To Catch a Killer by Sheryl Scarborough
Release Date: 7 February, 2017
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.
The first 80 pages was released on NetGalley as a ‘read now’ preview, and as I trust the publisher and it’s already rating well on Goodreads, I was all in. So far, I haven’t regretted it – this book has kept me hooked. Written in the first person we immediately get a feel for Erin and the type of girl she is, always known by the public because of what happened to her before as a toddler, and, unfortunately, now, after the death of her favourite teacher. We meet her two friends, Spam and Lysa, and together the three give a slight Veronica Mars vibe as they try to solve small high school style crimes, such as cheating partners. And, on the side, Erin is trying to track down her mother’s killer who was never caught.
Journey Michaels is a better YA-crush than most, in that he’s a bit unpredictable, knows he is popular, and isn’t the broody type. He listens to Erin’s side of things and acts quite like you’d expect a young suspect to, especially when we find out his own history. I found that the author caught the voices of teens really quite well, but was perhaps a little heavy on the teacher quirks (though I’d prefer that over getting the teachers wrong in a different way), and I’d expect that this is cleared up a little later in the book, which means I’ll certainly be looking out for this book when it comes out in February – I need to know so much more about everything!