Killing Kate

Killing Kate

by Julie Kramer

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Not all angels are divine…

As TV reporter Riley Spartz discovers a serial killer drawing chalk outlines shaped like angels around the bodies of his victims, she unearths an eerie legend dating back nearly a century. Tracking clues to an Iowa cemetery, Riley finds an infamous Black Angel monument that may be connected to the string of homicides throughout the Midwest. Now she is up against a delusional young man who believes the statue is urging him to kill.

The local police are convinced the killer has left their territory and Riley's boss is convinced viewers are tired of hearing about so much crime, but a personal connection with the latest victim, Kate Warner, makes Riley determined to solve the case.

Riley also gets the scoop on a dog left locked in a hot car. Her pet-loving news director is crazy about this story, but the dog owner goes crazy, too. Is he now stalking Riley? Or has the angel-killer put Channel 3's top investigator on his hit list? Yearning for love and ratings, it's unsure whether Riley will find either before the killer finds her.

When she meets a mysterious stranger, Riley must decide whether he is her guardian angel or an angel of death. The answer doesn't come until a graveyard confrontation where the dead are the only witnesses.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781439178027
Publisher: Pocket Star
Publication date: 04/24/2012
Series: Riley Spartz Series
Pages: 448
Product dimensions: 4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Julie Kramer is a journalist turned novelist. She writes a series of thrillers set in the desperate world of TV news. Julie has won the Daphne du Maurier Award for Mainstream Mystery/Suspense, RT Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best First Mystery as well as the Minnesota Book Award. Her work has also been nominated for the Anthony, Barry, Shamus, Mary Higgins Clark, and RT Best Amateur Sleuth Awards. She formerly ran WCCO-TV’s investigative unit before becoming a freelance network news producer for NBC and CBS. She lives with her family in White Bear Lake, Minnesota.

