Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Review: The Killer in Me

The Killer in Me
Author: Margot Harrison
Series: Standalone
Released: July 12th 2016
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Length: 368 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon

Seventeen-year-old Nina Barrows knows all about the Thief. She’s intimately familiar with his hunting methods: how he stalks and kills at random, how he disposes of his victims’ bodies in an abandoned mine in the deepest, most desolate part of a desert.
Now, for the first time, Nina has the chance to do something about the serial killer that no one else knows exists. With the help of her former best friend, Warren, she tracks the Thief two thousand miles, to his home turf—the deserts of New Mexico.
But the man she meets there seems nothing like the brutal sociopath with whom she’s had a disturbing connection her whole life. To anyone else, Dylan Shadwell is exactly what he appears to be: a young veteran committed to his girlfriend and her young daughter. As Nina spends more time with him, she begins to doubt the truth she once held as certain: Dylan Shadwell is the Thief. She even starts to wonder . . . what if there is no Thief?

With the rising popularity of YA mysteries/thrillers and the never-ending demands for a creepy and suspenseful read, The Killer in Me was pretty much guaranteed to succeed before it was even finished. The few early reviews that could be found had nothing but praise for Harrison’s debut, emphasizing mind-boggling twists and a very creepy atmosphere. A reliable publisher and a truly fantastic cover only added to the conviction that we hold a future bestseller in our hands, a book destined to be loved by many, regardless of their age.

The truth, for this reader, is vastly different. There is no doubt whatsoever that Margot Harrison had a fantastic idea, but unfortunately, the execution was lacking. Starting with the characters and ending with confusingly written scenes, The Killer in Me hides far too many disappointments and offers too few concrete answers.

There are several good things that can be pointed out about this book, the first and foremost being the original and unusual premise. Anything at all could be considered a spoiler in this case, so it’s best to just stick to generalities. Harrison found a fairly original approach to serial killers, something we haven’t seen before, at least not in YA. The opening chapters are purposely confusing and very promising, giving us the impression that the rest will be just as exciting. The author is also very talented when it comes to writing dialogues. All interactions between characters seem natural and unforced, or at least as much as they can, considering the tense circumstances.

The characters themselves, however, are still mostly unclear to me. Neither Nina nor Warren ever felt fully developed. I can’t really discuss my issues without giving away spoilers, nor can I mention the things that bothered me the most, but suffice it to say that Harrison’s characterization could have been better. The three main characters had such unexplored potential, things that could have been used to turn this into a truly memorable book, but the author chose to merely scratch the surface and to focus instead on plot twists that matter less the second we stop caring for the protagonists.

As for these plot twists everyone seems to be raving about, they truly are virtually impossible to predict. If there’s one thing I loved about this book, it’s that it managed to surprise me. However, the most important chapters were the most confusing, and the actual events are still a bit foggy for me. When dreams and reality intersect, it must be very clear where one ends and the other begins lest we end up with incomprehensible Inception moments that remain unclear until the very end.

It bears repeating that I seem to be very alone in my opinion, so please take it with a grain of salt. Read a sample at least, try to see if this book is something that might work for you. And if you do read it, please come back to discuss. I look forward to it.

A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.


  1. I'm glad the mystery was well hidden from the readers. At the end of the day, I think it's all we could ask for.

  2. I love books featuring serial killers so it's disappointing that you didn't enjoy this one more, Maja. The premise sounds interesting, but I hate when the story becomes so confusing that I no longer have any idea what's going on.

  3. Grain of salt or not, I think I'll give this one a miss. Too bad - but I can't imagine a greater "sin" in a mystery than an execution that perpetuate confusion. It would certainly take away from my focus toward the mystery itself and I'd end up frustrated. Pity...

  4. I had indeed heard very good things about this one, but you aren't the only one that had reservations about it. I am still pretty torn...

  5. You have me curious Maja. I do like that it wasn't predictable.

  6. Got to add this one to my list. Sounds like a good fit for me:)

  7. Well that's disappointing. It sounds great but I trust your opinion. Maybe the twist could save it. I do like being surprised.


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