Full of "can't look away" moments, Dear Killer is a psychological thriller perfect for fans of gritty realistic fiction such as Dan Wells's I Am Not a Serial Killer and Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why, as well as television's Dexter.
Rule One—Nothing is right, nothing is wrong. Kit looks like your average seventeen-year-old high school student, but she has a secret—she's London's notorious "Perfect Killer." She chooses who to murder based on letters left in a secret mailbox, and she's good—no, perfect—at what she does.
Her moral nihilism—the fact that she doesn't believe in right and wrong—makes being a serial killer a whole lot easier . . . until she breaks her own rules by befriending someone she's supposed to murder, as well as the detective in charge of the Perfect Killer case.
As New York Times bestselling author of the Gone series Michael Grant says, Dear Killer is "shocking, mesmerizing, and very smart."
Novels about teens pursued by or pursuing serial killers are fairly common, but rare is the story told by a teen serial killer. Ewell’s debut novel, written at age 17, is a chilling look at a young woman trained in moral nihilism and untraceable killing techniques. Kit’s mother accepted commissions from those who wanted someone dead, perfecting a technique she has passed on to her daughter. Kit’s murders have received lots of press, earning her the nickname the Perfect Killer. One night, Kit’s mother brings home an attractive young dinner guest who also happens to be the detective investigating the Perfect Killer cases, and Kit can’t resist the urge to toy with him. Set in posh districts of London and Kit’s exclusive private school, Ewell’s narrative presents a beautifully nuanced and entirely believable portrait of a young woman slowly cracking as she finds herself applying the consequences of her amorality to those she has befriended. With thoughtful discussion on philosophy and human nature, as well as satisfyingly detailed and gory descriptions of murders, Ewell’s book offers plenty for readers to savor and discuss. Grades 8-12. --Debbie Carton
“Ewell’s narrative presents a beautifully nuanced and entirely believable portrait of a young woman slowly cracking as she finds herself applying the consequences of her amorality to those she has befriended.” (ALA Booklist)
“With thoughtful discussions on philosophy and human nature, as well as satisfyingly detailed and gory descriptions of murders, readers will find plenty to savor and discuss.” (ALA Booklist)
“Underneath the dark sensationalism thus lurks a complex framing of moral questions that thoughtful teens will want to grapple with.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)
“This unusual and absorbing debut looks at a serial killer through the eyes of the killer herself.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“Shocking, mesmerizing, and very smart.” (Michael Grant, New York Times bestselling author of the Gone series)
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.
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's 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.
Katherine Ewell wrote Dear Killer when she was seventeen years old. She was one of fifty finalists out of 5,000 entries in the 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest and has attended the invitational Iowa Young Writers' Studio. In addition, she has the distinction of being named a California Arts Scholar and has been awarded the California Governor's Medallion for artistically talented youth. Dear Killer is her first novel.