Discussion Guide for The Kill Sign

Relive The Kill Sign's rollercoaster ride with your friends, family, or students through this handy Discussion Guide...or invite Nichole to chat about writing, books, Jamie, and more in person or through skype. Nic loves to connect with students, writers' groups, and readers' groups just like yours. In the meantime, read on for The Kill Sign's Discussion Guide below.

1. Who was your favorite character in The Kill Sign? What made them memorable? Could the story have been told without them?

2. Names, as well as nicknames, play an important role in The Kill Sign. What are the various names and nicknames used throughout the novel? What do they tell us about the characters bearing those names? What do those names or nicknames tell us about the characters who give them to others?

3. A novel can be a reflection of the real world, a reaction to it, or both. Is The Kill Sign any of these? If so, how so? If not, why not?

4. Throughout The Kill Sign, Jamie takes a strong stand on issues such as infidelity and advanced interrogation techniques, but then is challenged by circumstances to stick to her values. Does she succeed in this, or fail? Have you ever been challenged in this way? Did you succeed, or fail, or is there a middle ground where we can both succeed and fail?

5. Settings can be general, or specific and written in vivid detail, but they should always serve the story. Which settings stayed with you after you finished The Kill Sign? Are these general settings or specific ones? How did they impact the storytelling?

6. What is the theme of The Kill Sign?

7. A sense of “fair play” is an important component of any mystery novel. Often, this means the author includes details, which in retrospect, add up to reveal the mystery’s truth to the reader before the final scene of the novel. Which details pointed you toward the solution of this mystery? Are these the same or different than the details your friends noticed?

8. In the 20th Century, the great American mystery author Dashiell Hammett believed some of the secondary questions that come up in a mystery novel should go unanswered because this is a reflection of the real-life investigative process. In the 21st Century, some readers love this technique and some despise it. What questions appear to be unanswered by the end of The Kill Sign? Are they truly unanswered?

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