Review

The Killer in Me

The Killer in Me

The Killer in Me

by Margot Harrison

Genre: YA Mystery
Published: July 12th, 2016
by Disney Hyperion

three-stars

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Summary:

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?

Review:

Margot Harrison’s debut The Killer in Me was an atmospheric and well-written mystery, but ultimitely it wasn’t anything especially memorable or life-changing, which is especially disappointing given the creative premise.

Every night, 17-year-old Nina Barrows sees through the eyes of a serial killer named “The Thief.” Unwilling to watch any more innocents die, Nina embarks on a cross-country mission to stop The Thief before he kills anyone else.

Nina is a decent protagonist, but ultimitely I just wanted a bit more from her character. There really isn’t anything special or memorable about her character besides the fact that she’s an unreliable narrator, but in YA mysteries unreliable narrators are a dime a dozen. I wish there was a little more depth to her character to help her stand out from all the other YA mystery / thriller protagonists.

Where I felt most underwhelmed was with the reveal. I was expecting the eventual reveal to be something mind-blowing and twisted, but it unfortunately tuned out to be something predictable and unremarkable.

Avid fans of YA mysteries may be a bit underwhelmed by the final result, but The Killer in Me still manages to be an extremely atmospheric and well-written mystery despite the mediocrity.

“You don’t know, though, honey. You won’t ever know.” Becca speaks with no bitterness, still patting my knee. “Nobody ever knows till they’ve walked a mile down the same road.”

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three-stars

54 thoughts on “The Killer in Me

  1. Aw, this seems disappointing. Whyyyyy is it so hard to find good thrillers?!? (Curse you Dangerous Girls for ruining us and giving us such high standards.) I don’t think I’ll be running out after this one, tbh, although the premise does seem cool!

      1. OMG DEBORAH READ DANGEROUS GIRLS! You won’t regret it. It’s one of my favorite books of all time (and Cait’s as well). I haven’t seen one person who hasn’t loved it.

  2. Aww, it sucks that this one ended up being kind of disappointing. The synopsis sounds so intriguing that I”M actually disappointed. Thrillers are hard to write, I think, especially for YA. I always want them to be life-changing but they never end up being that way. Fantastic review, anyway!

    1. I agree Erin! There are so many thrillers out there it’s hard to find ones that are really mindblowing. It’s a shame, because the premise was really interesting. Thank you! <3

  3. Sorry to see this didn’t meet your expectations! Honestly, this is why I kind of avoid reading mystery/thriller YA. It’s hard to not compare the book to other books in the same genre, especially if they all use the same tropes/concepts. It makes the reveal predictable, and in the end unforgettable.

    Awesome review Zoe!

  4. THIS. This is precisely why I only read mystery/thrillers from authors I know and love. A mystery with a poor reveal, and the protag with hardly any depth to her? Buzz. Kills. The Killer in Me was on my tbr, so really, thanks a lot for the save 😛 Loved your review, Zoe, you’re a life-saver 🙂

    1. Thank you Rhea! 🙂 It’s a shame because the premise is so fantastic. There are so many mysteries out there it’s just really hard to find ones that are especially mind-blowing.

  5. I was really anticipating this one, bummer that you didn’t enjoy it much!! I’m still interested and perhaps because I haven’t’ read many (interpretation, as in any, lol) thriller/mysteries I might not predict the ending so easily? IDK. Lol.

    Great review, Zoe, as always!!

    1. If you’re not much of a mystery/thriller reader you’ll probably enjoy this more, just because you won’t have anything to compare it with. BUT if you are ever in the mood to read a mystery, I’d recommend Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas instead. 🙂 Thank you! <3

  6. Awww sadness. I was hoping that this would be more epic. I have been having issues with thrillers lately (in that none of them have actually “thrilled” me ) At least the writing and atmosphere is good- that gives me like, hope for the author’s next books! Great review!

