Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Review: How I'll Kill You by Ren DeStefano

by Ren DeStefano
Release Date: March 21, 2023
2023 Berkley
Kindle Edition; 352 Pages
ISBN: 978-0593438305
ASIN: B0B4R71G46
Audiobook: B0B622M43T
Genre: Fiction / Thriller
Source: Review copy from publisher


Sissy has an...interesting family. Always the careful one, always the cautious one, she has handled the cleanup while her serial killer sisters have carved a path of carnage across the US. Now, as they arrive in the Arizona heat, Sissy must step up and embrace the family pastime of making a man fall in love and then murdering him. Her first target? A young widower named Edison—and their mutual attraction is instant. While their relationship progresses, and most couples would be thinking about picking out china patterns and moving in together, Sissy’s family is reminding her to think about picking out burial sites and moving on. It becomes clear that the grave site she chooses will hide a body no matter what happens; but if she betrays her family, will it be hers?
My Thoughts
How I'll Kill You had an interesting premise and I was anticipating a wild ride. But that was nothing like the reality. Sigh! Unfortunately, I couldn't even make it halfway through this book.  By the time I called it quits, nothing had really happened and I was getting frustrated by the annoying dialogue and the lack of plot.  
At first, I thought I could just plow through this, but in reality, there were just too many plot holes for me to keep going.  The girls deliberately picked a small town to try to fit into, but that whole concept made me frustrate and I wondered if the author had ever lived in small town.  I have, and believe me, it is not easy to go unnoticed in such a place where everyone know everyone and their business.  You can't just walk into such a place and go "My Aunt Sophie who lived on such and such a street died and left me a fortune and we are trying to work out things with a lawyer", as everyone will know who Aunt Sophie is.  But that is exactly what happened in this book.  No one ever questioned Sissy's story.  Really? Not buying it. 
The biggest problem I had was developing sympathy for the characters.  I don't necessarily have to like them, but understanding why they do the things they do and what happened to them often develops sympathy even if you don't agree with their actions.  The way the story was told actually left me feeling detached and I wasn't feeling very empathetic towards any of them.  In fact, by the time I DNF the book, I was visualizing Aron Beauregard showing up and sending them to play in the town's Playground to finish them all off.  That's how annoyed I was.  

How I'll Kill You didn't live up to the tension and suspense that was promised.  Unfortunately, the story is full of prose that meanders all over the place and characters that I didn't find that interesting or memorable, were actually kind of shallow and one-dimensional.  I did think the author had a great idea and would like to see what kind of work is produced in the future, but for me, this one ended up being more of a love story rather than a thriller, but one that was shallow and didn't really have any emotional depth.  I really tried to give this one a shot, but I just couldn't.