One of the most common goals many vouch for at the start of the year is getting more reading done. This year will probably be no different, if you want a chilling yet mesmerizingly dark tale of a serial killer, but told from the perspective of the women in his life, Notes on an Execution by Danya Kukafka should be your top pick.
The novel follows Ansel Packer, who is a serial killer already convicted for murdering 3 girls, spending the last 12 hours of his life, on death row.
“Ansel Packer is scheduled to die in twelve hours.
He knows what he’s done, and now awaits the same fate he forced on those girls, years ago. Ansel doesn’t want to die; he wants to be celebrated, understood.
But this is not his story,” says the excerpt behind the book.
This is not your regular gory serial killer novel, however, as you move through the story from the women in Packer’s life, telling the story of how he was raised, how he behaved and lived his life. The story is told from the perspective of three women, his mom, his wife’s twin sister, and the detective who was on his case.
This perspective and narrative view in ‘Notes on an Execution’ alone sounds like a recipe for a masterpiece in making, as no serial killer story in the past has ever shed light on the misogyny that goes behind most male serial killers and their homicidal tendencies, mostly revolving around hurting or killing girls and women.
The excerpt continues, “As the clock ticks down, three women uncover the history of a tragedy and the long shadow it casts. Lavender, Ansel’s mother, is a seventeen-year-old girl pushed to desperation. Hazel, twin sister to his wife, is forced to watch helplessly as the relationship threatens to devour them all. And Saffy, the detective hot on his trail, is devoted to bringing bad men to justice but struggling to see her own life clearly.
This is the story of the women left behind. Blending breathtaking suspense with astonishing empathy, Notes On An Execution presents a chilling portrait of womanhood as it unravels the familiar narrative of the American serial killer, interrogating our cultural obsession with crime stories, and asking readers to consider the false promise of looking for meaning in the minds of violent men.”