Book Review: Instrument of Evil by Lori A. Lowthert

Rebekah Johnson has a really big secret, one she's pretty sure will end her new relationship with Scott. She'd like to tell him, but she anticipates his response would be to break up with her. Or report her to the police. Most likely both. Rebekah is a fledgling serial killer, and she's not ready to put killing aside. What's a young serial killer to do? Can she give up killing to save her relationship?


I have to admit that I messed up. I actually read the second book in this story first, but that’s another review.

Instrument of Evil is about a female serial killer as she grows up, and the events that led her to kill. During college, she has to write a thesis for phycology, and decides to write two separate ones. One thesis is about children, and their habits of lying, and the other about psychopaths, which Rebekah has self-diagnosed herself as.

I was forced to accept the idea that I was a psychopathic person, a person who would lie, cheat, steal, and hurt others, for the fun of it.

The first third of the book was spent solely on backstory, which seemed to serve no real purpose other than to prove that she was brought up in a somewhat normal household. Rebekah’s character rubbed off on me as a spoiled, intelligent, brat, who only did things for attention. There were long descriptions of family vacations and shopping trips, but they didn’t really show us anything other than descriptions.

There was nothing fantastic about the first half of the book to me, and I had trouble really getting into the story, as it was just normal life of a girl growing up. She gets into trouble like most teens, and the only thing remotely disturbing is that fact that she lied and help convict an innocent man of rape.

The story is told from first person perspective, and could have easily showed us insight into the mind of a killer, or given us opinions of what a serial killer thought of the events around her, but there were only a few sarcastic monologues that reminded me of the disgruntled teen that she is.

Personally, when I read a description about a book that includes a serial killer, I expect murder to be a huge premise of the story. We don’t really start to tread on the subject of murder until we are almost halfway through the book.

Even though Rebekah’s character falls into the personality traits of a psychopath (for those who study theory of mind obsessively like me), the traits actually tend to sway toward the tame side, and even then I had trouble finding it convincing. I was hoping for more of an internal struggle from the character, and it just wasn’t there. I believe that the author was shooting for a more apathetic personality, which holds true in some cases, but I was hoping for a massive tortured soul, possibly including the audio and visual hallucinations. Rebekah’s psychopathic tendencies fall under the thrill-kill category, but her off-putting personality has you doubting that she is even getting a thrill from it. I was hoping to either see her fighting with the urge to kill people, or to battle keeping her life in control because of the murders, but nether seemed to emerge and flesh out. She seemed to drop in a line here or there that she stop killing, but there was no big internal debate over the subject.

Now for the kicker. We don’t know what really goes on in the mind of a serial killer because most of them have either been sentenced to death, or have never been caught. There are so many varying degrees of insanity that no two would be the same, so to say that Rebekah’s character is unrealistic can be debated, and let’s not forget the fact that this book is merely fiction.

I have to give Loria Lowthert credit. It was a fabulous idea, and I still don’t know whether I like this book or not, so I have to settle in the middle with a 3 star rating. The book was well written and edited, and it had me arguing with myself over theory of mind. I don’t think I’ve ever had a love/hate relationship with a book before, until now.   

If you have trouble viewing this post, please visit for the original. This site feeds to several others.

No comments:

Post a Comment