Sunday, January 7, 2018

Book Review: To Catch A Killer

Author: Sheryl Scarborough
Publication Date: February 7, 2017
Publisher: Tor Teen
Series: Erin Blake # 1

“A twisty, cold-case mystery custom made for fans of Sara Shepard, PLL and Veronica Mars! The edge-of-your-seat plot, sinister backstory and smart, brave and irreverent main character made this whodunit unputdownable.”―Justine Magazine

In To Catch a Killer, a contemporary mystery by debut author Sheryl Scarborough, a teenage girl uses forensic science to solve the cold-case murder of her mother. Erin Blake has one of those names. A name that is inextricably linked to a grisly crime. As a toddler, Erin survived for three days alongside the corpse of her murdered mother, and the case―which remains unsolved―fascinated a nation. Her father's identity unknown, Erin was taken in by her mother's best friend and has become a relatively normal teen in spite of the looming questions about her past.

Fourteen years later, Erin is once again at the center of a brutal homicide when she finds the body of her biology teacher. When questioned by the police, Erin tells almost the whole truth, but never voices her suspicions that her mother's killer has struck again in order to protect the casework she's secretly doing on her own.

Inspired by her uncle, an FBI agent, Erin has ramped up her forensic hobby into a full-blown cold-case investigation. This new murder makes her certain she's close to the truth, but when all the evidence starts to point the authorities straight to Erin, she turns to her longtime crush (and fellow suspect) Journey Michaels to help her crack the case before it's too late.

If you want to spot a liar, just remember that concealing the truth is like swallowing a slow-acting poison. It might take a while, but it will get them in the end.

“It’s okay that you like him,” Spam says. “Serial killers are really popular. They get prison married and everything.”

Fifty percent of human DNA is identical to the DNA of a banana.

The start of this book did not match the ending for me – thus the 3 star review. It is a fast-paced read, the characters are likeable, the mystery has its high points, and the writing is detailed and easy to follow. However, I figured out the killer about fifty pages in and it was underwhelming to say the least. Let’s talk about some of the positives first. I loved the idea behind story. Erin’s past was morbid and completely built this awesome character with quirky tendencies and hobbies that consisted of experimenting with DNA testing and her love of forensic science. The details and tidbits that were shared about Erin’s love for forensic science were much needed and appreciated – so interesting! Her two best friends were eccentric and supportive of her ideas and were totally best friend goals. At the start of the novel, I was enthralled and could not put the book down. The writing was fast and the details were downright creepy and hard to think about. Overall, an amazing start to what I thought would be a 5 star read.

However, about fifty to seventy pages in I verbalized aloud, to myself of course, who the killer was – I was right. By this point, I was starting to deflate. I was also getting irritated with how everyone was characterizing the main character as becoming obsessed with the murder mystery – it was like the author was trying too hard to prove that Erin was keeping secrets. We get it; we already know the secrets. The romance was insta-love and it was a bit unbelievable. I really would have liked more of a buildup to their relationship instead of “oh, everyone thinks you murdered our teacher, but I don’t so let’s start dating.” With all of this being said, I enjoyed the first part of the book but not so much the last half.

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