep a low fucking profile. Everyone knows about her, it seems like everyone knows how to contact her---except for the police.

The reason is that everyone knows that there is a serial killer on the loose who takes orders to kill, all you have to do is write a letter, leave a sum of money inside the letter, and put it in a ultra special, secret "mailbox." A mailbox that everyone knows about, a mailbox where Kit comes regularly to check her mail and gets her killing orders---except for the police.

Kit gets a ton of these letters. And the police---those fuckin' incompetent, idiotic police, right? Just doesn't have a fucking clue.
Strangely few people knew about it, considering the fact that I was so famous. Not even the police knew about it. Or at least I assumed so, since they hadn’t taken control of or searched it yet.
Can you believe that? And there are a lot of fucking letters. A lot of people who knows about The Perfect Killer.
Letters nearly filled the mailbox, at least thirty of them.
The Killings: I love serial killers and I love the psychological insights that go on in the murderers' minds. There is no such complexity here. Kit and her mother can't seem to decide why they kill. They sometimes think they are playing Lady Justice.
You know why we kill. We kill because there is no justice. And without us, the world is lost—”
Except it's not true. There is no reason to these killing whatsoever other than vigilante justice, and then again, justice is delivered to those who do no wrong at all. Kit feels like she is delivering justice, when really, she is only killing for minor, stupid fucking reasons, like to avenge a lover's quarrel.

For example: Death #1; a man has done a drunk hit and run.
Dear Killer,
I had had too much to drink, maybe I shouldn’t have been driving, but I didn’t mean anything bad. I was just going home. But there was this red light and I didn’t really know what I was doing, and I drove through it—and there was this other car that swerved to avoid me, and it crashed and someone died.
I just kept driving.
Said fiancée wants the perpetrator to turn himself into the police. Said perpetrator doesn't want to do it. Said perpetrator writes a letter to Kit, ordering the earnest fiancée's death.
Kill her. Her name is Lily Kensington, and she lives at 28 Lark Place, in Chelsea. She gets home every night at nine.
Kit kills her.

I hardly call that justice.

Death #2: A crazed, obsessive lover wants Kit to kill his lover because...
It makes me angry. She makes me angry. But I love her. No one can have her but me, or I really am going to kill myself.
Please. Please kill her. If I can’t have her, no one can.
ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? How is that justice?! If someone is obsessed with me, it's hardly MY fucking fault. Do I deserve to die? Yes, according to Kit.

What Psychology?: This book is largely pointless. There is no psychology involved in these murders, the reason is absolutely stupid, and Kit's justification of it makes her character inconsistent. It feels like there is no point for the murders---and I would have actually preferred it that way, because in one sentence, it feels like Kit feels nothing, and in the next, she hates herself. Her character is so incredibly incongruous. This book can't decide what it wants Kit to be.

You Expect Us To Believe...:

1. That a 25-30 year old man (and projected love interest) is unofficially in charge of a serial killer who has killed over 50?
He was young. Younger than I had expected. Much younger, in fact. He couldn’t have been older than twenty-five or thirty. I remembered that my mom had said he was only unofficially in charge of the investigation.
And naturally, very attractive.
...he had a bit of a studious feel to him, as if he were a professor or some other scholar.
He was attractive. Surprisingly so.
OH PLEASE. Let's not fool ourselves. No fucking man that young can ever be in charge of a very, very important, very, very high profile serial killer investigation. The young Scotland Yard Sergeant was injected into this story because there was a need for a hot young guy in the book. That's all.

2. That Scotland Yard needs HELP from a random 17-year old who suddenly injected herself into the case?
“I was hoping you’d come. We need a new eye here. It’s the same deal as before—an untraceable murder. It’s frustrating.”
3. That Scotland Yard would share details about a serial killer's latest victim to said 17-year old girl?
“The couch pillows are still in place,” he said angrily. “No DNA, no fingerprints, no witnesses, no broken windows or picked locks, nothing. Nothing but the body.”
4. That a 17-year old girl would be allowed onto a serial killer's crime scene?
Alex let the tape fall, and shoulder to shoulder, we walked inside. Legitimate police officers passed by me, looking very official, making me feel like a child. Once we got into the front hallway, where Lily Kensington had put her hand on my shoulder, he gestured to the room to our left.
4. That if you kill a person on black carpeting, bloodstains can't be detected?
Black carpet so the bloodstains wouldn’t help the police solve the murder.
Because really, what's luminol for, anyway? Useless shit, right. Pfft.

A Good Serial Killer Doesn't...:

1. Inject herself into the crime case: Any criminal profiling school reject knows this. Murderers constantly return to the scene of the crime and try to get themselves closer to the police to get to know the case. And it's exactly what Kit does.
I walked into the Chelsea Police Station bearing pastries and a smile.
2. Ask the police about the crime herself.
“You’re a kid. Why are you following me to work? You want something, I can tell, but I don’t know what that is.”
“Ah...well...” I laughed nervously. “I want to know about the Perfect Killer.”
3. Go back to the scene of the crime where she very recently killed someone.
When we got to the crime scene, there was crime-scene tape everywhere and a near army of reporters.
I did my best to keep them from seeing my face, given the fact that they were possible witnesses. Of course, I was subtle about it.
Subtle. Yes, because that helps so much.

4. Bumble the fuck up when getting into a victim's home.
I looked around, biting my lip. I needed to get in. Usually by this point in the conversation I was already inside.
“Actually, I have to talk to you about something,” I murmured.
“Yeah, well, whatever you want to talk to me about, we can talk right here,” she said, leaning against the doorway imposingly, making it clear that she was taller and stronger than me. Her expression was distinctly unfriendly.
“It’s...well...I don’t want to,” I said childishly, petulantly.
5. Get to know your victim for months before killing them.
“Fair enough. We’re friends, then?”
She smiled a soft smile, ever so slightly.
“Yeah. Friends.”
My stomach churned a bit.
6. Threaten a boy in front of everyone in your class...
“Stop playing games,” I hissed.
Yet again, everyone was listening. They had stopped what they were doing and they were all listening to us, wondering if we would deteriorate into physical violence again.
7. ...and then kill him and "discover" his body, at your school.
“How did you discover the body?”
“I just...went to the bathroom, and he was there, on the floor.” I shuddered.
8. Have a romantic moment over a corpse.
And here, in the hallway, despite the darkness of the situation, emotions began to float up in my chest again, accentuated and amplified by the physical closeness between Alex and me.
Fuck this book.



Quotes were taken from an uncorrected proof subject to change in the final edition.
589 reviews1,031 followers
April 4, 2014
See more reviews at YA Midnight Reads

I really hate the be that girl who goes around hating every book she picks up. For the past few weeks, there have only been negative reactions to novels. Dear Killer was the same. I tried so hard to see light in it, but that's pretty hard when it's a pile of shit.

Let's start with our main character, Kit. She's the Perfect Killer. A killer who kills without a trace each time. A killer who leaves notes with the body. A killer who is 17 years old and is naive and more stupid than the dumbest person on Earth. Kit has no logic. I don't get why she kills in the first place. I mean, we get told that her mother used to kill and so it went in the family but what was the purpose? Some ridiculous rule such as "Nothing is right, nothing is wrong." Is not going to stop me from asking questions. It's just made me wonder why in the seven seas I bothered with this book in the first place. Anyway. One example of Kit's stupidity is when she goes up to a cop who is investigating the Perfect Killer case, and gives him undiscovered information.
“The Perfect Killer is based in Chelsea and is a student,” I said loudly.

Then she befriends him.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Are you kidding me?[/caption]

This girl is a genius. She's trying to stay undercover yet just to show how smart and resourceful she is to a cop, she reveals information that will eventually bite back at her if she just does one slip up. And she does. Later, there's a boy in her school that she hates. She punches him and threatens him in public. Spoiler alert: He dies a few days later.

There's a lot of suspension of disbelief going off in Dear Killer. Firstly, the letters. The Perfect Killer has a mailbox where people can send her letters for requests to kill someone. The letter contains all the information of why the person want them dead and where the Perfect Killer can find them. The Perfect Killer receives a lot of mail each month, the letterbox is said to be overflowing a one point. So why the heck don't the cops know about it? The Perfect Killer leaves the letters she gets sent with the person's body. Can't the cops just read the letter, find the person who wrote it and interrogate them into revealing the address of the letterbox? Then all the cops would need to do is write a fake letter, post it in the letterbox and trap the Perfect Killer? It's that simple. Another example of my suspension disbelief is how the Perfect Killer kills. Probably due the the author's writing, but I just felt like it was too simple. The Perfect Killer just strolls in, does a kick in the face and boom. dead. I know it's possible, but each and every time? Hard to believe.

Furthermore, the character is always saying that she's good at killing and she can kill. But for most of the murders she commits in this book, I swear I, a 14 year old teenager who spends all her time in her room watching TV shows, doing homework and reading and owning a book blog, could do the crappy, half-assed killing that Kit did.




[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="400"] This gif sums up Kit's lack of skill very well[/caption]

Due to all these criticisms, this was my expression the whole time:

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="400"] *snore*[/caption]

And as a last complaint, the ending was anticlimatic. It just ended so randomly. Like if you're going to end it, END IT RIGHT.

~Thank you Katherine Tegen for sending me this copy!~


*Sorry for all the Teen Wolf gifs. I just watched Season 3 Episode 23 and it broke my heart.

Profile Image for Megan.
523 reviews343 followers
March 25, 2014
DEAR KILLER is a book where I wish I can take back all those precious hours I spent reading it and devote them to other things. It’s a book I want to forget, a book I want to pretend does not exist. This is no offense to those who love it, or those who worked on it. It’s a book that I found in so many ways to be ridiculous, nonsensical, and at times verging on being completely offensive to a number of groups – victims of domestic violence in particular. And as such, this review might have spoilers and triggers for any survivors of domestic abuse or stalking, so be prepared if you wish to proceed.

