Jukebooks: Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell

Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell“I kill as a matter of habit and as a consequence of the way I was raised.”

Kit’s mother was an assassin. She carefully trained Kit in the art of murder until Kit’s abilities surpassed her own. Now Kit works solo. She’s known all over London as the “Perfect  Killer” because she never leaves a clue behind. Kit kills by request; people write letters, explaining who they want killed, and Kit simple follows their directions. Is Kit insane? Or is she, as she believes, simply well-trained in serial killing?

The moral ambiguity of the book reminded me of an old Talking Heads song, Psycho Killer. The song was written by David Byrne, Chris Frantz, and Tina Weymouth, who eventually recorded it as the band Talking Heads  in 1975. The lyrics sound like the feverish, tormented mind of a killer, as he reminisces (in French) about an earlier murder. Byrne’s voice is deliciously foreboding with a slight lilt of mockery, complementing the driving beat of the song.

This performance took place at the CBGB music club, which, in the late ’70s and early ’80s, was an early venue for new wave and punk bands.

-Diane Colson, currently reading an advance reader’s copy of No Summit Out of Sight by Jordan Romero