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AMY AMONG THE SERIAL KILLERS by Jincy Willett Kirkus Star


by Jincy Willett

Pub Date: Aug. 23rd, 2022
ISBN: 978-1-2502-7514-1
Publisher: St. Martin's

In her third book about novelist and erstwhile workshop teacher Amy Gallup, a (possibly serial!) murder falls into Amy’s lap, and violence, hijinks, and romance ensue.

It’s been several years since Amy fought off a killer writer, and she’s enjoying the peace and quiet—living with her dog and “working” every day (even when that just means staring at a blank screen). Her former pupil Carla Karolak is finding success with Inspiration Point, a writing colony of sorts. Then one day Carla finds something unexpected in one of the writing cells: a body. Soon Carla, her co-worker Tiffany, the workshop crew from Amy’s previous class, and Amy herself are awash in bodies, some of which are dismembered, some not. Enter a ridiculously smarmy “Writing Guru” and a gifted children’s author who may or may not be a mystic. The local police will only be so much help, so Carla and Amy, plus Tiffany and former workshop member Chuck, must team up to flush out the murderer and solve the case. The energetic tongue-in-cheek tone creates an interesting complement to—and veil for—the fact that this story is both gory and psychologically intense. When Amy confronts the killer at last, Willett chooses to ascribe the pronoun it to the killer, calling it “a creature” and effectively erasing any sense of humanity while dialing up the creepiness. This decision neatly symbolizes the moral that serial killers do not deserve the fame and notoriety that often help drive their actions; Amy muses that killing for sport renders one “an error of evolution.” The novel effectively refuses to excuse our own voyeuristic tendencies when it comes to serial killers, though—recognizing that it has just provided an elaborate fictional story for entertainment that centers around a brutal serial killer. What a delightfully mind-bending and complicit place to land.

A riotous, breathless, winking, strangely feel-good romp.