Following the “Perfect Killer”, in reality a teenage girl in a London that sounds more like Los Angeles except with colder weather, we fall into a world where the police are more incompetent than the FBI on an NBC drama (I’m looking at you, The Blacklist), teenage girls decide whether you live or die, mothers are psychopaths who teach evil to their unquestioning daughters, and victims deserve to die if they’re happy their abusers are dead.

Kit might have been one of the most unlikable heroines I have ever encountered. Beyond her contorted sense of the definitions of right and wrong, as well as never questioning her mother’s intentions and having a horrible sense of protecting herself, she was just a horrible person. Her judgments were questionable – letting people live versus letting them die based on notes left in an extremely findable box in a restaurant, in a toilet behind a tile where anyone could find the notes and the cash left as payment for her actions (by the way – what was she even doing with hundreds of thousands of dollars? Putting it away for college? Saving to buy a pony? She was rich to begin with considered she lived in a neighborhood where small townhouses like hers would retail for $10 million US). On top of this, her contorted sense of self is suddenly impervious to the law, to common sense, and to justice. Her “justice” was never just. Ever.

The book never feels like something real, like a true contemporary tale of what might happen. The writing is subpar, the characters cardboard, and the world building for London very off. It seemed more like California and less like England, from the schools

What made me so mad about DEAR KILLER was how it seemed to exist in another world where the laws and realities of our own world don’t matter. For example, Kit our not-so-much-a-heroine heroine wanders onto a crime scene where the police invite her to contribute her opinion – on a crime she committed and bragged about how well she hid everything, while not really doing something that would clear her - and then invite her to give advice on other crimes, into crime scenes, giving her clues and evidence about crimes she committed. In fact, the police officer she takes an interest in is so blinded by how awesome Kit is that he can’t piece together the obvious fact she is the killer. She doesn’t do a good job hiding it, and he’s as daft as can be.

Oh, and Kit? You are not a “Perfect Killer” – you just exist in a world where your police officials cannot put together two and two, where these letters that would pin anyone as a killer are overlooked because they can be “faked�� and denied (no they can’t – that stuff is obvious). This book’s research seemed to go as far as watching an episode of a procedural show, and not a good one either.

Oh, and beware, this next paragraph is a huge spoiler AND trigger.

Beyond the stupidity of the police and the immoral morality of Kit, this novel seemingly posits that yes, if a girl that Kit calls a friend is happy her tormenter is dead – dead at Kit’s own hand for beating her up to begin with – that she deserves to die. This guy stalked her, threatened her, and caused her to feel great fear in his presence, a fear that ruined her waking life, and yet she deserved to die because she was happy this guy was dead, even though he loved her, even though he showed her that he cared immensely about her by threatening her and intimidating her.

In what world is that okay? In what world is it alright for a teenage girl to be presented as a smart, intelligent heroine when she kills people whose only crimes are falling for the wrong guy who drunk drives and tells her only for her to react badly, or for a girl who was intimidated by a guy in her life, or for a girl who spurned a creep? How do they deserve to die? This book never even answered the question of how this girl was never caught considering her completely easy to spot techniques. I should have known that it never would have fully answered why this girl thought it was okay to kill women and teenage girls who were victims already without being blamed for their perceived crimes.

Even with the ending being the way it is, the morality of this book is just so off-putting and nonsensical that I just cannot recommend this book. I can’t recommend this book full of unrealistic crime fighting, unrealistic killing, and unrealistic expectations.

I just can’t. And in fact, I’ll go one further. Skip this book, pretend it doesn’t exist, and move on.

Profile Image for Beth  (YA Books Central).
415 reviews115 followers
January 18, 2014
I have seen some mixed reviews for this book and to tell you the truth...that is exactly why I wanted to read it. A book that brings about so many different opinions is exactly what I love to read and I absolutely LOVED this book. It was so different than anything I have ever read and I adored it. I mean a teenage serial killer?? UMMM YEAH!!!! This book was just so disturbingly creepy...and I LOVED IT....

"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 the 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. Nothing is right and nothing is wrong. For some people a thing may be right, and for others it may be wrong. There is no greater truth to morality-it is merely an opinion."


The main character, Kit, is a high school student who lives a normal life except for the fact that secretly she is London's notorious serial killer who is called the Perfect Killer. Kit has a mailbox that she uses to take new "cases." People write to her and send her money to perform the killings. Kit reads each letter and does intense research to ensure that the people that are to be killed have earned this. She does not fulfill any requests that she doesn't believe are warranted. Kit is very meticulous and knows what she is doing. She leaves no evidence, no witnesses, and has the police completely stumped. This is her life. This is what she does for a living and she is great at it.

Kit is a phenomenal character and I loved to see how she interacted with people around her and how she performs these murders with no remorse what so ever. Her character is just so wild. She knows what she is doing and she is extremely intelligent and her demeanor is well above her age.

One particular letter she gets brings her to question everything she has done and to rethink her life as the Perfect Killer.

"It was hard sometimes, watching the news when my mother turned it on while she made dinner, seeing blood on the television screen. The news people were always so preoccupied with it. Murders in London, turmoil in the Middle East, videos of people being shot in the streets, pictures of children who vanished and were found decapitated in the woods three months later. And every time the began to talk about violence, things bubbled up within me. Many emotions, but two were the most dominant: irritation with those who killed for the wrong reasons, and impatience for the day that I would again have the power of life and death."

I was completely absorbed in this book and everything it had to offer. I must truly say that it is different than ANYTHING I have ever read before. It is wild, emotional, disturbing, and all together FASCINATING. It is also one of those books that you will either love or you wont and I hope that anyone who reads it falls under the category of LOVE. This is a stand-alone novel and that is one thing that I did not like because I want more Kit...I want more of the Perfect Killer.

There is so much that I want to say about this book but it is really one that you have to read yourself...experience yourself...and hopefully become as obsessed with it as I was. Each chapter was something new and fascinating. With Kit you just never know what you are going to get.

Katherine Ewell has made her mark in the YA industry with this phenomenal debut novel and I will be looking forward to anything she writes in the future.
Author 5 books588 followers
September 9, 2015
Have you ever heard of Axe Cop?

Axe Cop is the creation of a five-year-old boy. Five-year-olds come up with weird characters in the course of pretend play all the time. However, this particular child, Malachai Nicolle, has an older brother named Ethan who happens to be a comic-book writer and illustrator.

Ethan Nicolle is a very nice guy who enjoys the time he spends playing with Malachai, and who was amused by the concept of Axe Cop, a police officer who fights crime with the help of a fireman axe. The whole time they were playing, Ethan recalls, “I was thinking, ‘This could be a funny comic.’”

And it is. You can buy the books, or go online to watch the animated series based on the Nicolle brothers’ creation. (Ethan insists on giving full author credit to young Malachai, though I have the feeling he does a hefty amount of editing – especially when Malachai comes up with characters whose resemblance to existing comic heroes borders on copyright violation.)

The joy of reading Axe Cop is very specific. It relies entirely on whether you take pleasure from very young children’s ideas of how the universe works.

For instance: In the first issue, Axe Cop takes his new partner (Flute Cop) to the land of volcanoes to defeat a gang of dinosaurs. They are successful, of course; but in the course of the battle, Flute Cop gets dinosaur blood on him:

The dinosaur blood caused Flute Cop to unexpectedly transform into a dinosaur soldier! And so they became...Axe Cop and Dinosaur Soldier!

Later, Dinosaur Soldier eats an avocado:

The avocado caused Dinosaur Soldier to turn into an avocado that can shoot avocado out of his hands.

(speech bubble): “I’m Avocado Soldier now.”

Axe Cop’s parents are named Bobber and Gobber Smartist. Oh, and Flute Cop – I mean, Avocado Soldier – is actually Axe Cop’s brother.

Wait – so how come Axe Cop didn’t recognize his only sibling when he held tryouts for a partner? And why didn’t then-Flute Cop notice that the man he was auditioning for was his dear baby brother Axey Smartist?

One day they were both walking backwards. They hit their heads so hard that they forgot everything, even one another.

Oh.

Axe Cop is definitely a pass-or-fail test for readers. Either you can��t get enough of this kind of thing, or it leaves you cold.

I happen to adore listening to kids pretend aloud. It was the best part of all those years I spent babysitting.

All this is the reason Dear Killer worked for me. For a while.

Dear Killer was written by a seventeen-year-old. Specifically, a seventeen-year-old who managed to get a publisher interested in her written game of Let’s Pretend.

Considering that this game involves a seventeen-year-old serial killer, it’s oddly cozy for a surprising length of time. At least it was for me for as long as I could pretend I was the grownup in the room while a child explained the rules of her universe to me.

“So, there’s this girl? And everybody thinks she’s just a girl? But really, she’s a killer. Only nobody knows she’s a killer.”

“Why does she kill people, sweetie?”

“It’s her job.”

(trying to keep a straight face) “Wow. Her job? You mean she works for the government or something?”

“No! The government doesn’t know about her! Nobody knows about her! Except her mom.

“Oh. So she told her mom she kills people? Wasn’t her mom mad?”

“No! It was her mom’s idea! Her mom told her to kill people!”

“Wait – I thought you said it was the girl’s job. Killing people, I mean.”

“It is! It was her mom’s job, and now it’s her job!”

(completely lost) “Oh. But if it's her job, how does she get paid?”

(almost bouncing up and down with excitement) “There’s a restaurant, right? And everyone thinks the women’s restroom there is haunted? And if you leave a letter asking the girl to please kill somebody for you, she might do it. But you have to put money in the letter, too. Or she won’t kill the person you want her to.”

(head spinning) “But – how do the people know she’s a killer and she’ll kill people for them?”

“They don’t know she’s a killer, but they know somebody is!”

“But they know the killer’s a girl?”

“No! Nobody knows! Nobody knows who it is! In fact, everybody thinks it’s a guy! But really it’s this girl! And she’s the perfect killer! Nobody can ever catch her!”

