(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Published by Macmillan on February 7th 2017
Genres: Mysteries & Detective Stories, Thrillers & Suspense, Young Adult Fiction
Erin Blake has one of those names. A name that, like Natalee Holloway or Elizabeth Smart, 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.
To Catch a Killer by Sheryl Scarborough caught my eye the second I read the summary. I love a good mystery / thriller and this one had my attention.
This book is centered on a girl in high school, Erin, who has grown up with a level of notoriety in her small town…and not the good kind. Her mother was murdered when she was two and she was locked up in the house with her body for a few days. Growing up in a small town, Erin’s name has always had a bit of a stigma with it but she has a small circle of people she trusts and loves.
Because of her past, Erin has always been interested in forensics so when she inadvertently stumbles into the crime scene of one of her teachers, she is again at the center of a brutal crime. What’s different this time is that Erin isn’t the only one there and as she connects with the other person who was at the scene of the crime, Erin begins to think the crime is linked to her mother’s murder.
I love a good character driven story and as I mentioned, this story focuses on Erin. Overall I liked her but there were times that she drove me a little crazy. I absolutely felt for her as she never really had the opportunity to know her mother before she died, her father is an unknown, and she has grown up feeling a bit disconnected. She is lucky in that she has Rachel, her mom’s best friend, but Rachel never wants to talk about her mom or what happened and I got the sense that there hasn’t been an opportunity for closure for Erin. Add in the fact that her mom’s murder is still unsolved and I don’t question why Erin feels the need to do something herself. There were some things that I didn’t really believe would ever happen (walking out of the police station with a box full of evidence) but what do I know.
The relationships Erin had with her best friends Spam and Lysa were great. I loved how even if they were fighting they were there for each other. There is a part near the end where Lysa essentially says just that and it showed just how much these three friends cared and supported each other.
The part that didn’t click for me was Journey. He felt a little flat to me and I love that we got to know him but the relationship that developed moved really quickly. It seemed like they went from not knowing anything about each other to all of a sudden they were boyfriend/girlfriend.
The other character I will mention is Victor. He is Rachel’s brother and has never really met Erin before. He also happens to work for the FBI and when Erin’s teacher dies, Rachel asks him to come home to help figure out what is going on. When he enters the story, he uncovers one of Erin’s biggest secrets and offers to help her figure out what is going on. She also has the opportunity to learn from him and I thought Scarborough did a good job integrating the science here. I’m not any sort of forensic expert but it sounded believable to me and that is really all that matters.
This book was a pretty quick read and fell about middle of the road for me. While there are a few twists and turns, I was able to figure out who but it was the why I stuck it out for and I thought Scarborough did a good job of tying everything together. She does leave the reader with a little bit of a cliffhanger at the end but it felt ok and not like a teaser. If you are looking for an interesting story that has some mystery and solid friendships, consider checking this one out.
Thank you to the publisher for the review copy!