DEAR KILLER by Katherine Ewell


Age Range: 13 - 16
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This unusual and absorbing debut looks at a serial killer through the eyes of the killer herself.

Seventeen-year-old Kit has been trained by her mother from an early age to kill by hand and leave no clues; she takes great pride in the name she’s earned from the police: the Perfect Killer. She enjoys her high school philosophy class, where they discuss “moral nihilism,” a code she feels she understands. She calls herself a serial killer, but she operates as an assassin, taking requests for murders from letters addressed to “Dear Killer” stashed in a shabby London restroom. It’s all good, until classmate Michael asks the Perfect Killer to take out another, Maggie. Kit wrestles over which she ought to kill: Michael, who clearly deserves it but whose death has not been requested, or Maggie, who has become her only friend. Further complicating matters is her growing friendship with the detective assigned to her case. Although readers may disagree with Kit’s take on morality, nevertheless they can watch her with fascination and even some sympathy as she commits her flawless crimes. Even as tension rises, Kit’s moral struggle holds center stage and builds to her final choice. Unfortunately, though the book is nominally set in London, poor worldbuilding keeps readers from rooting themselves there; Kit’s school, in particular, might as well be in Dubuque.

Chilling and fascinating at the same time, despite flaws. (Suspense. 13-16)

Pub Date: April 1st, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-06-225780-2
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2014


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