    1. That’s the problem with thrillers nowadays – there are so many of them that it’s hard to find ones that are especially mindblowing. 🙁

  7. Oh damn and the premise sounded incredible too. I find that a lot of YA thrillers are just underdone especially when it comes to their characters. For me I need to be invested in their plight, or else who’s really going to care when they’re bludgeoned to death in the study with a candlestick. Sorry you couldn’t have enjoyed this a little more Zoe, but wonderful review! <3

    1. I completely agree Kelly. There are so many thrillers out there it’s hard to find ones that are especially mindblowing. 🙁 Thank you! <3

  8. This book does have quite an interesting premise, but I’m disappointed that the main character didn’t stand out at all. I’ve had enough of unreliable characters in thriller novels! Seems like a thinly concealed plot device.

    Rachel @ A Perfection Called Books A Perfection Called Books

  9. Aww I’m sorry this one doesn’t meet your expectations! The premise sounds amazing, but I always have trouble with unreliable narrator so I think I’ll skip this one. I hope your next read would be better Zoe! 🙂

  10. I feel like I’ve seen this around? But the cover also reminds me of Not a Drop to Drink so it could just be that.

    And it’s too bad this wasn’t that great. It’s weirdly hard to find good YA thrillers, and sometimes I wonder if authors kind of dumb it down because teenagers “aren’t able” to handle more “intense” scenes. Either way, it’s annoying.

    1. Oh, I never noticed the similarity the cover has to NaDtD but now that you mention it you’re totally right!

      And I completely agree. There are so many thrillers, but it’s really hard to find good ones. 🙁

  11. Like you, I was really into the unique concept behind this one. I do like unreliable narrators but they are pretty common in YA mysteries/thrillers now so I feel like I would also be sort of meh about this one :/ Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it!

    1. Sorry it sounds like you’d be a bit meh about it too. 🙁 I agree – there are so many YA thrillers it’s hard to find really good ones.

  12. Awww the synopsis actually sounded really interesting to me. Good thrillers are so difficult to find but I can still enjoy them sometimes even if they don’t ‘thrill’ me. I like unreliable narrators too but they can make the story really good or annoy me so when they lack development ummm… I can’t really enjoy them. Love the review!!!

    1. My thoughts exactly Jeann. I doubt there will ever be a mystery as amazing as Dangerous Girls, but you can’t blame me for trying to find one haha. Thank you! <3

  13. Oh, no! I’m sorry you didn’t love this one, Zoe. It sounds really awesome, and the premise isn’t one I have seen around before, so it’s a shame that the ending was predictable for you. I think I might try giving it a go, anyway, because the story line sounds quite awesome, and even though unreliable narrators are most common in mystery/thrillers, they are usually interesting to read. I hope your next read is super fabulous!

  14. Haha yeah, most Thrillers/Psych/Mystery do rely on unreliable narrators, so definitely need something else to make it stand out from all the others, which usually does come down to the characters and reveal. Like, I finished one the other night and it was great…until the reveal, which didn’t make sense and you didn”t really get the truth, so yay. 🙁 I’m so sad about this one though because it couldn’t be any more a me book, damn.

    1. Exactly! I read so many mysteries and thrillers that it’s getting harder and harder to impress me, which is a shame because I really do love the genre. 🙁 Definitely still give it a try if it’s something that seems up your alley, but don’t have your expectations set too high for it.

  15. Aww sad that this book didn’t live upto your expextations! But yes, it’s difficult find a good thriller. I’ve been reading so many other genres that now I feel like I really need to start some thrillers 😛 Great review 🙂

  16. I felt the same way about this one, unfortunately 🙁 You summed up my own thoughts well. I completely agree with the more shock factor sentiment. I guessed the reveal by the middle of the book, and the entire thing was pretty underwhelming. Sorry you didn’t like it though, and I hope your next read is better!

    Thanks for stopping by The Silver Words!

  17. It’s a shame how underwhelming you found this book, the plot really drew me in. I’ll probably still add it to my “to read” shelf, even if it is just mediocre. Great review!

    1. It is, isn’t it? It’s so hard to find good YA mysteries that genuinely shock you because it feels like all the twists and reveals have already been used before.

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