From the Publisher
"With her newest book, Julie Kramer's reputation and following ought to soar. This wonderfully sardonic look at murder is not only surprisingly poignant, but a flat-out tour de force of harrowing twists and turns."
—New York Times bestselling author William Kent Krueger
"Julie Kramer has one of the best new series in crime fictions....You'll be turning the pages all night." New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline
"Snappy repartee, tauntingly written, drum tight in its execution."
—New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry
"Julie Kramer's Killing Kate offers everything a novel should—a most engaging protagonist, page-turning thrills, plot twists, and a host of characters that jump off the page. I loved it!"
—New York Times bestselling author Heather Graham
“Kramer tells the tale from both Riley's and the killer's points of view, and this strategy . . . keeps the pages turning. . . . Kramer gives readers a strong sense of a reporter's daily routine, drawing in details of other news stories and Riley's personal life to add texture to the novel." - Booklist
"Best-selling author Kramer surpasses her previous three Riley Spartz titles with this feverishly suspenseful, nail-biting thriller with a gutsy heroine." - Library Journal
“The fourth Riley Spartz mystery by Minnesota author Julie Kramer is her best yet...The writing is so crisp, it will keep readers turning the pages. TV reporter-investigative journalist Spartz is at her feistiest, the dialogue is at its sharpest and the main plot is chillingly suspenseful. There's plenty of action and a jaw-dropping penultimate scene that sets up the potential for another book in the series.” —Associated Press
In Kramer's so-so fourth novel featuring spunky Minneapolis TV reporter Riley Spartz (after Silencing Sam), Riley helps cover the grisly murder of Kate Warner, the younger sister of a college roommate of Riley's. In a world where stations are forced to degrade long-term news projects into "instant" investigations, and smoothly chitchatting hottie (younger!) anchors usurp experienced (older!) newshounds like Riley, Riley struggles with fallout from a human-interest dog-abuse feature, Kate's secret career as a successful author of erotica, and Channel 3's obsession with Nielsen ratings. In addition, Riley juggles weekend trysts with her long-distance cop beau, Nick Garrett, and pursues a run-of-the-mill psychopath who's targeting her. Kramer, a veteran TV news producer, offers pungent insights into today's TV news and its self-serving minions who'll conveniently bend the truth to keep their jobs, but her tired old plot devices, Styrofoam characters, and predictable romantic angst ("Him for justice; me for news") dwindle into a mélange of unsatisfying news bytes. (July)
Kramer tells the tale from both Riley's and the killer's points of view, and this strategy...keeps the pages turning... Kramer gives readers a strong sense of a reporter's daily routine, drawing in details of other news stories and Riley's personal life to add texture to the novel.
When Minneapolis TV reporter Riley Spartz (Silencing Sam) covers a local murder, she has no idea how close to home the story will strike. Discovering that she knows the victim, Riley unwittingly becomes the next prey for a serial killer targeting women across the Midwest. She also becomes immersed in an animal-neglect story that threatens her professionalism and more. When Riley's murder investigation reveals connections to the legendary Black Angel monument in an Iowa cemetery, will it help identify the killer or lead to her own demise? Will the animal-neglect story come back to haunt her? Riley walks a thin line between good reporting and jeopardizing her own life. VERDICT Best-selling author Kramer surpasses her previous three Riley Spartz titles with this feverishly suspenseful, nail-biting thriller with a gutsy heroine. [See Prepub Alert, 12/20/10.]—Mary Todd Chesnut, Northern Kentucky Univ. Lib., Highland Heights
Having survived her role as murder suspect (Silencing Sam,2010, etc.), Minneapolis TV news reporter Riley Spartz auditions for the role of prospective victim.
The faceless killer prowling the Midwest had been concentrating on waitresses until he met Kate Warner, a girl next door with a secret life as a pseudonymous author of erotica. Bashing Kate to death with his favorite weapon, a broken baseball bat, would seem to guarantee wall-to-wall coverage, but not on Channel 3, where news director Noreen Banks is more interested in the heartrending tale of Buddy, a dog who died after being left in an overheated car by Keith Avise, his nasty owner. Or part-owner, since Keith's ex Barbara soon turns up with the papers establishing her joint custody of Buddy, fanning the flames of yesterday's news still further. Meanwhile, Kate's killer, now identified as legal assistant Karl Dolezal, has communed with one of his many dead homicidal relatives ("his family tree became his destiny") and received authorization to target Riley, who mistakes the stalker for her guardian angel when he rescues her from an egg-hurling Keith Avise. There's no real hope that Dolezal's crazy compulsion will doom Riley, but it's nice to see a final scene in which several of her obnoxious colleagues at Channel 3 are mowed down, presumably to clear the way for more congenial replacements.
The mad killer is constantly, and realistically, upstaged by a graver threat from Noreen: "My job is on the line. Which means your job is on the line."
Read an Excerpt
The night began with a teenage dare. She followed reluctantly as he led her by the hand to the shadow of the Black Angel.
A full moon gave them less privacy than she would have liked. Her back now against the horizontal concrete slab, she waited for him to lay his body across hers. Her lips prayed for the encounter to be quick because out of the corner of her eye a raven watched them intently from atop a gravestone.
Unlike most cemetery angels, whose heads and wings lift upward toward heaven, this statue’s face and wings bent downward over the grave it guarded—as if pointing straight to hell. And while angel sculptures are traditionally a golden bronze or white marble, this one’s hue was black. Besides the figure’s sinister posture and color, its stony eyes seemed to stare into hers as if issuing a personal condemnation.
Her feeling of doom was so strong, the girl struggled to move away. But he held her down, pushed her dress up to her waist, and there, at the hem of the Black Angel, they sinned.
The writer paused over the keyboard and reread the scene. Then with a smile, added sensory and sensual details about places the boy was hard and the girl was soft, and how their throaty moans were the only sound of life amid the dark tombstones. A final tweak when the female character closed her eyes tight to shut out the angel’s glare completed the carnal passage.
© 2011 Julie Kramer