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Notes on an Execution: A Novel



by
Danya Kukafka

Edition
Hardcover edition
Publisher
HarperCollins
Imprint
William Morrow (Adult)
ISBN
9780063052734
POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Violence: Cruelty to Animals , Violence: Domestic/Physical Abuse , Violence: Child Abuse , Language: Strong Language , Sexual Content: Strong Sexual Content/Themes
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In the tradition of Long Bright River and The Mars Room, a gripping and atmospheric work of literary suspense that deconstructs the story of a serial killer on death row, told primarily through the eyes of the women in his life—from the bestselling author of Girl in Snow.

Ansel Packer is scheduled to die in twelve hours. He knows what he’s done, and now awaits execution, the same chilling fate he forced on those girls, years ago. But Ansel doesn’t want to die; he wants to be celebrated, understood. He hoped it wouldn’t end like this, not for him.

Through a kaleidoscope of women—a mother, a sister, a homicide detective—we learn the story of Ansel’s life. We meet his mother, Lavender, a seventeen-year-old girl pushed to desperation. We meet Hazel, twin sister to Ansel’s wife, inseparable since birth, forced to watch helplessly as her sister’s relationship threatens to devour them all. And finally, Saffy, the homicide detective hot on his trail, who has devoted herself to bringing bad men to justice but struggles to see her own life clearly. As the clock ticks down, these three women sift through the choices that culminate in tragedy, exploring the rippling fissures that such destruction inevitably leaves in its wake.

Blending breathtaking suspense with astonishing empathy, em>Notes on an Execution presents a chilling portrait of womanhood as it simultaneously unravels the familiar narrative of the American serial killer, interrogating our system of justice and our cultural obsession with crime stories, asking readers to consider the false promise of looking for meaning in the psyches of violent men.

POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Violence: Cruelty to Animals , Violence: Domestic/Physical Abuse , Violence: Child Abuse , Language: Strong Language , Sexual Content: Strong Sexual Content/Themes

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

320

Trim Size

8 3/10" x 5 1/2"

Dewey

F

AR

0: points 0

Genre

Fic

Scholastic Reading Counts

0

JLG Release

May 2022

Book Genres

Detective Story, Thriller

Topics

Serial murderers. Serial killers. Family. Death row inmates. Crime. Women’s fiction. Impact of crime on women.

 


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Praise & Reviews

The Horn Book

In Kukafka's unshakable, deeply compassionate second novel (following Girl in Snow), a Death Row inmate's final hours spark a meditation on murder and our society's morbid fascination with the violent men who commit them. Ansel Packer, inmate number 999631, killed three girls as a teenager, the justifications for which he has included in a grand Theory that will outlive him and assert his importance. But Ansel is not the only character in his story, and Kukafka smartly foregrounds her narrative on three women in his orbit: his mother Lavender, who fled the abuse of her husband by abandoning Ansel and his infant brother; Hazel, the twin sister of Ansel's ex-wife; and Saffron, a young homicide detective who once lived with Ansel in foster care. Their ordeals, which span more than four decades and intertwine in unexpected ways, show how acts of violence echo through the generations. Kukafka wrings tremendous suspense out of a story that isn't a whodunit or even strictly a why-dunit, suspense born out of a desire to see these women transcend the identities consigned to them. VERDICT A contemporary masterpiece that sits alongside The Executioner's Song and Victim: The Other Side of Murder in the library of crime literature.-Michael Pucci, South Orange P.L., NJ

Praise & Reviews

The Horn Book

In Kukafka's unshakable, deeply compassionate second novel (following Girl in Snow), a Death Row inmate's final hours spark a meditation on murder and our society's morbid fascination with the violent men who commit them. Ansel Packer, inmate number 999631, killed three girls as a teenager, the justifications for which he has included in a grand Theory that will outlive him and assert his importance. But Ansel is not the only character in his story, and Kukafka smartly foregrounds her narrative on three women in his orbit: his mother Lavender, who fled the abuse of her husband by abandoning Ansel and his infant brother; Hazel, the twin sister of Ansel's ex-wife; and Saffron, a young homicide detective who once lived with Ansel in foster care. Their ordeals, which span more than four decades and intertwine in unexpected ways, show how acts of violence echo through the generations. Kukafka wrings tremendous suspense out of a story that isn't a whodunit or even strictly a why-dunit, suspense born out of a desire to see these women transcend the identities consigned to them. VERDICT A contemporary masterpiece that sits alongside The Executioner's Song and Victim: The Other Side of Murder in the library of crime literature.-Michael Pucci, South Orange P.L., NJ

Grades 11 & Up
Adult Crossover Thrillers Plus
For Grades 11 & Up

Suspenseful fiction and nonfiction for high school readers who are ready for adult reading.
*Take note: these selections often contain mature situations and language that could be considered controversial.

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Interests
Fiction,Mature Readers,Thriller/Horror/Mystery,Novels,Realistic Fiction
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