The Killer in Me
by Margo Harrison
Expected Publication Date: July 12, 2016
Length: 368 pages
Obtained Via: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my final opinion of the work.
View at the Traffic light:
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?
It’s no secret that I love a good thriller, but serial killer stories are often a bit of a reach for me. I’ll read them(and I’ve enjoyed some), but I prefer my thrillers heavier on the psychological side, which is why in YA my favorites are books like Dangerous Girls, Dangerous Boys, and With Malice. The Killer in Me definitely had potential and I raced through this book, but it ultimately fell flat.
The first thing to note is that this is not a straight-up realistic thriller. There’s a paranormal element in the form of Nina’s physic visions, in which she sees The Thief–or Dylan Shadwell– go about his life and commit his crimes. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t have picked this book up if I had known that(because while the blurb does refer to the “disturbing connection”, it doesn’t, you know, actually say what it is, which becomes apparent within a couple of chapters in the book), but I went with it. However, while I was willing to go along with the paranormal element, I found the plot required so much suspension of disbelief that I found myself more aggravated than entertained. Now, I don’t always need a healthy dose of realism in my novels. . . but eventually the plot of The Killer in Me went so off-course that it was hard to get back to what I had liked about this book in the beginning.
I also think it’s fair to say that in any mystery or thriller, you expect a few plot twists. That’s not really a spoiler for books in this genre — it’s a given. And I didn’t feel the execution of any plot twists worked at all. Everything was pretty obvious from the very beginning, and while the narration sometimes verged on the edge of REALLY diving into the character’s psychological states, it always seemed to pull back before things were really fleshed out.
I think the potential for a great thriller IS present in The Killer in Me, though. The suspense grabbed me from the very beginning and the tension did not ease up one bit the entire time. I definitely didn’t put this book down once when I was reading. I also thought the descriptions of setting were really well done. A great majority of this book takes place in the desert, and I could FEEL the unrelenting sun and the rough sand and how parched and dry everything was. I’m totally willing to pick up more from this author in the future, but this book didn’t really work for me. I also think the blurb is slightly misleading and wished it had mentioned that hint of paranormal that’s present throughout, because I think other readers might be annoyed with that too.
The Killer in Me had promised, but the plot was vastly underwhelming. In some ways the narration held nothing back(like the description of crimes and crime scenes), but I would have enjoyed more character development and stronger twists. 2/5 cupcakes.