“She must be really good at it. So – only girls ask her to kill people? Girls and women, I mean.”

(scornfully) “No! Everybody does!”

“But you have to leave the letters in the women’s restroom...”

“So?”

“Well, wouldn’t people notice if men went in there?”

“No!”

“Um...”

“THEY JUST DON’T.”

“Okay, honey. Okay. So they go in there with their letters and – what do they do with them?”

(happy again) “There’s a special secret hiding place in one of the toilet stalls! Everybody knows about it! She calls it her mailbox! She goes and checks her mail, and all the letters are there! She takes all the letters and all the money, and then she kills whichever people she feels like killing!”

“But wouldn’t the people who work there notice if she goes to that same restroom every day?”

“She doesn’t go every day! She doesn’t want people to notice her ‘cause then she might get caught, so she only goes, like, once every couple of months!”

“But, sweetie – if everybody knows about this secret hiding place, and she doesn’t empty it every day, how does she stop other people from taking the money before she can?”

(shocked) “That would be stealing!”

And that’s just the premise. I didn’t mark any of that as a spoiler, because it’s all in the first chapter.

You’d be forgiven for expecting Avocado Soldier to show up and fight The Perfect Killer. That would be marginally more realistic than what does happen.

Initially – longer than I should have been, really – I was charmed enough by this sense of being in someone’s “let’s pretend” world to enjoy this book. If this had been treated the way Axe Cop was – as an amusing idea by an engagingly creative young story-spinner – it might have worked.

But this book takes itself the wrong kind of seriously. And it insists the reader take it seriously, too. And no thinking reader could. Even if readers don’t know every detail of how a successful dead drop works, they’d easily figure out how epically this one fails.

And that’s not the only flaw in Dear Killer’s set-up. Not by a long shot.

The people who told this young writer she had talent were right to do so. The ones who went on to publish her story without some hefty editing did her a great disservice.

I’d love to say more, but I have to go catch up on my reading. Axe Cop has a new sidekick named Uni-Baby. She has a magical horn that grants wishes.

Now that I’ve finished Dear Killer, I need a dose of that kind of realism.
Profile Image for emma.
1,825 reviews48.4k followers
April 13, 2017
just realized i have a ton of backed-up reviews i've never posted. so strap in, because this one is a very negative and very long one.

1/5 (0/5 if I could do it)

I don’t take notes on every book I review. If I do, it’s because I’m worried about forgetting my thoughts in the earlier sections (i.e., I’m either reading it too slowly or too quickly) or--and I think you can guess which category this book falls into--I really cannot stand the process of reading the book.


My notes on this book fall into two categories: 1) poor writing, and 2) overall dumbness, for lack of a better word. Each have quotes to back up my harsh opinion.


Let’s start with the poor writing. This book features one of my personal literary pet peeves (and one I haven’t encountered since I read fanfiction as a preteen): an American who attempts--and nearly always fails--to write as a Brit. It often comes off as too try-hard-y, with British slang pouring off dialogue, but this one didn’t even try. The author didn’t even bother to control-F-change “Mom” to “Mum.” This was also just teeming with unnecessary and boring details. One time, the protagonist’s mother nods: this is described as a “motherly, reassuring, thoughtful, vaguely uncertain nod of the head.” I couldn’t believe it. At one point, the perspective--which remains first person without exception--switches to 3rd person in the middle of a paragraph, then back. The narrator also considers (at length) cutting her hair before deciding it wouldn’t be as chic as her mom’s THREE TO FOUR TIMES. Then she does it, and it’s the same conversation again.


Onto the next point: general stupidity. Let me introduce this by saying that I enjoy a book about a sociopath. And that’s what I thought I was getting: the cover’s tagline is “Perfect in her methods, precise in her madness.” But Kit is far from emotionless (unfortunately, since her emotions are always a chore)--she’s just honestly stupid, or a flat character, or both. She does things she absolutely does not want to do (I won’t say what exactly, for the sake of spoilers) for no reason. And despite being dubbed the “Perfect Killer,” she’s not that good at what she does. She is spotted at one of her crime scenes three times, and has two close calls. She befriends one victim, is convinced by another not to kill her, and punches one in the face in front of the entire student body of her high school. (To the latter, she follows up with: “I’ll get you like I get the rest [...] I’ll kill you.”)


Her M.O. as a serial killer (beyond the “perfect” nature of her crimes) is that she leaves the letters requesting that particular victim to be killed with the victim’s body. If you’re like me, you’re thinking: That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. It’s not just the hitman who can get convicted, it’s the person who hires the hitman. And it’s easy to tell who wrote the letters. Our protagonist clears this up by saying that she cleans the handwritten letters of fingerprints, and because of this there can’t be a conviction or even an arrest. BECAUSE APPARENTLY HANDWRITING EXPERTS DON’T EXIST. God.


Kit is not smart, but apparently nobody told her (or the author) that. The narrative just takes aspects of her that are stupid and deems them intelligent. One example comes from Kit’s initial conversation with the police officer in charge of her case: “‘But you’re running the show, aren’t you?’ I regretted that comment. It sounded too intelligent.”


There’s another thing that bugged me about that secret mailbox of letters. People tack on money to their handwritten letters, which doesn’t super make sense since Kit doesn’t kill everyone, but whatever. My main problem is that the mailbox is very commonly known in the seedy underground of London--so why doesn’t anyone steal the money? It’s behind a loose tile in the women’s bathroom of a café!


Kit’s motivation for being a murderer is solely rooted in the motivations of her mother. Apparently her mother had been a serial killer but almost got caught and had to stop, so she trained her daughter and is able to satisfy her violent tendencies through the knowledge that Kit is murdering. Which doesn’t make sense, because that’s not how violence works, and also Kit feels things, often anti-murder emotions, and this motivation just doesn’t seem strong enough to me.


And I wish I could say this book was at least thrilling or entertaining. But I never enjoyed reading this. So…


Bottom line: nope. Can’t recommend.
Profile Image for Alisa.
244 reviews190 followers
December 24, 2014
Find this review and more at http://www.bibliodaze.com

Thank you, Edelweiss, for giving me the opportunity of reviewing this book.

Hello Dear Killer,

Seeing as the one of the main reasons Kit does anything slightly important in this book (except for one person) is because of a letter, I'll write one in the hopes that this book will be one of the killed.

I know that many people think it's impossible for there to be a teen killer. Fortunately for you, I'm not one of them. Sure, they're rare (Most serial killers are between the ages of 18-30), but Armadeep Sada was an eight year old serial killer. I can even believe that you started killing when you were tiny, because female serial killers don't get caught until much later and Miranda Barbour was recently caught.

Killing over fifty people? Very unbelievable, but then, Pedro Alonso López is known to have killed over 300 people, and he's still not in jail.

Seventeen year old killer? Believable. Female serial killer, even though only 15% of serial killers are women? Fine, whatever. Killing over 50 people even though the female average is nine? Not as believable, but whatever, it's fiction.

But for Ctullu's sake, do some research, book! Kit's supposed to be the only terrifying serial killer in England, after Jack the Ripper (who, by the way, only killed five people), but a simple Wikepedia search shows so many more.

Okay, fine. You don't want to do the work of actually googling things. I get it. Hey, how about that TV show that's extremely popular called Criminal Minds? It's not the most completely accurate thing that details about serial killers, but whatever. Anything would be better than this trainwreck.

Did you know, Dear Killer, that I had a great year of books before you? And then you came, with your interesting cover and your interesting synopsis, and I ignored my basic instincts that told me that teen serial killers were the new thing in YA, which therefore would make this horrible. But I didn't listen to the instincts that kept humanity alive for millions of years. I decided to get you from Edelweiss, and look how horrible you were.

Do you know how much I tried to like you? I mean, your first couple of pages were amazing, and I was so excited to finally get an actually good YA thriller. I was even ignored the other books that I wanted to read to get to you. And you know how you acted to me? Just. Like. This:




So instead of reading actually decent books, I was stuck reading you. Do you want to know why I didn't stop. Because I had faith in your getting better.





Oh yes, Dear Killer, I was one of those horrible main characters that would stick with the heroine even though he was a complete and utterly unredeemable... jerk. Yes, I have decided that I should really come up with better insults.  Anyways, I was one of those terrible heroines. Look at what you have made me become!



You know what Kit leaves as her signature? Letters. And not just any letters. Letters that people write to her when they want her to kill somebody. How stupid can you be?




Oh, and do you know where the people put the letters? In a mailbox, as if the police isn't going to catch that.

Okay, fine. I get it. Occasionally, the police mess up. That does not mean they're that bad at their job every single time. Similarly, it does not mean that it'll be simple to take part in a police investigation and feed them the information you want them to know. If you freaking walk up to the police station and start declaring all these facts about the investigation, they're not going to believe you're a little bright. They're going to do the magical thing called arresting you for suspicion of murder.

And you know what else? They don't used media-inspired names, for obvious reasons.

If you couldn't tell, I really like studying serial killers. And guess what? Kit. Is. Not. A. Serial. Killer. Serial killers don't just kill a lot of people. A serial killer is a person that kills three or more people in an extended period of time with a cooling off period in between. This "cooling off" period is a time where said serial killer keeps an emotional distance. And then they have an urge to kill again. Did this happen, Dear Killer?

The answer, by the way, is no.

Were you supposed to be creepy, Dear Killer? Weren't you supposed to give me nightmares? Wasn't I supposed to lock all my doors and windows and huddle in a corner?  Well, do you know how much coffee I had to drink in order to stay awake through this?

Please, a "perfect" kill? Every single time, which, by the way, is over fifty times? This just falls into the realm of unbelievable. Kit messes up so many times, it's turns hysterical. Anyone reading you, Dear Killer, can see how obviously bad Kit is at killing.

