Electronic Theses and Dissertations



Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts


Creative Writing

Committee Chair

Mark Mayer

Committee Member

Emily Skaja

Committee Member

Eric Schlich


The novel Killer Genes explores the concealed world of contract killers through the lens of protagonist Alana, a college student. When Alana discovers dark secrets about her estranged mother and beloved father—namely, that they are both entrenched in the underground profession of contract killing—her worldview fractures. After the suspicious death of Alana’s ex Jaiden, Alana suspects her own father may have been involved. This launches an exploration filled with moral quandaries as Alana tries to reconcile her love for her father with the possibility of his guilt. When Alana’s long-lost mother resurfaces and warns of a rival agency targeting both her and Alana’s father, the complex layers of secrets and lies begin to unravel. Alana finds herself questioning notions of trust, family loyalty, and her own moral compass as she becomes ensnared in this world. The novel delves into the psyche of contract killers and the allure that draws people into this darkness. It probes the lengths one might go to in the name of protecting family and paints a portrait of moral gray areas. This thesis analyzes the novel's key themes around relationships/dysfunctional family, coming of age, deception, humor and suspense.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest.


Open Access