Notes on an Execution

Notes on an Execution

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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; 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, 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.

Title:Notes on an Execution
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780063052734
Format Type:

    Notes on an Execution Reviews

  • Regina

    Danya Kukafka’s brilliant sophomore novel, Notes on an Execution, took top honors as the best book I read in 2021. (Out of 200+.)It’s the rare unicorn of a novel that is masterfully written, has a...

  • Cindy

    I was debating between rating this 4 or 5 stars, because I found the middle parts to be less engaging and also felt like the policewoman’s story leaned too far into a stereotypical crime drama rathe...

  • Michael David

    HAPPY PUBLICATION DAY!Powerful. Emotional. Haunting.Just a few ways to describe Notes on an Execution by the uber-talented Danya Kukafka. The story starts with 12 hours to go until Ansel Parker’s ex...

  • Kat

    I had extremely high expectations for this based on so many friends’ enthusiastic reviews, and while I liked it, it didn’t move me quite the same way as it has others.It’s the story of Ansel Pac...

  • Melissa (In Catch-Up Mode)

    This is a book that somewhat defies definition, and makes me feel a bit powerless to capture my feelings about it with words.It is an exquisitely written tale, allowing the reader to have a glimpse in...

  • Michelle

    This book is a masterpiece and I do not say that lightly. This is a story based on Ansel Packer. Abandoned by his parents and left alone to fend for himself and his newborn brother. Once discovere...

  • Jen

    This was disturbingly dark and desperate. With 12 hours left on death row, we learn about Ansel, the serial killer and his history, through the eyes of the women who knew him.We learn of his upbringin...

  • Ceecee

    Ansel Packer, Prisoner 999631 is on Death Row at Polunsky Prison in Texas and it’s twelve hours until his execution. It’ll be painless they say but of course he leaves much pain behind. The story ...

  • Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews

    4 stars!Compelling, mysterious and unique!Ansel Packer is a serial killer on death row. His story unfolds through multiple female perspectives - Ansel’s victims, his mother and the detective working...

  • Diane S ?

    A man sits on death row, counting down the days and hours. The book alternates between his thoughts and the lives of the three women that have been impacted by this man, though in very different ways....