Maybe if Kit was more careful, I might have believed that she could get away with over fifty kills. But of course not. She's one of those narcissistic characters who believe they do everything correct. Usually, something will happen to one of these characters to change this thought, but no. Nothing really happens to Kit and she just continues her narcissism until the end.

The mother-daughter dynamic was laughable. It was supposed to make me feel pity for Kit and everything she went through, but the way she was raised was really badly written.

And I'm not even going to bring up Alex, who, by the way is the love interest. While it wasn't instantaneous love, it was an instant attraction, which was bad enough. He's nine years older than Kit, and he's just completely weak. I mean, there's the typical romance alpha male who just pushes everything on the heroine, and then there are people like Alex, who sit back and whine and let everything happen to them instead of actually controlling the events around him.

Also, does this take place in the U. K.? Because I never would have guessed if it wasn't told to me so many times. I mean, don't completely throw stereotypes at me, but give me a few hints as to where this is located other than Kit's incurable first person narrative.

There is no plot in you, Dear Killer. It's just a lot of events that are barely aligned in chronological order. Congratulations on maintaining a semblance of control of time.

At first, I gave you 2 stars, but now that I'm actually writing about you, I've decided that you're a horrible book.

But hey, at least there's no love triangle. Also, read Nenia Campbell's Horrorscape trilogy for an actually good thriller.

Signed,
A Very Pissed off Reader
(Alisa, by the way)
Profile Image for NotoriousGOT.
134 reviews
February 17, 2014
This one is going to piss off a lot of people but persoanlly, I really enjoyed it. I'm a bit of a fan of disturbing, serial killer books. I'm a big fan of Dexter and American Psycho and Silence of the Lambs and so when I started reading this book I was hooked. I think this was the first time I've read a YA novel that truly unnerved and disturbed me and I think that's a good thing. I think a lot of people are going to read this and say that this supports violence against women but it's a story. it's a look into the mind of a fucked up teen who's been trained tl be a killer by her mother. This book is about so much more than just the violenece. While I definitely don't think this is for everyone, I do think it's one of the most unique and original YA books I have ever read.
Profile Image for Rayne.
862 reviews287 followers
February 20, 2014
Stilted, awkward writing; poor characterization; terrible dialogues; horrible representation of women and victim blaming; inconsistent, unrealistic, inaccurate and nonsensical, Dear Killer just flaunts its daring premise and does nothing with it, as it is embarrassingly incapable of making it work.

I've been sitting on this one for about a month, and the truth is that my severe dislike for Dear Killer has not diminished in the slightest, and that, quite the contrary, my animosity towards it grows with each passing day. Dear Killer is, in all likelihood, one of the most absurd, nonsensical, and poorly-written novels I've ever read. I am more than willing to suspend my disbelief for a story that makes it worthwhile, so this has nothing to do with how supremely ridiculous the idea behind the book is. My poor rating and bad review have everything to do with the terrible execution of the idea.

Assassins and killers seem to be new thing, I get it. As YA grows as a genre, boundaries are being pushed and lines are being redrawn, and things that perhaps would not have been acceptable in YA a couple of years ago, are easily shrugged away now. Case in point: a teenage serial killer. What I am trying to get at is that I know that a lot of people gave this book a bad rating because they felt the thematic was too violent, brutal and mature for YA. The book doesn't shy away from violence, that's true, but I don't particularly believe the central theme and how it is presented in the novel is more than YA audiences can handle or damaging. It certainly should be addressed to the older audiences within YA, but I really had no problem with the thematic in the slightest. My problems were entirely with how the book was written.

First off, the writing. I would go as far as to call the writing in this novel painful and awkward. It tried so hard to come across as sophisticated, deep and philosophical, that it crossed the line into pretentious, and not the type of pretentious where you can still give some credit to the abilities of the person behind it, but more like that type of pretentious that gives you secondhand embarrassment because you know it is coming from undeserved self-assurance. The author constantly overdid it with the adverbs and adjectives, often adding far too much baggage to sentences that made the narration drag. The dialogues were also consistently forced, stilted and flat. There was not a single spark of authenticity to any of the conversations between the characters, or to the characters themselves for that matter. The novel attempts to deal with themes of morality, nihilism and relevance, but they were far beyond the reach of the author's talents. There is not deep philosophical debate, although the character development of the main character hinged on that, and, in any case, there is not strong psychological basis for any of it, so the characters end up coming across as immature, cartoonish, underdeveloped and thoroughly inconsistent.

And the characters were hardly the only inconsistent thing in the book. The plot, what little there actually is, is riddled with holes, it is illogical and often even nonsensical. We have this girl who is supposedly the most notorious serial killer in London and who is readily available to carry out executions for the right price, and yet, she has evaded capture since she was nine years old. How she has evaded capture is completely beyond me, because everybody knows how to contact her, she is repeatedly seen entering the place where the "mailbox" is located, she doesn't take any particular precaution while carrying out the murders and doesn't exactly work hard to rid herself of suspicion. To make up for that, the opposition in this novel is represented by what has to be the most incompetent police force I've ever read about. Never mind that a 20-something would never be placed in charge, even if it is under wraps like in the novel, of the ongoing investigation of the most notorious criminal London has ever seen, or that they would ever dare to consult a freaking seventeen year old to solve these crimes and just invite her into crime scenes like nothing. My real problem is that Kit wasn't exactly being stealthy about the whole thing. She freaking showed up at every murder scene, had information no one but the killer could ever have, was seen by one of the victims (who decides never to tell anyone who the killer is because, what the hell, just let her go around killing everyone), and yet they never caught on. It's almost like she wanted to get caught, and one could argue that this book is a response on that belief that all serial killers want to get caught, but the book proved it is not profound enough to be a response on anything. It was just lazy characterization and plotting.

All throughout the book, Kit relentlessly tells the reader that she is brilliant and smart and the cleverest thing to walk on two legs in history. And yet, not once was she ever smart about anything. Things worked in her favor because they were written that way. She rarely planned ahead, and yet, she was never caught, in spite of the fact that she killed her victims in highly public places, like their workplace, at school and busy streets. Apparently, Dear Killer takes place in a world where offices of high profile business men and clubs have no security cameras, where nobody hears screaming or comes rushing to see what's wrong when they hear a freaking window being smashed, and with people who would never suspect a girl that publicly tells someone that she's going to kill him days before he turns up dead, and won't even interrogate properly said girl when she casually finds the boy dead in the school bathroom after hours when they were the only ones around. Kit was not smart or brilliant, she only succeeded because that's exactly how the author wrote it. Quite frankly, they would've caught her after the first murder in the real world with how careless and stupid she was.

The whole point of the plot is that this "perfect killer" is going to go through a emotional and philosophical crisis that will define the next step she takes, which will culminate with the decision to murder her new best friend, because why not go out of your way to befriend a lonely girl and be seen constantly with her right before you kill her? Except that nowhere in the book is Kit's indecision portrayed convincingly. Jumping erratically from one thought to the other doesn't make a character ambivalent or conflicted, it makes them inconsistent. The entire psychology behind Kit is ridiculous, almost insultingly absurd. Even before her crisis, Kit was inconsistent about everything. For the first few chapters of the novel, she's talking about why she kills, and at one point she says it is because she is the justice in a world without fairness, and then on the next moment, she's talking about how she's a moral nihilist and she doesn't believe in right or wrong or fairness. But then she comes to the letters and at one point chooses them completely arbitrarily, and the next she's judging their reason. Her characterization is simply all over-the-place all throughout the novel, and she does not believably portray the broken mind of a girl who's been forced to kill since she was nine and that now is getting second thoughts.

The lack of research for this novel shows every step of the way. From the ridiculous notion that they couldn't accuse the writers of the letters even though they identified themselves, their relationship with the victim and disclosed personal information; from the absurdity that you can't get bloodstains from a black carpet, that you can erase fingerprints by soaking a paper in whatever the hell is it that she invented, that you can leave imprints on someone's neck from choking them but they can't possibly catch you because you have unusually large hands for a girl, among many, many other things. But the psychological implications of being a serial killer are perhaps the worst transgressions this books commits in research. Serial killers are elusive and fascinating, so extensive research has been done in many of the most notorious serial killers. The entire psychology of one cannot possibly be defined, but you can read about them and you can easily see that serial killers have particular thought patterns and behaviors, and although an accurate representation of one is not easy, clearly there was either very little research for this novel in this area or this type of character is beyond the abilities of the writer. Now, I know she was very young when she wrote this, and that in itself is impressive, but she shouldn't be cut some slack because of her age. She put a product out there with quite a daring premise and I would expect her to deliver in some fashion, which she clearly didn't.

Dear Killer was a crushing disappointment. I hadn't exactly been anticipating it or following it, but I was considerably interested in it and hoped it would deliver. But Dear Killer is little more than just a very daring and interesting premise. It's an immature attempt that fails to even amuse. I did not expect to like a protagonist that is a serial killer, but it's like the book went out of its way to portray her horribly, like with the much discussed instance of victim blaming. And even far beyond that, her entire characterization, upon which hinged the entire purpose of the novel, was too shallow, misinformed and inconsistent. The plot is far too holed to support the absurdity of the premise, and the writing did nothing to help. I didn't only not like it, this book also made me angry in many different ways, and that's simply not an experience I want while reading a book.
Profile Image for Paige (Illegal in 3 Countries).
1,225 reviews391 followers
March 11, 2014
See more of my reviews on The YA Kitten! My copy was an ARC I received from the publisher via Edelweiss.

Many implied spoilers for Dear Killer are within. Not lightly implied either. Read even half-attentively and you will see spoilers.

How on earth I went from enjoying the last 90 pages of the adorable, totally-worth-reading Alienated by Melissa Landers to reading all 368 pages of this... THING in a day escapes me. One of my friends started reading it just before me and warned me of what was to come, but the full impact of it did not hit me until I read it myself. Dear Killer is one of the most offensive novels I have ever read. My shame that Alexandra Adornetto wrote the Halo books at my age is nothing compared to the same I feel knowing Katherine Ewell is also my age and put out this sexist, poorly written and researched piece of horse shit. I would rather reread all three Halo books than suffer through this again.

