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 -...Read More
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.
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; 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 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, 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.
Danya Kukafka is the internationally bestselling author of Girl in Snow. She is a graduate of New York University's Gallatin School of Individualized Study. She works as a literary agent.
"There's no question whodunit here: The killer is already in prison when the book begins. The story Notes aims to tell is how he got there. . . . But [Kukafka] also takes care to give Packer's victims what they never got in life: a voice." - Entertainment Weekly
"Danya Kukafka's Notes on an Execution is an intense thriller that reads like a mash-up of Law & Order and a college psych class. The fictional story of Ansel Packer, a serial killer on death row, is given a brilliant twist by focusing on the women he affected, ultimately asking why we're drawn to crime stories about violent men. Cleverly constructed and smart, this is the kind of book you finish with a big exhale." - Real Simple
"This novel is defiantly populated with living women . . . Kukafka evokes the disarming fog of grief, its wild illogic, its transformative power. . . . Notes on an Execution is nuanced, ambitious and compelling. . . . The seduction of the serial killer narrative is difficult to shake, for reader and author alike. We keep watching, and we keep turning the pages. In our fascination, we're all implicated." - New York Times Book Review
"Poetic and mesmerizing . . . Notes on an Execution is a career-defining novel--powerful, important, intensely human, and filled with a unique examination of tragedy, one where the reader is left with a curious emotion: hope." - USA Today
"Provocative, intelligent, thrilling, moving." - Paula Hawkins, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Girl on the Train
"Spellbinding and beautifully written. Danya Kukafka's Notes on an Execution is an irresistible, unbearably tense thriller; a poignant, deeply compassionate tale of resilience; and a vital intervention in the way we talk about violent crime, its endless reverberations and foremost its survivors." - Megan Abbott, New York Times bestselling author of The Turnout
"A searing portrait of the complicated women caught in the orbit of a serial killer. Notes on an Execution examines a culture that romanticizes men who kill while also exploring the lives of the overlooked women altered by this violence. Compassionate and thought-provoking." - Brit Bennett, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Vanishing Half
"At once blistering with righteous anger and radical empathy, Notes on an Execution is destined to become a contemporary classic." - Esquire
"Perfectly constructed and exquisitely written. . . . This is a serial killer novel that's more Dostoyevsky than Lars Keplar --rich, anguished, brilliant." - Washington Post
"Deeply feeling, super raw . . . It's really creative. I never really had read anything like it. - Jenna Bush Hager, Read With Jenna