What I Loved:
This entire book is written as diary entries from the perspective of the daughter of a serial killer. I really liked the changes made as the daughter grows. Her sentence structure changes, her view on the world, and her vocabulary, all evolve as she grows.
How I Felt:
I was somewhat disturbed by this book, and yet I could not stop reading it. That doesn’t happen to me often. I’ll DNF a book if I find the subject matter to be too much for me, but in this case, I just couldn’t put it down. It was a well-written and extremely intriguing story. I’m putting my CONTENT WARNINGS at the end of my thoughts, so please read them before deciding if this is a book for you.
The story starts when Ruby is 6 years old. She’s just gotten her diary and discovers how much she enjoys writing in it. She shares all of her thoughts and secrets with her diary and we, the readers, begin to see that Ruby views the world differently than many people. I think that she may have had some OCD and autistic tendencies. She repeats words a lot, always in threes, and she likes the number 7 for things. Schedule is extremely important to her, and she is bothered by loud noise, among other things. Her diary entries begin to discuss the game her daddy plays in the garage, where there is always red, red, red.
Ruby continues to sneak outside to the garage to spy on her dad and his game. As she gets older, she begins to reveal more and more details about the game. She begins to write poetry, and as she ages, that poetry improves but also becomes darker. She feels the need to protect her daddy from getting caught. She cleans up any mistakes he makes and worries constantly about keeping the secret. The story takes a hard, raw look at a nature versus nurture situation. At one point, Ruby discusses two paths leading to two very different lives, and I thought this was an impactful section, really making me think.
The writing was very well-done. I don’t want to take anything away from the author’s amazing ability to tell a story. This was a hard read, but it had nothing to do with the writing. The content is rough. I wasn’t affected by Ruby’s father being a serial killer, I was affected by the way this impact’s Ruby’s life. Her father cares for Ruby so deeply, and protects her so fiercely, I kind of looked up to him! And yet, he has this other side, that we only see through Ruby’s eyes, as a murderer, but she views him with only love and devotion. It was so emotionally draining as I went on this roller-coaster ride through the book.
The other topic that was difficult to read was Ruby’s bullying. She is picked on all the way through school, and it is hard to read. I was so, extremely upset with the vicious actions of these children. It was horrifying. I hated the teacher’s blind eyes and appreciated her father’s anger and actions towards the school.
The mixed emotions this book drew out of me was amazing, and it is part of why I gave it 5 stars. I was extremely drawn into this story, and clearly emotionally invested. A writer having the ability to create that type of bond between a reader and a story deserves some praise!
Overall, I found The Diary of a Serial Killer’s Daughter to be a fascinating, heartbreaking story that I couldn’t stop reading. The character development was phenomenal, and the story and writing style were unique.
This book is, of course, about murder and a serial killer. However, please take a moment to read these other topics before deciding if this is a book for you. There are references to suicide and parental neglect. There are unfounded accusations of father-daughter sexual abuse. There is extensive discussion and descriptions of murder, body mutilation, strangulation, bullying, bullying in the form of physical violence, and some child abuse.
To Read or Not To Read:
I would recommend The Diary of a Serial Killer’s Daughter to readers that enjoy crime fiction and insight into a killer’s mind.
Where to Find This Book:
The Diary of a Serial Killer’s Daughter by L.A. Detwiler is available at these sites.
If you knew your father’s darkest secret, would you turn him in?
What if his secret was connected to you?
Ruby Marlowe’s always been a daddy’s girl. Her mother died when she was two, and her single father has ensured she has everything she needs. However, everyone has dark secrets, and Ruby’s father is no exception…
When she’s young, she doesn’t understand the weight of her father’s killing game. However, as she ages, she realizes her obsessive tendencies aren’t the only elements that separate her from her peers. After she begins to investigate her mother’s life and death, Ruby starts to believe there are some secrets even she doesn’t know about the serial killer she calls Daddy.
As her father’s killing grows rampant, the secrets get harder and harder to hide—and she fears it will all come crashing down. Will Ruby seek a different life for herself and betray the only person who has ever loved her, or will she get wrapped up in his sinister path?
Just the Facts:
The Diary of a Serial Killer’s Daughter by L.A. Detwiler
Page Count: 249 pages
Publisher: Independently published
Pub Date: January 27, 2020
I was provided an advanced reader’s copy of this book for free. I am leaving my honest, unbiased review voluntarily.