That is, until she made the mistake of descending those cellar steps and viewing the first of many horrors down below.
You see, her father wasn’t who she thought he was. He wasn’t the loving and “normal” daddy that all the other kids had. He was very different.
She soon realizes how different as the years pass and unspeakable things begin to happen.
Will Katelyn be able to cling to her sanity after witnessing all of Daddy’s horrors?
– S & S –
My Daddy, the Serial Killer Review
First, the good about My Daddy, the Serial Killer. The book is properly formatted with no spelling, punctuation or grammar issues. Also, if the author were to keep practicing I think she could be good. Her characterization of Katelyn as a six year old were pretty good. Her thoughts seem to reflect how a child would try and process what she’s seeing.
However, unfortunately, I don’t have much good to say about the rest of My Daddy, the Serial Killer. In the early chapters it’s just a series of murders, Katelyn’s attempts to escape and that’s about it. Sometimes it’s hard to tell what age Katelyn is because her thoughts waffle between child, adult and teenager. The characterizations of everyone around her defies logic or realism.
There is no real plot to speak of. A couple of women get murdered. The first one Katelyn sees confuses her and that part is done pretty well. There are some truly disgusting moments that are crudely thrown in just because it’s a serial killer book, I suppose. Nothing is consistent though. The father is a charming newspaper man and is also a serial killer. Nothing too out of place there. Most successful serial killers are. However, he’s also a fairly heavy meth user. So it’s a little hard to fathom that he can stay so organized. There are a few obligatory mood swings and a bit of child abuse. Highlight for spoiler. Spoiler – He forces her to eat her cat in a soup – End Spoiler. His character never really rings true. With the third person view-point it’s an opportunity wasted to get inside his head a bit. He;s mostly a cardboard cut-out Boogeyman.
As Katelyn gets a little older she does try to do some things to get herself taken away from her father. At first I was interested because it seemed a logical and realistic thing to do, especially for the age (sort-of) given. I say sort-of given because it’s not always clear what age Katelyn is supposed to be when some of the events take place. Sometimes the author skips ahead by months or years between chapters. It became painfully obvious quickly that the author was trying to isolate the girl to an unbelievable degree. Katelyn begins stealing things in school (apparently teachers commonly bring expensive necklaces and diamond earrings to school), drawing pictures of a coffin, getting in fights, etc. hoping it will get her taken away from her dad. All it gets her is detention and a three day suspension. So she ups the ante and hits herself with a hammer and then tells a teacher that her father did it. Does this teacher call the cops? Child Services? Nah, she escorts the girl home and flirts with the dad. Very realistic. Then Katelyn tries to kill herself but throws up the pills and ends up in the hospital. Do they ask her why? Call a therapist? Again, nah. “A good night’s rest” is all she needs and they send her home. She runs away. Again, just an escort home from the cops. She thinks about telling them about her dad but figures she doesn’t have any proof. Two pages before they were burying something in the backyard! She didn’t want to eat vegetables from the garden because there were bodies buried there. At this point she is old enough to grasp the concept of evidence but not the fact that she has plenty? Call me silly but I believe bodies and such would count as evidence. All of this happens between the ages of 9-14 but nobody thinks to question why a young girl is harming herself and acting up in school. It gets very annoying and frustrating to read. I know children can fall through the cracks and sometimes aren’t believed but this was just too clumsily done to be anywhere near realistic.
About 50% of My Daddy, the Serial Killer should be a segment called “Katelyn’s Downward Spiral” because it’s all about her and her life getting worse and worse. We hear no more of “Daddy”. Not even sure if he’s still killing at this point or not. It’s a little unbelievable that this guy with this terrible secret would let his daughter go out almost constantly. A trait of serial killers is their tendency to be control freaks. Each chapter is carefully plotted out to show her getting progressively worse with drinking, sex and drugs. It’s almost like you can see the author checking off boxes. I’m not exaggerating when I say 50%. That part of the book runs (on the Kindle percentage) between 30% and 80%. Which is chapter after chapter of Katelyn wanting to forget, Katelyn gets drunk, Katelyn gets high, Katelyn feels numb, Katelyn trades sexual favors for the money to do so. Rinse and repeat for more chapters than I care to count. Eventually Katelyn and her friend, Danielle, begin hooking. Because of course.
