Review: To Catch a Killer by Sheryl Scarborough

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: To Catch a Killer by Sheryl ScarboroughTo Catch a Killer by Sheryl Scarborough
Series: Erin Blake #1
Published by Tor Teen on February 7, 2017
Pages: 320
Format: Hardcover
Source: the publisher
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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 was a mystery thrill-ride of a book. It started off a bit slow, but once things picked up, I was constantly on my toes, suspicious of everyone and trying to follow the evidence. This book was billed as being NCIS meets Veronica Mars and I could DEFINITELY see the Veronica Mars comparisons.

I was a little indifferent to Erin in the beginning. The more immersed she became in her investigation, the more I liked her. I could see things through her eyes, as if I was the investigator trying to solve the mystery. I loved the way she threw herself into the investigation, committed and willing to do whatever she had to to get answers. I also really liked her relationship with Journey. It didn’t feel like insta-love. It was organic, a slow but steady progression from friends with crushes to more.

I’m not sure how I feel about Spam and Lysa. At times, they were amazing, supportive friends. At other times, they were really frustrating and treated Erin like she was purposely leaving them out. I definitely loved their involvement in the end, but I’m not sure if it makes up for their earlier behavior.

Rachel reminded me of Jenna from The Vampire Diaries (specifically from season one). She was trying so hard to parent but flailing helplessly. Serious question: why are adults never honest with their kids, especially in YA novels? Why do they always think they know best? Why do they always keep secrets? It’s such a tired cliche and it grated on my nerves a bit.

I really loved Victor. Erin needed someone on her side, someone who listened to her and believed her. Rachel tried, but she was a bit clueless. She was also dealing with her own thoughts and feelings and I think she was a bit stuck in the past – for obvious reasons, of course, but I think it clouded her judgement where Erin was concerned. Victor came into the picture just when Erin needed him the most. And then the way his story ended? That thing and the other thing but spoilers but WHOA. I REALLY need there to be a sequel so we can see if Erin’s suspicions are correct!

There are two characters I really want to talk about, but it’s hard to without spoilers. Let’s just say, I was very suspicious of these two characters and I wasn’t surprised when we finally learned the truth in the end.

My favorite thing about this book – and this is going to sound so weird, I don’t even know if it’ll make sense – was the tone. It completely reminded me of a 90s/00s teen novel, and I LOVED IT! It reminded me of an old-school Caroline B. Cooney novel (The Face on the Milk Carton) and of Sara Shepard’s The Lying Game series.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was fun playing detective alongside Erin. The forensics aspects were especially epic. I’m a huge, huge forensics buff, so this was definitely my favorite part! I really hope there’s a sequel because that ending was crazy and I NEED ANSWERS! So yeah, I definitely recommend this one to fans of Veronica Mars, CSI, NCIS – Basically, if you’re a fan of ANY of the crime/forensics procedurals, I think you’ll really love this one!


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