It starts out decent. Not great, not well. Decent. After all, when the first victim is Lily, a woman whose fiance wants her dead because she knows he killed a man while driving drunk and is "blackmailing" him with that, there's only so good it can be. Then a policeman--the policeman who is a major force in Kit's life throughout the novel--says this about the victim and the motive behind her death:

"Most of the time, I find the Perfect Killer disgusting, but other times I wonder why we aren't congratulating him." (Ch.6; around page 88 according to my estimation)


This is where I should have brought out my Colin Mochrie gif and said NOPE. DONE.



But noooooooo. Something told me to persevere. Maybe Kit would see what she was doing wrong and it would result in a great storyline. Or maybe she would start killing people who actually deserved it. Or maybe in her hypocritical moral nihilism, she would start taking the stupid, childish requests like these and forward them to the cops for shit and giggles once she got the money out. After all, she claims not to believe in right or wrong, but her superiority complex shows she DOES believe in stupid--and all the requests we see are stupid. Checkmate, motherfuckers.

NOPE. Why did I ever have hope? Because I am dumb, apparently. These were the motives behind a few more of the detailed killings (in one case, attempted and hilariously bungled murder):

1) She rejected me even though I love her. Kill her.

2) She rejected me even though I love her. Kill her.

3) We hit hard times and I need my husband dead so we can get some money. Kill him.

4) My sister stole my fiance. Kill her. But not my bastard husband even though he chose to go with her.

There were just two detailed killings that were not of women and one of them was ordered by a woman who wanted her husband's insurance policy money. Speaking of this murder, it's committed twenty feet from a busy street and no one notices. That really reduces it to ONE murder (a guy got conned by a stock broker) that did not negatively portray women and even in that one murder, a woman was still harmed. Because women suck and who needs feminism anymore, am I right?

This is not where the true heinousness of the novel stops, but this is where I'll take a short break to go over the mundane things wrong with the novel. For one, it's inauthentically British. It's set in London, but the occasional vocab words are all that's British about it. It feels like this takes place in a London in the USA that just happens to be laid out like the London in the UK without actually being that London. I can't judge it myself because I don't know it myself, but I hear it gets a lot wrong in the British culture department with school and lifestyle and all. Either way, it feels like a bunch of Americans in America speaking like Americans with a British phrase or two every now and then.

It's also ludicrous in how the police and their investigations are portrayed. No matter what, they are NOT going to let a teenage girl into a crime scene so she can investigate it with them. Never. They're so horribly incompetent throughout the book that they can't even use the letter Kit leaves at the scene to do anything. She sprays them down with cooking oil to remove the ability to lift fingerprints, but DNA evidence is not all it takes to convict someone, especially when some of the letters point an obvious finger at the culprit. Handwriting analysis, anyone? If killers can be convicted without a body, then these people can be convicted with a fingerprint-free letter.

Kit herself tells us she's a precise killer and good at what she does, but one way or another, she bungles every single murder she details in the novel except for the first. All her talk about being a great killer is just that: talk. She really ought to start backing it up instead of skipping over the murders she does "right" and all. She even goes to one target, reveals who she is like a bumbling moron, and leaves her alive. Her second rule is be careful and that can be interpreted as trust no one because what is trust when you kill people for a living? But she decides to trust this one woman and it magically works out for her. Her doubts result from something stupid and are easily solved because she's a higher power. It's her job to do horrible stuff and bring people together!

Also, she's been killing people since she was a child and apparently been strong enough to do so with punches, strangling, and more muscle strength when hitting people with stuf. Hard to believe, but considering I know of a five-year-old murderer... Beyond this, I find it hard to believe that after over fifty murders--and more, if you count the many murders she commits in-novel--no one has ever been put under enough pressure by the police to squeal about the location of the letter box.

But now we get back the most heinous part of the novel. This whole section hit me on a very deep, personal level and was offensive enough to make me cry. Why? The general message is that girls like me should die because we are complex people who are happy to see bad things happen to the people that hurt us.

When I was twelve, my brother's best friend sexually abused me. This has never been a secret and I carry that weight with me every day. It makes me happy to hear about bad things happen to him and as you can imagine, I get sick when I hear good things are happening to him or he's coming to visit. When the submarine he served on had serious issues and he got in multiple car accidents, I wanted something awful to happen to him. It was the least he deserved for how he scarred me. It is not a good thing for me to feel this vengeful, yes, but it is how I feel. It's how I deal with knowing there will never be justice for me.

This is highly relevant because Kit accepts a letter from her classmate Michael, who wants a girl named Maggie dead for rejecting him and his love. He's shown to be a very angry man and may be the only person in the novel that really scares Kit. After he violates Kit's morals even though she is supposedly a moral nihilist, she kills him. Maggie, free from the guy who hurt her and harassed her because he "loved" her and she didn't love him back, is very happy. Why shouldn't she be? The ghost is gone, though the memories remain.

Kit doesn't like this, no sir no ma'am. She basically threw her plans to kill Maggie out the window when she realized Michael was such a threat and killed him, but seeing her unabashedly happy he is dead makes Kit decides Maggie must die this time--and she means it. The rest of the novel is a will-she-won't-she question of if she'll go through with killing Maggie with other deaths and doubts in between.

Oh yeah, and the death that makes her doubt herself and her role? Michael's. Because this violent man most armchair-diagnose with a personality disorder and all but call a ticking time bomb is what makes her think she shouldn't be killing because it's ruining young lives. You know what it reminds me of? A toned-down version of CNN crying over the ruined futures of the Steubenville rapists. Because screw the victim's feelings. The perps have it the worst, suffering for what they did and getting what they deserve.

For one, everything about Michael is a bunch of Wikipedia'd traits of mental illness thrown into a character that comes out a poor portrayal of mental illness. That's horrid in and of itself, but what really gets me about it all is the message that girls like Maggie and me--we should die because we are hurt and we express those scars in such ways. How dare we be happy to think or know our abuser is no longer of this earth or otherwise screwed over? That means we should join him.

This is a conversation Kit and Maggie have in the novel, word-for-word:

Kit: "Don't you feel guilty? You know, looking all happy like that. He's dead, Maggie. It's not like he just moved away or something or went on a very long vacation. He's dead."

Maggie: "I don't care. He never did anything but harass me. Why should I care that he's dead? Why should I be unhappy that he's gone?"

Kit: "He's... He loved you. However crazy he might have been, he loved you. Don't you have any pity?" (Ch. 13; around page 183 by my estimation)

There are no words because ANGRY ASHLEIGH SMASH IDEA OF VICTIMS NEEDING TO HAVE SYMPATHY FOR THEIR ABUSERS, so have a gif of what I SHOULD have said at this conversation yet again but didn't:



So what? It's told through Kit's highly unreliable point of view. But that doesn't matter because the narrative supports all this. It is a narrative choice to detail mostly murders in which women are targeted for rejecting men or embody harmful stereotypes. It is a narrative choice for Kit to take the path she does and not a very similar path that diverges in a single way that would have helped the girl who could be me and killed the novel's most toxic message. These narrative choices and others come back to support the novel's toxicity and the overwhelming violence against women.

You know what would have been great? A letter or two from victims of domestic abuse begging Kit for help because they are so desperate to escape their abuser they risked their life to get out and send her a letter knowing there was only a slight chance of it being fulfilled and they think that's the only way they can be free. Though the novel still would have been very toxic in terms of how it treats women, this would have helped just a little. But no. No.

How do you think that storyline turns out? Well, I won't outright state it, but I think my reaction will tell you exactly what happened.

Since the age of sixteen, I have been working on a novel with a struggle for female agency at its core. Its seventeen-year-old main character loses her own agency due to uncontrollable forces and has to deal with it while protecting another girl who lost hers the moment she was born. I lost most of my drive to work on it a year ago because I knew a vampire novel like that would never get anywhere in this market, but it's still dear to my heart and I want to see it through one day. That THIS REPUGNANT NOVEL got an agent, got a deal, and is due to be published soon is depressing. It makes me want to get in bed and never get out.

Originally, I was going to give this novel two stars grudgingly because despite my long, detailed list of issues, seeing Kit start to doubt herself and change of her own volition with no romance involved was nice and it really made me think about morality for a bit. Once I got to the end and that failed attempt at a redemptive ending, I lowered it to one. Once I finished crying because of the personal offense and the message it delivered to me, it fell to ZERO. It deserves nothing because the bad overwhelms the very little good there is. Not a hate read, not a passing glance--nothing. Let it fade. Let it fail. Let it learn we are not to be abused like this.
Profile Image for Elle (ellexamines).
1,084 reviews17.5k followers
September 8, 2017
Unpopular opinion review time!

// WHY THIS BOOK IS GREAT

♔ The thematics of this book are incredibly interesting. There's exploration of the eye-for-an-eye mentality and how it can drive people to their limits. Kit only kills people when she feels that they deserve it, but how can she know that someone deserves to die? There's also a great exploration of a ton of different moral issues. Kit's inner conflicts speak to nature vs. nurture, and it's very well executed. This book doesn't attempt to answer all the different questions it poses, and while that won't work for everyone, I found it thought-provoking.

♔ Kit's character is also quite interesting. She's been raised as a serial killer, so her moral compass is completely skewed. Her perceptions of the world, and her cut-off view of the world, make her interesting and dynamic. While she's not exactly sympathetic, she's so fun to hate that it's hard not to enjoy her narration.

♔ The plotting is incredibly well-done. This book is completely unputdownable and addicting. Suspense is drawn out just enough.

// WHY THIS BOOK HAS SUCH A FUCKING LOW RATING

♔ First of all, there's a hint of unneeded romance. Although the relationship never really devolves into romance, there's a clear undertone to it. It doesn't work at all for a book this brutal. However, Kit's development is tied more to her relationships with a new friend, which made this less relevant.