Which brings me to another part of My Daddy, the Serial Killer that made me want to chuck it out of the window, if it hadn’t been an e-book. I’m honestly debating about marking this with a spoiler because to spoil something implies there’s a plot. Katelyn finds a newspaper at Danielle’s house with a story about a woman who she saw her father murder during sex. It all comes back to her and she tells Danielle about it. Who, of course, doesn’t believe her. So they go off to Katelyn’s house (because I’d bring my friend to my house when I knew my father was a sadistic killer). Almost the first thing Danielle does is tell the dad what Katelyn said. Seriously?! Apparently instead of the oh-so street smart girl we’ve been presented with the whole time she’s actually an idiot. Then she has sex with him the next morning. What are friends for, right? Danielle disappears that same morning and Katelyn wonders where in the world Danielle went! Then we have to spend almost a whole chapter while Katelyn tries to find out where Danielle’s gone. It’s a poor excuse for suspense when even a two-year old could tell what happened to her.
The last 20% is her “itty bitty miracle” that changes her whole life. The perfect cure for psychological trauma, substance abuse, and possible STD’s? A baby! Yay! It also seems to be the perfect cure for addiction, too. Who knew? She has one pang of wanting some meth to ease her panic but decides against it because of the baby. No other symptoms or ugly reality like withdrawals and body damage to her (and apparently the baby, too) from the whiskey and drugs she’s been guzzling like water.
After a brief non-tense action scene with her father she flees. What happens to her after that? I have no idea because it jumps ahead several years. Now she’s a grown woman and has a wonderful family. She’s even mentally stable enough to take a trip to her father’s house and wander around there with her kids and husband. As cheesy as that ending would have been, it would have been a halfway decent ending to My Daddy, the Serial Killer. Nope. The author felt the need to tack on an over-the-top, melodramatic ending that was wholly unnecessary.
Another part that stuck in my craw a bit as well is there is a brief sex scene between Katelyn and Danielle. Which happens the night before Danielle decides to take Daddy for a ride. The scene itself doesn’t bother me. It makes sense that after so many horrible and terrible experiences with men that Katelyn would be drawn to the only person who has shown her any tenderness, friendship or love (however slight). What I don’t like is that the way it’s presented is like it’s a “rock bottom” moment for Katelyn. It feels like a device by the author to make Danielle’s betrayal the next morning with Katelyn’s father that much the worse.
My last and final gripe. Katelyn has no agency of her own. In the beginning she seems to have thoughts and plans but in one chapter they just…disappear. Her father is the first to shove a meth pipe in her mouth, Danielle gets her into drinking hard and coke, then into hooking. It feels as though the author is holding Katelyn behind a screen saying, “See? It’s not Katelyn who is bad. It’s the bad, bad people around her!” I think it would have made for a far more interesting character if we could get in her head more. A flawed character can still be an interesting and sympathetic character.
Since so much is told through Katelyn’s point of view I think the story would have been better served being written in a first-person perspective. We are told a lot about Katelyn but there is never any real connection with her, good or bad. Far too many chapters begin with her waking up or falling asleep. Later it evolves into “And the week went by like this…” , “The following weekend was more of the same…”. These are lazy transitions.
I honestly can’t recommend this book to anyone. Even though I gave it a terrible review, the author does show some promise if she keeps working on certain areas. I would also recommend a linked Table of Contents. That helps a lot for readers on certain devices.
I give it a very generous One Skull out of Five
Title: My Daddy, The Serial Killer | Author: Cindy Covacik | ASIN: B01NCBE0YR | Source: Received a review copy free from the author for review consideration | Clicking on the cover will take you to Goodreads.