Review: To Catch a Killer by Sheryl Scarborough

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Title: To Catch a Killer
Author: Sheryl Scarborough
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication Date: February 7, 2017
Stars: 4.5/5

Summary (from Goodreads): 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.

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It’s been a while since I’ve read a thriller, but when I first saw To Catch a Killer, I knew I had to pick it up. This is a fast-paced mystery about a young girl who attempts to solve two murders that are connected. I absolutely adored the use of forensics to crack the case and the main character’s intelligence. I really enjoyed this story and would recommend it, even to those who aren’t big mystery fans.

This book is an action-packed mystery about a girl trying to find the person who killed both her mother and her teacher. I enjoyed the main character’s approach and her group of friends who are able to assist her in solving the murders. There are many diversions and different suspects to keep the reader guessing, even if I did find the ending to be pretty predictable. The novel has everything I hope for in a thriller, and fans of the mystery genre will definitely adore this book as well.

One of the aspects I found to be the most interesting in this story is the use of forensics. I have never seen this before in YA and after reading this, I would love to see more. It is clear that the author really knows her stuff since the techniques that the characters use are described in a way that is so easy to understand. The fact that the main character hunts for evidence to analyze instead of just running around town looking for some sort of vague clue made me enjoy the story so much more. Forensic science has always intrigued me, which is probably why I loved To Catch a Killer so much.

I really enjoyed the main character, Erin. She is so resourceful and uses the tips in her uncle’s book to teach herself how to analyze DNA. Erin has such a captivating voice, and her cleverness makes her so likeable. She also has a very complex backstory which makes her such a developed character. Erin has her moments and makes some questionable decisions, but she is still an engaging character overall.

To Catch a Killer is an epic cliffhanger that features the use of forensics to solve two linked murders. The main character is so likeable and very talented. This story is a perfect mystery, even if it does end on a bit of a cliffhanger.

6 thoughts on “Review: To Catch a Killer by Sheryl Scarborough

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