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

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Killing Kate 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
tste More than 1 year ago
Every genre has its sub-categories, and mysteries are no different. The brilliance of Julie Kramer's books is they successfully bridge the gap between two of my favorites styles. Keeping it all Minnesota, you have the gritty police procedural that can be quite dark (think John Sandford's Prey books), and you can also have the light and often humorous cozies (Think Joanne Fluke's Bakery books). Riley Spartz is an imperfect investigator who seems to blunder through life on a wing and a prayer, slowly and congenially unraveling the mysteries that come her way. But at the same time this book isn't all relationships and fun, she is often presented with some pretty bad criminals and a series of terrible crimes; crimes that don't come with a cookie recipe (but don't get me wrong, you should never join Hannah Swenson on an investigation if you are on a diet - they are damn good recipes). Riley finds herself thwarted from the story she wants only to be thrust into the story that needs her. Through a careful piecing together of the clues she is slowly able to put together a story that encompasses far more than she originally bargained for. The scene is set through southern Minnesota and Northern Iowa, including Iowa City landmark The Black Angel. The landmark is so descriptive Lisa has committed us to visiting it on our next trip visiting our parents. Though when pressed she insisted we will not be making out in the moonlight, regardless of the authenticity of the experience. So if you want a fun mystery with a likable lead character investigating some pretty serious crime then Julie Kramer's Riley Spartz is definitely for you. The books are well written and quickly paced (Lisa and I received our copy on a Thursday and were both through it by Saturday - and that was with me hiding it from her while at work Friday). One of the best aspects of the books is also what made 24 great, a commitment to story over character. For example, you pretty much knew from the moment Nina shot Teri in season one that no character except for Jack Bauer was safe (and even then I could have seen them killing him off if the plot demanded it). It is that tension that keeps the fun from diluting the mystery in Kramer's work; Who can we trust? Who can we rely on? Killing Kate will keep you guessing until the end and then keep you anxiously awaiting book 5. Speaking of book 5 - Tempting Ted, Finding Frank, Watching Wendy? Where I got the book: The author very kindly sent us an advance copy for review (but Lisa and I also attended her book signing and bought our own hard copy to keep).
TessTN More than 1 year ago
Killing Kate is my new favorite in Julie Kramer's Riley Spartz series. I have read all of her fourbooks. The writing is very crisp dialogue that keeps the storyline moving. I like the fact that Kramer doesn't focus a lot in the way of sex and blood and guts scences. The storyline supports the plot. Killing Kate is darker than her other series, and written besides from Riley's point of view we are taken into the killer's mind. It really gets you involved in the story and trying to guess where the killer will make a mistake. I like having my favorite characters back, especially Riley's parents and her paster, Fr. Mountain. There is always some comic relief to bring to the storyline. The mixture of some true happenings in the storyline keeps it very intriuing, sometimes thinking this is all true. This book would be appropiate for high schoolers through adult. We like the Minnesota angle and my daughter and some friends have used Kramer's book for school book reports. This would make a good book club discussion also; do you think we have gardian angels looking after us?
MurderMysteryMayhem on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Riley Spartz, the feisty Minneapolis-based television reporter gets herself on a serial killer's hit list when she recognizes the address of a homicide coming across the assignment desk and volunteers to cover the crime. It's not just the address that's familiar, the victim ends up being the sister of a college roommate and Riley finds herself with unprecedented access to the crime scene, a reporter's dream. Or is it?An awkward past with the victim's sister, a less than stellar history with the police, and a boss who has recently, and emphatically, banned Riley from reporting homicide stories doesn't make this quite the perfect assignment. And it only gets worse when Riley uncovers the victim's secret past and almost single-handedly takes the station down in the Nielsen ratings while making herself a target. A fast, breezy, cynical look at the cut-throat world of TV News, Killing Kate is a mystery in quick sound bytes. Enough to keep you tuned in, but not quite enough to keep you riveted.
suetu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
K is for Kate who was struck with an axeThe headline above is an old Edward Gorey quote that I couldn't resist using. No, the eponymous Kate of Julie Kramer's fourth Riley Spartz mystery was actually bludgeoned with a baseball bat. So close. Kate's death basically opens the novel, and straight off the reader learns that she is the fourth victim of a serial killer. The authorities are not yet aware of this fact. Local news reporter Riley has been lying off the violent crimes lately, since she had been making more news than covering it. But hearing the familiar address of this homicide, she grabs it before anyone can object. And her memory is correct. The crime happened at a house she once knew well. It was the home of her former college roommate, Laura, and the victim is Laura's younger sister, Kate. Kramer has the mechanics of creating suspense down pat. She keeps readers turning pages, ending chapters with lines like: "I didn't know yet that Kate had led a secret life, and that her secret did not die with her." Riley and Laura, once the closest of friends, had split in a rift more than a decade ago. But this tragedy paves the way to an uneasy reconciliation. Investigative reporter that she is, Riley, of course, becomes far too involved in the hunt for this killer. As always, there's a "b" story in the novel involving an animal story her crazy news director wants her to cover. And the third narrative thread is Riley's