“To Catch a Killer” by Sheryl Scarborough
Tor Teen, 320 pages, $17.99, Feb. 2017, Goodreads
Erin Blake’s reputation precedes her all due to the fact that she survived for three days next to her mother’s corpse after she was brutally murdered. Now fourteen years after the incident Erin still has no idea who her father is, or anything about her mother for that matter. But when her biology teacher is murdered in the same fashion as Erin’s mother and Erin is the one who finds her body she can’t help but ask if it’s a coincidence or purposeful.
So full disclaimer before I start my review: I normally don’t read YA mystery, but because of this book I am now a life-long fan of Sheryl Scarborough. One of the things that made this book readable for me was the pacing. I find mysteries to either be too slow or too fast, but Scarborough’s way of telling the narrative of Erin Blake was perfect. I got all the information I needed when I needed it and was never left wanting.
Building off of that this allowed for the characters to open up and become whole throughout the text in a way that felt organic and natural. Nothing seemed forced, and because of that the conclusion at the end of the book made perfect sense to me.
Now I was able to figure out who-dun-it before the end of the book, but it wasn’t because the mystery was too easy. In fact, I believe it was because Scarborough understands that, as readers, we are also partaking in the solving of the mystery, so she leaves us clues in the text so that we can follow along and conduct our own investigation.
Another thing I really enjoyed about this book was the explanation of the forensic methods used to investigate the crime. Before reading this book I had a small basket of knowledge about forensics used in criminal investigation that I acquired in a chemistry class in college, however; some of the things that Erin does to hone in on her suspect I wasn’t fully aware of how they were done. So, it was nice that that was explained to me.
The only thing that I didn’t like about this book was that it ended. I’m not sure if this is a stand-alone or if it will morph into a series, but I really hope its the latter because I’d like to see where Erin and her family and friends go from here.
Sheryl Scarborough can be found on Goodreads, on Twitter at @scarbo_author and on Instagram at @scarbo_author.