♔ Second of all, it overexaggerates police stupidity to drive plot. This seems to be the major problem other reviewers had, and I absolutely agree with this complaint. The thing is, the thematics of this book are SO INTERESTING that I found this flaw easy to ignore. If you can suspend disbelief a bit, this book is much, much better.

VERDICT: Recommended to anyone who likes suspense and can deal with hateable narrators. Yes, it has a few flaws, but if you're willing to deal with them, Dear Killer is a really interesting and fast-paced read.
Profile Image for Kerri (Book Hoarder).
495 reviews46 followers
July 10, 2020
Can I have those hours of my life back, please? See, this is the bad thing about books, sometimes - it's okay to give up hours of your life if it's worth it, but you feel robbed if it's not.

This book was so fucking dumb. I should have trusted the poor ratings I saw on my feed, but I decided to read it anyway and I just should have known better.

I mean, the concept is interesting. A teenage serial killer? Sign me up! I love dark, twisted books that explore the darker parts of the human psyche. I love mysteries and tension and the thrill of the chase.

Only problem is that NONE of that is actually in this boring excuse of a book.

Honestly, I try to be pretty fair in my reviews and not be too harsh, but this book just pissed me off.

First of all, where's the background? If you're going to give me a serial killer, you'd better give me something that explains WHY they kill and how they got started. None of that is in this book. We're told that but there's no explanation given. I guess she just decided to start killing one day?!?

I mean, come the fuck on, this is the first thing that I'd expect in order to understand how the characters got to the point they're at when we start reading the book. Honestly, that was the first part of the book where I contemplated putting it aside, because without the backstory it really made me question the realism of the writing.

Second of all, our so-called 'Perfect Killer' is utterly moronic. She makes idiotic decisions over and over and over again in the book and it completely destroyed the believability of the book.

Let's see, here's a list:



Then there's the other stuff, like ...

Ugh. I mean, if the author was trying to write a killer who is destabilising or spiralling, fine, but none of the rest of the book gave that impression? So we're just left with a killer who apparently does really stupid shit and just happens to get lucky enough to get away with it.

Then you have the police officer investigating the case, who is a complete and utter idiot. First of all, why would he even be talking to a seventeen year old in the first place? Am I supposed to sympathise with this utter creeper just because he's a police officer? Why is he having introspective lunches with her and babbling to her pathetically as though he's a teenaged boy with a girl he's crushing on?

The dialogue between the two of them is utter bullshit. He - great to increase the confidence in the police, of course - and then there's a moment where he says to her that he's not sure why they're not

Let me just stop for a moment here to laugh my ass off. Am I supposed to view Alex as anything other than pathetic and dumb? Am I supposed to sympathise with him or want him to be successful? Because the author completely failed if that's the case. I mean come on, this is a police officer! Are we really supposed to believe that a police officer is going to confide in a kid he barely knows, let alone say this sort of stuff? It completely detracts from the believability of the story.

At least we have an idiot police officer to go along with the idiot serial killer, I guess? So I didn't empathise or want anyone in this book to have a good ending, to be honest. I mean, apparently there's one guy heading it up and that's him, even though she's apparently killed many, many people... But there's no task force or anything? Serial killers don't get the attention they used to, I guess.

Then there's the ending, which is just entirely dumb, and does nothing to resolve anything about the book. I closed the book feeling nothing except confusion as to what the hell I just read, why it ended that way, and why the author thought that this would be an interesting story arc to read. I mean, some people could pull it off, but that didn't happen here.

Probably the worst book I've read so far in 2014. (Still holds true now in September.)
Profile Image for Debbie.
295 reviews128 followers
April 20, 2014
good


Katherine Ewell’s Dear Killer is a sinister psychological thriller.

description

I don't know who wrote that blurb but they obviously didn't read the same novel as me. Dear Killer is laughable at best.There isn't anything sinister about it. It lacks common sense and has such a childish feel to it. The writing style made me want to claw my eyes out, it's more obnoxious than The Situation from Jersey Shore and just as disgusting.

I am not a killer. I could never kill anyone, and even if I had to for self-defence, I would feel horrible about it, like most people. Kit is a killer. Has been since like, nine or something. From this age, and a mother like hers, I would expect her to keep everyone at a distance despite the fact that she's a teenager. I would expect her to get a fucking grip and not cry just because her mother is upset with her. She is so unbelievable, she thinks she's a great actress yet the only reason she isn't caught is because they are far too stupid to realize anything (the police).  I also expect her not to be smitten with her enemy which, by the way,makes for one of the worst romances I have read about that has minimal insta-love. Moreover, the murders aren't even well explained. She seems to just use some karate kicks and then that's it. Nothing else. Even Kit's alter ego is thrown in with no back story whatsoever! There's no build up nor any foundation for anything. It's so bad that I had to laugh. Don't read this book. Don't even look t it, just keep walking.

Nothing about this book is good. Nothing.

Dear Killer is bad. So bad that even a night of drinking couldn't make it any better. The characters are all half-assed and there's no common sense. JUst because the carpet is black, Kit believes that the police won't see it which is not true. But in this book it could actually be possible since they're so unbelievably stupid. Don't read this, it's not only a waste of time and money but a waste of imagination. Nothing is explained, nothing is realistic, and nothing is properly executed. No. Just, no.
Profile Image for Charlotte.
505 reviews15 followers
June 28, 2015
This review first appeared on: Thoughts and Pens.

Dear Killer is not a book that would be enjoyed by everyone. I even have a feeling that a significant amount of readers will hate and burn it. For starters, the main character of this book is not someone that you can really call a “heroine.” Kit Ward is not the girl who will save the day. On the contrary, she’s the dragon who needs to be slain by your knight in shining armor. And the most disturbing thing is that she has a very disturbing view about morality.

Kit’s first rule in life is: There’s no right or wrong. To her, such notions are based on perspective. Every time she murders someone, she remains cool and indifferent about it. She’s not even haunted by the memories of her victims because everything is just a job to her. But suddenly, things made a significant turn when she killed someone who isn’t a part of her job. She started questioning herself, her rules, her beliefs. She even went as far as going into a killing slump.

Kit’s development as a character was really interesting to follow even if I couldn’t relate to her. I mean, how could I? I have never understood the workings of a killer’s mind. Though she got to a point where she almost regretted her actions as a murderer, she really didn’t work hard to redeem herself. The opposite actually happened. She got more determined to kill due to another crazy realization. At that point, I was already asking myself if I am as crazy as Kit because I wasn’t disgusted with the path that she chose in the end. And trust me, it was horrifying but it only fuelled my interest. I guess that I really had an open mind when I dove into Dear Killer. And there were times that I was able to put myself in Kit’s shoes enabling me to see things from her point of view.

It’s not only Kit that caught my attention. Her relationship with her mother made a disturbing impact on me. Yes, Kit might be worthy of eternal condemnation but can we really blame her? Her killer mother raised her to believe that that there’s no right or wrong and that they could kill any person as long as the others deemed it. To whom would you lay the blame?

With a philosophical vibe and definitely thought-provoking, Dear Killer is not without its faults. My enjoyment went a few notches down after identifying some glaring plotholes along the way. I am not a cop and I don’t have any idea how they investigate serial killings but this book really put the Scotland Yard police force in a very bad light. In here,they look like a bunch of incompetent idiots who never found any leads about Kit Ward when the evidences are as clear as daylight. And hurrah, you will also find that it is easy for a 16-year old turning 17 girl to befriend a cop-cum-detective. And to make matters more unbelievable, that 16 year old is allowed to go to crime scenes and her opinions are even sought out by the police. I could hardly suspend my disbelief.

Luckily enough, the theme explored by the book was enough to keep me hooked until the end. Dear Killer does not draw its power from the grisly killings nor from the chilling thoughts of our MC. Disregarding the blood lust of Kit, she’s a very likable person and her thoughts are not that morbid to make you shiver. Dear Killer is more of a philosophical story than a thriller/mystery one. It plants seeds of doubts in your mind. It causes you to question your beliefs. It makes you wonder how laws came to be. And eventually, it will compel you to think deeply of morality.

Overall, Dear Killer was a remarkable read with its rousing premise and realistic ending. It didn’t wow me but it’s the kind of story that will stay with you for the days to come. Highly recommended for those people who are fascinated with morality and for those who want to read a YA novel with zero romance. Yep, you’ve read that right.

***An e-ARC of this book was freely provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thanks, Harper Collins and Katherine Tegen Books!***
Profile Image for Cassidy Ammorette.
16 reviews5 followers
June 24, 2015

Despite all of the harsh and disappointed reviews I have read on Dear Killer I really, really , really enjoyed this book, especially after discovering the author is only 18 years old (17 when she wrote the book) and writes with such beautiful wisdom. Sure, the idea that a 17 year old girl could commit murder after murder after murder in one city without getting caught is quite unbelievable, but it isn't supposed to be a true story. It's fiction. Kit Ward exists in a world where the unbelievable is meant to occur. So let's get on with a summary. Shall we? We shall.

Dear Killer follows a 17 year old girl named Kit who, under the guidance of her mother, commits what she calls "perfect murders" thus earning her the nickname The Perfect Killer . There is no blood at the scenes, no evidence left behind from the killer- nothing but a perfectly executed crime and a letter. In Kit's eyes, the letter is what justifies her crimes. Hidden in the bathroom of some random restaurant, bloodthirsty people leave letters for The Perfect Killer explaining why he or she needs a certain person to be killed and Kit will do it for them. Throughout this novel, Kit begins to question her ethics and makes careless and brash mistakes that has the entire police force sniffing around, except for Alex, the head of The Perfect Killer case. Alex seems to insist Kit is innocent. The novel ends brusquely, forcing Kit to chose whether to turn herself in or run for hills and start a new life.