long distance relationship with Nick Garnett. I have outlined several things I like about this series in past reviews. I find Riley to be an immensely likable character with a distinctive voice. Reading each novel feels like visiting with an old friend. Also, I love the television news setting. I feel like I'm getting the inside scoop with each novel, and given the author's background, I guess I am. I can't watch a promo for the 11:00pm news with the same eyes after reading one of these books. It's fascinating! Plus, I like that while being fairly realistic, the novels aren't unnecessarily graphic. In other words, there's not too much sex and violence graphically depicted--which isn't to say there's none, but it's left more to the imagination. One thing that was bugging me a little in this book was the relationship between Riley and Nick. There's always conflict between them, and conflict is what makes a great novel. But their relationship dynamics seemed a bit too simplistic and surface level. I guess four novels in, I'd hope for a little more depth there. But Kramer must be doing something right, because I'm always rooting for the two of them. I don't know that I'd describe Killing Kate as a cozy mystery, but it's not entirely dissimilar. I bring this up, because while the mystery itself should not be predictable, there's a certain tone to these stories that is. Therefore, I have to tell you that the end of this novel shocked the hell out of me. And I LOVED it. Surprises are good. I have NO idea where this series is going next, but I will be the first in line to find out! Way to go, Julie Kramer!
ethel55 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Riley Spartz seems a little beleaguered in this story. This investigative reporter winds up on You Tube when an on air breakdown goes viral! The main mystery which involves a serial killer with an angelic habit is a good one, I like it when Kramer moves the action in and out of the newsroom. However, I missed some of the repartee (and movie quotes) between Riley and her boyfriend Nick Garnett, as he spends part of the book out East for his job. Kramer's Spartz books continue to provide very solid mystery entertainment.
StarrReina on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
¿Killing Kate¿ by Julie Kramer:In ¿Killing Kate,¿ Kramer pens a refreshing protagonist, journalist Riley Spartz, who works for Channel 3.While investigating a news report, Spartz finds herself knee-deep in a murder of old roommate¿s sister. She becomes the target of a serial killer whose inspiration stems from an almost century old black angel in an Iowa cemetery. The killer is unbalanced and believes he is pleasing the ¿angel of death¿ with each murder. The man stalks Spartz and at the same time, believes she is after him.A read full of superstition shrouded in mysterious myths that only Kramer can write, creating not only believability in her characters, but making the reader question the validity or existence of guardian angels as well.This is a well-written, very enjoyable novel that Kramer¿s readers have come to expect. I personally recommend ¿Killing Kate¿ as a book that should make your reading list this summer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great writer..great book. I absolutely loved it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
jned More than 1 year ago
The fourth Julie Kramer mystery, Killing Kate, is another winner! The story is told in both Riley's and the killer's voice, which makes for a great read. With humor and suspense, this is one I couldn't put down. Riley has become my favorite heroine. I can't wait to see what she will do next!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've read her first 3 books and this one took it to a different level. She changed up the style to give it a different feel giving us the killers points of view. It also gave a different twist in the end that I didn't see coming. If you liked the other one's you'll really like this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BuzzBland More than 1 year ago
Welcome back Riley Spartz, and the usual cast of characters. Riley is a smart and funny investigative reporter for Channel 3, and she is constantly on the lookout for a story. When the stories find her, it's usually a sign of trouble. We see the world through Riley's eyes, you are right there with her, immersed in the sights and sounds, blood and terror and nail biting scenes, but this book brings Julie Kramer's writing to a whole new level! We experience part of the story through the eyes of a serial killer. It is chilling and intense, and kept the pages turning. The plot twists and turns and when the stories converge and continue it leads to an explosive and jaw dropping ending! Leave your lights on; a serial killer could be the guy next store, or the man you talked to in the grocery line! I sat down for a second read of this breathtaking thriller, as only Julie Kramer can deliver it! This fourth book in the Riley series is another must-read!!
bookhimdanno More than 1 year ago
This is a fast paced book with great pacing, short chapters and memorable characters. Riley is an investigative reporter who is bold and resourceful. Her parents are great, I find myself laughing at their parts in her stories, and I can identify them with other people I know from this area. Her parents are protective and even a bit underhanded at time. I love the fact that she writes about Minnesota and Minnesota nice, even when mixed with murder and Iowa at times. The mystery and murder keep you on your toes wondering whodunit. The small on-going plot weaved into her stories continues, even if it didn't end the way I would have liked it to (actually I doubt if it is over and look forward to more in the next book.) Riley's co-workers are unique individuals that have endearing and not so endearing qualities about them. Her characters feel real and as I read the book I could place many of my friends and acquaintances in their places making the book come to life and more interesting. If you have never read Julie Kramer then start now, you will not be disappointed. Her mysteries are interesting and she uses real places in her stories, place you can visit if you feel so inclined to do. I have to say that I wish she wrote them faster, but then I wouldn't want the quality to drop in the haste. This book is number 4 in the series and it will not disappoint. Go pick it up today.