The Killer in Me by Margot Harrison
Published July 12th 2016
Margot Harrison’s first novel, The Killer in Me, was published in July of 2017. It is a psychological thriller that asks which is more terrifying: “the possibility that your nightmares are real or they begin and end with you?” I recommend this book for teens and young adults who like to read mysteries and psychological thrillers.
The story is told through the perspective of a seventeen-year-old Nina Barrow. Nina knows everything about a mysterious figure she dreams about and calls, “the Thief” who turns out to be a real person, and may be guilty of much worse than theft. Vermonter Nina Barrows was adopted by her mother, who is a lawyer, before she was one year old. Her mom adopted Nina because her girlfriend, Dory, wanted a baby. When Dory, who works with child services, introduced Nina to Nina’s mom, and her mom fell in love with Nina’s “big bronze eyes that wouldn’t let go.” However, “lesbian couples can’t adopt kids,” so Nina’s mom and Dory put off moving in together while her mom jumped through the state’s adoption hoops which took a long time. In the meantime, Dory fell in love with somebody else. Nina and her mom moves to Vermont.
Nina has a strange dream about a killer who never leaves evidence, like blood stain or fingerprint, so that no one can suspect him as a serial killer. She starts researching to find out if this person, who she names, “the thief,” is real. Nina wants to catch him. Thus, she asks her friend whose name is Warren Witter to help her. Nina has a strong suspicion but no evidence. She tries to find more information about the thief. Warren follows Nina to find the truth and they discover that the man is named Dylan Shadwell and he lives in New Mexico. After they realize who the serial killer is, they start stalking him until his house. When they are stalking him, Nina finds a surprising truth that can change everything: a truth about what she believes, her dreams, and past.
While reading this book, I was curious why people actually believe Nina, who is only a seventeen-year-old girl, who can’t do anything? Compared to adults, teenagers lack power, influence, and knowledge than adults. Can you believe everything a teenager says about a serial killer? I could only believe a little of what she says because Nina is a teenager and teenagers are not sure about which is right or wrong; they believe everything that they think. Thus, if a teenagers said that they knew everything about a serial killer, I personally wouldn’t trust them. This makes the story a little difficult to believe.
I found the main protagonist, Nina Barrow, to be an interesting character because, as I mentioned, she is only seventeen-year-old girl who wants to catch the serial killer even though she is only teenager. If I were in her situation, I would just ignore the dream or think of it as a bad nightmare. And even if I suspected that it were a real situation I’d still ignore it because the worst situation would be getting killed. However, Nina actually finds out about the thief and tracks him down, which surprised me because I wouldn’t do even though I knew that he was actually a serial killer.
Nina also reminds me of the main character, Hong-joo Nam, from a Korean drama called “While You Were Sleeping.” Hong-joo can see the future deaths of others while she dreams. For example, she can see a person who is murdered by a serial killer. She dreams every night about unfortunate events which always happen. However, the worst thing is that she doesn’t know when the death will happen. Thus, she wants to stop her dreams before they become reality. Jae-chan Jung, who is a prosecutor, works with Hong-joo to catch the offender before they can actually commit crimes. It was interesting that Hong-joo and Nina are similar to me because the contents and types of stories are totally different, but the characters are similar.
I had never read a psychological thriller before because I don’t like using my brain to figure out the perpetrator while reading the book. I prefer the books that need to use imagination, and I’ve only read fantasy books such as Harry Potter. Thus, reading this book felt like I was challenging myself because I needed to use my brain to figure out the identity of The Thief.
Overall, I recommend The Killer in Me for teenagers and young adults who like to use deductive skills while reading a book. The reader may become confused while reading this book, but I think that’s what makes you want to keep reading. It’s fun to try to guess who the serial killer might be while reading. Thus, I recommend this book for people who want to experience a twisted psychological thriller.