Now let's talk about the unbelievable parts of this story:


1. When the police find the letters at the scene of the crime, why don't they track down the person who wrote them and try to at least get it out of them where they leave the letters for The Perfect Killer? Then they could set up a trap where they can see who comes and picks up the letters!

"It wasn't that easy to kill someone." says the girl who can kill anyone or anything with a single blow to the temple or the nose. She never has to hit twice and no one ever seems to struggle against her, even men who are 10 times her size!

3. When Kit encounters a singer named Cherry Rose, who somehow convinces Kit to let her go and also promises that she won't reveal the identity of The Perfect Killer. Yeah right.

4. How the lead of The Perfect Killer investigation can be such an imbecile as to never realize Kit is the murderer when she walks right up to him and basically says, "Hey, it's me! I'm the Perfect Killer! I only hang around all the crime scenes because it gives me satisfaction to see the aftermath of what I've done! I'm silently bragging!"

5. When Maggie gets nothing but satisfaction from Michael's death. She even laughs. That made me afraid for Maggie's own sanity. I get that he harassed her, but she should at least feel a bit of remorse.

All in all, it's an interesting story if you're willing to overlook all of the plot holes that will make you want to tear your freaking hair out. Dexter would be shaking his head at this naive girl.

Profile Image for Bonnie.
1,371 reviews920 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
July 26, 2016
I don't typically allow single reviews to completely decide whether or not I read a book but from what I've heard of this book, I know it's not even worth it.

Profile Image for Becki .
353 reviews111 followers
April 6, 2014
What the actual Fuck.

This book is so unbelievably, ridiculously fucking stupid. I am shocked it was published. Nothing makes sense.



Dear Killer revolves around a 17 year old tasked with dispatching unsuspecting people. People doing their jobs, leaving a relationship fearing bodily harm, Not reciprocating someone else's feelings. etc etc... Sounds stupid right. That's because it is.

Lets start with Kit our relentlessly observant protagonist. She tirelessly describes everything. Her attractive yet ordinary self. Going up the stairs, down the stairs. The kitchen/hallway/bedroom the only three rooms her mother and herself ever seem to use. London!!! I honestly think I can make a map of London from her observations if I wasn't skimming over them. She is so boooring.

Oh and if her observing everything wasn't bad enough. Her contradictions are even more eye twitching. She is worse than Rick Grimes.

"I don't enjoy killing, I can quit any time, I don't make mistakes I am perfect" Shut the fuck up. You love gloating, You visit the fucking crime scene and you gloat to the police. I am sorry but for someone who doesn't enjoy killing, you sure look like you are.

Her mum so deservers the Mother of the Fucking Year Award. NOT. Who teaches their nine year old to ninja star strangers because someone wants them dead. Mum I will let that past because you have an absent husband and who doesn't love mother daughter time. But really who helps choke her first victim because 11 year old Kit is not strong enough. I am sorry but you really need to start looking deep into yourself and questioning your parenting decisions.

Oh let's not forget The ever fucking clueless police. That a 17 year old could slip right under there nose with a fucking apple. Bring into an investigation and let them into a crime scene. Where is fucking Robocop when you need him.(1980s version)

And if the ridiculousness of a 17 year old serial killer wasn't enough try the pedo/creepy romance with a cop. So not only are they useless they are also creepy and stupid.

This book is fucking implausible even for a dystopian, and this isn't a dystopian. Skip it. Because that is what you will be doing with most of the pages anyways.

Profile Image for Jen Ryland.
1,481 reviews902 followers
Read
October 23, 2014
This book drove me to the edge of frustration, but by the end, I had come to appreciate its good qualities. I will explain both sides of my reaction, with spoilers marked.

The Giant Plot Holes
Statistics aside, I'm willing to accept the idea of a teenage female serial killer. However, this particular killer operates in Serial Killer Fantasyland, a place where the police are idiots, dozens upon dozens of adults can be killed by teenage girls with magical karate chops that result in not one broken nail, and all forensic evidence is whisked away on a sparkly pink breeze.

Kit takes requests for her murders, like a old school radio DJ. There's a mysterious box in the women's loo at a cafe. People leave letters in the box asking Kit to kill their cheating husband or their boyfriend-stealing sister They also leave cash. Then Kit plays God, deciding who should live and who should die. (I assume she keeps all the cash. Or maybe she processes a refund and puts it back in the box?) But after she kills a victim, she leaves the request letter in the victim's hand. What? This was the part that drove me nuts.

The Stuff I Liked I liked the Nietzschean good and evil discussion that this book raises. And I began to read the book as more of a crazy wish fulfillment story. If there were a way to magically make someone you hated be dead and get away with it, would you do it? And I did really like the fact that Again, this wasn't realistic on a practical level, but it made total sense on another level. Or maybe on some level, this whole thing is an elaborate fantasy of a teenage girl -- she feels powerless so she fantasizes absolute, Godlike power. Am I reading too much into this book? Maybe.

Be sure to stop by my blog, YA Romantics
for my Spies, Alter Egos and Serial Killer weeks, which will include Kit in a Serial Killer Smackdown.
Profile Image for Sue (Hollywood News Source).
781 reviews1,594 followers
May 3, 2014
Dear Killer is so ridiculous and unrealistic. I rolled my eyes so much, I can't believe my eyeballs are still intact. The concept and plot of this book alone are so odd and weird but I gave it a chance thinking this might be the next “big thing” for me sadly it isn't. The writing is awkward and the characters are one dimensional. It infuriated me. Over all reading Dear Killer made me want to.



This is the kind of book, I wouldn't recommend to anyone.
Profile Image for Marlene Ramos.
383 reviews47 followers
May 22, 2021
Este libro es exactamente yo a los 8 años tratando de escribir el próximo libro ganador del premio novel de literatura y termina siendo una mierda.
Profile Image for Giselle.
1,057 reviews907 followers
April 7, 2016
An Electronic Advanced Reader Copy was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss for review. Quotes have been pulled from an ARC and may be subject to change.

Kit is a killer. A teenage girl who assassinates people. She’s hired by her clients and in exchange for money, she goes and does her job. Leaving a letter by the dead body is the only clue that the police have. When a mysterious letter arrives in the mailbox, she realizes someone is picking up the pieces and trying to track her down.

I had a lot of trouble with this one. I couldn’t stop finding all the plot holes that were gaping at me as I read it. The concept is truly unique since I’ve never read a book from the point of view of a serial killer, a teenage one at that since she has many responsibilities like school and even homework. My issues had to do with little details that I know would be wrapped up tighter if it happened in real life. For example, the concept of the mailbox.. People know about this mailbox and send her letters and money, yet the police have no idea about it? How can such a thing exist? And the people who even write the letters are just as crazy to want these people murdered. And the fact that she has killed 50+ people.. UM wtf!!! How could no one suspect her? How could no one find her? There is DNA evidence through blood, and hair and even footprints. There’s surveillance footage everywhere. How could she slip by unnoticed? To me that felt completely unreal.

Kit’s way of thinking is that she is helping people. Bringing them closer together, by killing others and bring London into chaos. What’s scary is that she’s perfectly all right with killing people.. But if people who do bring justice to others, she feels empathy and doesn’t kill them? I don’t understand how that is logical. Maybe that’s why she is unhinged, and completely off her rocker. I wouldn’t know how a killer thinks, but I’m sure Katherine did her research right. It was truly chilling to read through Kit’s eyes. Also, can I say how completely inappropriate was the relationship between a teenager and a cop? Yikes..I was cringing the entire time.

Overall, Dear Killer is interesting enough to pick up if you’re willing to read through the eyes of a serial killer on the run. But with the messy plot holes and details, I just couldn’t like this one.
Profile Image for Paula  Phillips.
4,843 reviews294 followers
August 29, 2013
Have you ever picked up a book and just knew by reading the blurb and the title etc , that you would fall in love with it and it would be right up your alleyway ? For me, this was Dear Killer. I had, had this book sitting on my Amazon wishlist when I saw it come up as an Available ARC on Edelweiss Books and I then and there knew I had to request it . Dear Killer, was as perfect as I could have imagined it. It got me interested from the very first page as I wanted to know more about this seventeen-year old girl Kit who is the face behind the moniker "The Perfect Killer". How did a everyday girl fall into doing this ? What type of life does she live on a day to day basis ? It was amazing as you read the pages and the story unfolds . This is one book that I would say, that you should ideally read in one sitting or two-three if you have to as it flows from one day to the next.
I leave with these parting words that if you are a fan of serial killers - the people themselves, the person behind the mask and wanting a book told from the killer's POV then Katherine Ewell's book "Dear Killer" is the story for you.
Profile Image for Rose.
1,872 reviews1,055 followers
Shelved as 'curiosity-dries-the-rose'
April 6, 2014
This is one of those few times where I see the average rating of a book amounts to nothing higher than a single star on my friends list, and yet I still want to read it. (Though I think I'll go in prepared with some comfort reads and food before tackling it, because it's bound to be rough.)
Profile Image for Lectus.
1,029 reviews32 followers
April 26, 2014
I am so furious I wasted my time with this garbage. God! Empty annoying characters, plot holes, no sense actions, and a very, very lame, stupid, ridiculous, infuriating, I-don't-know-how-to-end-this-book ending.

How in the name of God did people give FIVE stars to this crap? How? How? Did we read the same book?

I think that the idea for the story is great. A teenager serial killer? Bring it on modern time Grave Mercy. But the execution!!! Oh fucking Lucifer, I have't read anything more.... more... stupidly written!

The Kit was supposed to have an internal emotional or philosophical debate of some sort that never amounted to anything because Kit was always a flat, boring, and lacking convincing character.

Kit kept mentioning how awesome she is and how perfect she is, yet everything went well because of luck, or, in this case, because the author wrote it that way. But I was never shown Kit's cleverness. For me, she was a pretentious teenager who killed because she could get away with it (since in YA books the police are too stupid to solve anything).

