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April 18, 2024

Novel Lives

Book Publicity, Book Reviews, And Author Interviews

How I’ll Kill This Book… Erm… How I’ll Kill You by Ren DeStefano- Review

How I’ll Kill You by Ren DeStefano- Summary

Ren DeStefano’s stay-up-all-night thriller, is about identical triplets who have a nasty habit of killing their boyfriends, and what happens when the youngest commits their worst crime yet: falling in love with her mark.

Make him want you.
Make him love you.
Make him dead.

Sissy has an…interesting family. Always the careful one, always the cautious one, she has handled the cleanup. In contrast, her serial killer sisters have carved a path of carnage across the U.S. 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 murder 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.

But then something happens that Sissy never anticipated: She begins to feel protective of Edison, and before she can help it, she falls in love. But the clock is ticking, and her sisters are growing restless. It becomes clear that the gravesite she chooses will hide a body no matter what happens; but if she betrays her family, will it be hers?

How I’ll Kill You By Ren DeStefano- The Short Review

If you want a short review of Ren DeStefano’s How I’ll Kill You, you can read my handwriting? See the picture below.

How I’ll Kill You by Ren DeStefano- Review 

For the love of all the book fairies. I wanted to kill this book. Why did I finish How I’ll Kill You? I can’t review a book, let alone drag a book, I haven’t finished. Now watch this.

Destefano has written a genre-bending novel that crosses romance (bordering erotic) and a psychological thriller. On the surface, this sounds brilliant. Sisters, who seduce men, just to kill them? YES, PLEASE! Except this idea that sounded so good on paper, ended poorly. Let’s break it down, shall we?

I want to tell Edison the truth. That I loved him the moment he came into that diner, alone, searching for something, searching for me… I’ve travelled 1000 miles just to find him… “What are you thinking?” How beautiful the need in your eyes would be if I wrapped my hands around your throat. The silent, desperate begging.”

The bottom line is this. Romance fans will vomit over the violent/thriller parts of How I’ll Kill You, while thriller fans will vomit over the romance piece. The two never mingle together, correctly. It was a thriller, and yet it had NO EDGE. Romance fans aren’t going to go for it. Then the other side is so sappy, so perfect that thriller fans are gonna have an aneurysm.

That leads me to the next issue. How I’ll Kill You is written in repetition and convenience. Everything works out perfectly for Jade/Sissy’s plans. And she never lets us forget it.

 

She’s in love, Moody says… I am in love, its true. I think of Edison and my knees shake, my chest hurts, and my eyes water. It’s like having the flu and winning the lottery every day of my life. I mourn him, eventhough he’s still alive… We’ll have Christmas together and then I’ll kill him on New Years Eve.

 

Ok. There is a lot to unpack here. First, I don’t remember any kind of infatuation or love making my eyes water unless I was dumped. Second, if love feels like the flu? We are stupid people. And then lastly, the repetition of I love him, he’s alive, I’m going to kill him. I get that this is the plot of DeStefano’s How I’ll Kill You, but the execution is painful. And everything is perfect convenience for Sissy/Jade. The neighbor, the church she attends wants her to sing, Edison’s past. It would work if you felt like she worked for it, and played him. But the only people getting played are the readers.

 

Ren DeStefano

How I’ll Kill You by Ren DeStefano- Goodreads

Here is the other reason I felt an obligation to finish and review How I’ll Kill You. Goodreads. To each their own, I’m not taking anyone’s enjoyment of reading to criticize them. In my opinion? An overall 4.45 rating is mindboggling. Do romance books have repetitive and convenient plots? I doubt it but I haven’t read the genre so what do I know? People called it dark, a page-turner, and devious with beautiful writing. Maybe I got the wrong book.

How I’ll Kill You By Ren Destefano- Characters

The characters are also a huge issue that no one seems to care about. They are completely shallow. There is this whole backstory about how they were abandoned and went through the foster system. It is barely explored. Sissy, who is playing Jade? We never get to know Sissy. We get to know Jade and even that is surface. Her sisters? The closest we get to know about Moody is:

When is my turn again? We’re going back up north. I’ve always wanted to kill someone in the snow.

First off, this is the energy I lived for and wanted Ren Destefano to pull out in spades. But no. Second, these sisters are triplets and each is integral to the story. However, we barely spend any time with them or hear from them, except when they are doubting Sissy. We spend a lot of time with Edison and he has a huge backstory. Yet, none of it or him is explored enough.

How I’ll Kill You By Ren Destefano- A Final Thought And Saving Grace

The concept DeStefano attempts is commendable. If executed correctly, it could be a grand slam. It just didn’t happen. The development and execution just didn’t come through. The one saving grace? If you listen to the audiobook, you get to hear Karissa Vacker narrate and she is a superstar. None of this is on her.

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