Book #18: To Catch a Killer by Sheryl Scarborough

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.

When I get oversaturated in fantasy or romance, I tend to go back to my direct roots of reading: the mystery/thriller or horror. It’s a genre I love and would love to eventually write more of. I’m all about murders and solving them. My favorite movies tend to be that genre, my favorite random facts are true crime facts, basically, I’m an ID (Investigation Discovery) Fan to the max.

That said, I haven’t delved into the young adult mystery/thriller all that much. So, when I got the opportunity to read To Catch a Killer, I went for it.

I’m glad I did.

To Catch a Killer read like a quick mystery/thriller episode. There are snarky characters, your reasonable sidekick and the quirky sidekick, there are the characters who try to stop the MC & Co from solving the crime. It was like a cozy mystery meets forensics meets high school. And it was a fun read.

Yes, there is a bit of a budding romance, but it is the mystery that is the focus. What I really loved about this book is that it leaned heavily on forensics. It made forensics fun and interesting and really simple to do if you know what you’re doing.

I’m also going to add that the characters are fun to get to know. Erin is snarky, smart, and a bit tunnel vision focus. She also has trust issues. Her best friends are the reasonable Lysa and spunky and nutty Spam. The love interest, Journey, is a charming young man who seems to have more in his head than most literary jocks.

I was pulled into the story quickly and kept in the book until the very end. It’s a definite recommendation for anyone who loves a mystery and YA books.

Final Rating: 4/5

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