This story is so full of stupidities and... and... I can't even think straight.

Stupidity #1: Kit becomes Alex's consultant in The Perfect Killer case. Why exactly is the police consulting a teenager? Ok, in YA the police are idiots and teenagers are actually the ones who solve everything. But come on! And isn't Alex like 30 years old? Why exactly is he taking Kit - who is seventeen - out for lunch? Why is he telling her things "I've never told anyone." If you are not going to explore the pedophile aspect of the character, don't introduce the situation.

Stupidity #2: Kit kills a girl and then goes to see the crime scene. Incredibly, the police let her in. Why? Why? Why? Isn't she a minor? Not only that, but Kit gets to touch things at the crime scene to alter any previous evidence of being there. On top of that, she asks Alex to describe the murder to her ... and he does. So sooo not possible; in what sane mind would a police officer discuss a crime scene with a teenager?

Stupidity #3: Kit gets letters from people requesting to have exes and anyone they dislike killed. The letters are left in a bathroom in a restaurant. Even a kid at Kit's school knows how to get in touch with this serial killer... but the police has no clue. Wow! Just fucking wow!

Stupidity #4: Kit lets the letters she receives on the body of the people she kills.... yet the police can't find any evidence of who killed the person! Seriously? For example, some guy sent Kit a letter asking her to kill her fiance because she would't breakup with him. Kit does it and leaves the letter on the body of the dead woman. How many fiances did the woman have exactly? Because it is obvious from the letter who wanted her dead, yet the police have no clue about the murder. Whatever.

Stupidity #5: Kit has been killing without a conscience since she was nine, yet just now she starts to think if the person deserved to die. I mean, why? Why now and not before? Give me some reason here. Don't just throw an attempt to a moral dilemma when the character is so obviously lacking morals. The way Kit goes about her regret for killing Michael is not even convincing. She screamed to the class "he didn't do anything!" Meaning that Michael didn't deserve to die (despite of Kit being the one who killed him). Oh, why didn't he deserve to die? Because you weren't paid to kill him? What exactly made the other people deserving of death?

Nope, the moments of "what have I done?" didn't sound real but just something thrown in the story to stall the plot.

I didn't really need a reason for Kit killings but killing somebody just because... Can we kill pedophiles and rapists, please? And the amount of people that Kit was killing! Not even real serial killers kill that much!

*** SPOILER ***
Did the police solve the serial killer case? of course not! Kit gave herself up!!!! Really? Really? Really?
*** END OF SPOILER ***

I think this is the longest review I've written but it is just that this book is infuriating. Nothings is solved, nothing is accomplished, and the ending is so lame that I wish I could burn the fucking book so nobody else would have to endure what I went through with this crap.

Via http://onlectus.blogspot.com/2014/04/...
Profile Image for Melissa Martin.
50 reviews20 followers
March 28, 2014
I'm a law student who comes from a family of detectives, police, lawyers and states attorneys. However, I don't really believe you have to be in my life of work to catch these wrongs:

***I'm only 8% in everything I mention comes out in the first chapter so it's not spoiling. Fair warning.

This I teen is London's highest profile killer. People hire her by leaving letters with money in them in a "secret mailbox" aka a hole in the wall of a public womens room.

Here's what's wrong with that scenario: Almost everything.

The entire public seems to know this hiding spot. There's even graffiti not only from supporters but those opposing the killer. Yet the police HAVE NO IDEA THIS PLACE EXISTS! Please! And really, a public place where at any given moment there $30,000 cash??? That money would be gone so fast.

Still it's when our protagonist explains how after she kills she leaves the letters on the body. She gets rid of the writers finger prints by spraying the letters with cooking oil... don't even get me started on that. She further says that though the letters name it clear who hired the killer (one asks for his fiance to be killed) that they can't be prosecuted because the police can't "authenticate" the letters.

This book needs to be classified as fantasy. In what world does forensics consists of ONLY fingerprinting?! This is infuriating. In what world can you hire a killer and "only be brought in for questioning"???

Further still, the aforementioned fiance wants his girl killed because she knows he drove drunk and caused an accident in which someone died.

Apparently no one gets prosecuted in this novel.

I could go on about the other ridiculous claims made and the insults made about Scotland Yard who can apparently be thrown off by the giggles of teen but I just can't.

I refuse to not finish a book. Especially an ARC by such a young author and I REALLY REALLY REALLY wanted to love this. I have barley scratched the surface so I'm going to hope it redeems itself.

Here's hoping...
Profile Image for Abbie.
1,976 reviews582 followers
May 20, 2014
Dear Killer started out okay, but i lost interest.

Kit was a really hard character to connect too. Her constant change of mind got annoying. One minute she would be feeling remorseful, the next minute, she would be killing again, and finding nothing wrong with it.
Her nickname was "The perfect killer", but she made so many mistakes, that i found it hard to believe that she was perfect at it.

The pacing was fine to start with, but as the story progressed, it started to drag out.
If it had stayed like it was at the start, and Kit was a better character, i probably would have enjoyed it more.

Overall, alright, but dragged out a bit too much.
Profile Image for Kat (Lost in Neverland).
445 reviews702 followers
April 30, 2014

Kit is seventeen years old. Kit is a murderer. Her mother was a famous serial killer, and has been training Kit since she was a child to murder with brutality and perfection. Kit, after killing her first at age nine, has become known in London as the 'Perfect Killer', leaving no traces or hints.
To Kit, killing isn't an enjoyment or something she does for fun. It's a job, one she simply must do...Well, maybe she enjoys it a little.
When she must kill a girl from her school, she befriends her, and slowly begins to realize a distinction between right and wrong, making her doubt her skills or the reason behind her murdering ways that she has known her entire life.

I've been looking for a book like this for a while. A book written from the perspective of a murderer, or, more specifically, from the perspective of a teenage, female murderer. So I was eager to pick this up.

Writing

This was written when the author was young. Apparently, Ewell was only 17 herself when she wrote it, and it's quite obvious. The writing is wrought with adverbs, the story was disjointed, the descriptions were shit, and completely flat in the emotional aspects.

It's kind of amusing, how Kit is basically the author's own persona. Kit is seventeen. Ewell was seventeen when she wrote it. Kit has blond hair and brown eyes. Ewell (from her picture at the back of the book) has blond hair and brown eyes.

description

It kind of reminded me of my own writing once upon a time. To my now-shame, I used to write 'perfect personas' of myself in stories as well, but I would never dare publish them.
Because I realized it, and I realized that in order to write a story, you must disconnect yourself from your own personality, and make a character, not just make yourself and change the name and life.
You can put aspects of yourself in them, of course, but not a 'perfect' replica that's so awesome and amazing in a book. It's fun to do, I know, but that's not original.


Characters


Kit was incredibly pretentious. Even for a murderer, she was conceited as hell, believing herself all high and mighty because she murdered for a living. Pfft.

However, she did go through her own bit of character development, although with the way she was raised and her mother's paranoia, it's difficult. The humanity inside her is desperately trying to get out, but her murderous ego 'Diana' won't let it.

Still, Kit is a fucking Mary Sue if I've ever seen one, even for a serial murderer. The whole 'Perfect Killer' thing was irritating in the fact that there are murderers who have been far more 'perfect' than Kit, who simply kicks someone in the face and walks out. Oh, and wears gloves, because wearing gloves solves and hides everything.

Kit's mother was an interesting character. A murderer herself, she still deals with nightmares and worry that Kit will mess everything up for the both of them. Her father is absent, which they like to keep it that way.

Maggie and Michael weren't very fleshed out. You never really got to see under the surface of their lives, perhaps partly because Kit never really cared to find out.

Alex, the police officer, was incredibly unrealistic. A real, twenty-something police officer wouldn't care to deal with Kit, a child, or would be as innocent and kind as he's portrayed as. It's hinted at him being a love interest even. Well, not so much a love interest, but Kit seemed to like him in that way somewhat.

The Setting

*clears throat*

England does not have the same education system as the United States.

Kit is said to go to 'Ivy High School', even though she's 17 years old. In England, teenagers graduate from high school at age 16, or after two years, and move onto college if they want to, which are similar to the last two years of high school in America. Once 18, they can apply for university.

At least, to my understanding. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. I believe some change is going on at the moment, that they're now required to complete college before they can graduate (before it was until they were 16. It wasn't required that they move on, but many do).

Also, the people in this book acted and spoke very American, to my perception. The only 'British' aspects of it came in with the constant mentions of the Thames, and the fact that they only said 'arsehole' instead of asshole.


What I Liked

1. Unique story perspective. Like I said before, I've always wanted to read a book with the perspective of a psychopathic teenage murderer.

2. Engaging and entertaining plot. I was drawn in to the story from the very first page until the last.

What I Didn't Like

1. Bad writing. Similarities to author, 'perfect persona' character.

2. Not well researched, ie., use of the American Education system and the unrealistic appearance of the English people.

3. Plain unrealistic in most aspects.


Summing It Up

This story is definitely not for everyone. I liked it simply for the fact that the perspective was one I've been looking for for a long time.
However, it was heavily flawed and needed a lot of work. Perhaps Ewell should have developed her writing more before publishing.






Profile Image for Macarena Yannelli.
Author 1 book955 followers
December 12, 2018
Este libro es una gran gran gran premisa con una ejecución no pobre pero deficiente. Creo que le faltó bien encontrar el tono de la historia, le faltó un poco de dinamismo y editar muuuucho del texto. Ser más sutil en lo que respecta a la transformación de la protagonista hubiera sido un plus también.
Profile Image for Caitlin.
229 reviews99 followers
June 18, 2019
I zoomed through this one! Ewell's first-person perspective of a teenage serial killer was weirdly engaging. You find yourself rooting for Kit--sympathizing with her and hoping she doesn't get caught. The fact that Ewell can write this character with such ethos is a strength of her writing style. Kudos!
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