Notes on an Execution, Danya Kukafka

A purple cover with a locket. There is a blue house on one side of the locket and a young girl on the other side.

“…she prayed that the difference between good and evil was simply a matter of trying.”

I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway from William Morrow and started it almost immediately after it showed up on my tablet. Ansel has 12 hours left to live. Kukafka tells those 12 hours in a very roundabout way, not just through Ansel’s eyes but through the people in his life. We see Ansel through the eyes of his mother, his sister-in-law, and through the detective on his case. It’s a creative way of storytelling that shows us how Ansel got to his last hours on earth.

The storytelling is unique and, at times, lyrical. Each person has their truth, viewed through many lenses. The deeper I read, the harder it was to put this book down. I appreciate that most perspectives came from people in Ansel’s life and think it is a unique take to the storyline. Overall, this is an enjoyable, thought-provoking read.

A final note: This might be a tough read for some people, so if you’re into trigger warnings, you might want to check reviews that have them before reading.

Notes on an Execution is available on Amazon, Bookshop, and B&N.

About the Book:
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.

Read and give a like this review on Amazon, Goodreads, and Bookbub.


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