Book Title:
To Catch a Killer
Book Author:
Sheryl Scarborough
Publishing Date:
February 7th, 2017
Tor Teen
Date Read:
February 3rd, 2017
I received a copy from the publisher - Thank you!


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.

My Review

Every now and again, I love reading a mystery/thriller much like this one.  They tend to be full of tense, edge of your seat action, and honestly make you guess at what’s going on throughout the novel, leading up to this spectacular twist of a conclusion that you never see coming.  I read so many thrillers throughout the year, and I can’t resist a new one when I see it.

To Catch a Killer was on my list of must read books the second I heard about it, and I was so lucky to get a copy from Tor Teen for review (thank you!).  When I sat down with this book, I didn’t even bother to pace myself while reading it (I like to draw out my reading time sometimes when I read thrillers, because it helps build suspense) – I kind of just started the book and then got lost in it.  I read half of it before going to sleep one night, and then finished it as soon as I woke up.  It was such a fun book – fast paced and full of clues and all kinds of plot twists that I just couldn’t wait to discover.

“I didn’t just think about my mother’s killer, I obsessed over him.  Is he tall?  Short?  Mean?  Nice?  Old?  Young?  He could be any man walking down the street.”

Erin Blake is a common household name.  When she was young, her mother was killed, and she was locked in the house, alone with her mother, until she was found.  Unfortunately, they never caught her mother’s killer.  Because of this, Erin is known by everyone, and people immediately think of the tragedy that she suffered when she was young as soon as they meet her.

Living with her mother’s best friend, Rachel, Erin has grown up without a father and knowing only the basics about her mother – Rachel doesn’t like to talk about her mother, and Erin has no other family.  But she does have her best friends – Lysa and Spam – and together the three of them do and talk about everything together.

However, when Erin is at her teacher’s house one night, she comes upon an unfortunate encounter – her teacher has been murdered, and Erin is the one to discover her body.  The only other person at the scene is a basketball player at school, Journey.

“Now come the questions, hard and fast.  They’ll expect me to have answers.  But all I have are more questions.
Beginning with, who killed Miss P?”

Miss P was Erin’s favorite teacher – a teacher who was helping her to uncover some information that she didn’t feel anyone else would help her with.  However, now Miss P is gone, and Erin is one of the suspects of her murder, along with Journey.  At first, when Journey sees Erin after that night, he’s none too happy – after all, Erin pretty much told the police he was there, and now everyone things Journey killed her.  But did he?

Eventually, Erin confronts Journey, learning his side of the story.  Much to their dismay, when Erin and Journey decide to team up, Erin’s friends Spam and Lysa aren’t too happy – they feel as if Erin is making rash decisions, especially due to the fact that Erin has had a crush on Journey for years.

As more and more things pop up, including encounters that almost leave Erin dead, she has to try to put the pieces together and find out who the real killer is, and quickly, before the next time when she might not be too lucky.

This book was a really great thriller, and although crime thrillers aren’t typically my thing, I think this book may have changed my mind about feeling that way.  It had me trying to piece together the things that were going on to figure out who the killer was.

Unfortunately, there were a lot of hints, and I guessed at who it was quite early in the novel – if you pay careful attention, you might be able to guess as well, but if you don’t read into things as much as I tend to, then you might be in the dark.  While I knew exactly who the killer was before I even reached the middle of the book, I still found this to be quite the enjoyable read, and I loved watching Erin, Journey, Spam, and Lysa try to gather evidence and solve the murder the best they could.

While I liked Erin’s character and I thought that her sassy yet smart attitude brought a lot to this book, there was one instance where I found her a little unsettled.  Erin spends a lot of time up in her attic, where she has some things that were her mother’s – and at one point in the book, her friends discover a chalk outline on the floor – something that made them all a little uneasy.  The weird part was, after that section in the book, the outline isn’t talked about again, and during that chapter, Erin’s character seemed a little bit off from the rest of the book, but then she was fine.  It’s hard to explain without giving too much away and ruining the story, but I thought that was kind of…strange.  It just seemed out of place and made Erin seem unreliable.  But then again, she has dealt with a lot in her life, including the death of her mother and not knowing the identity of her father, so of course she’s going to be grieving in different ways.

This was definitely a well rounded book – with the whole murder investigation going on, there is still time for Spam, Lysa, and Erin to spend time together, and we learn about some neat things that they have going on, such as Cheater Check, a service they provide to the girls at school where they investigate their boyfriends (and the hair or lipstick on their clothes) to make sure they’re faithful.  It’s interesting, and really nice to see a main character (and supporting characters) that have plenty of talent and skills that allow them to do this sort of thing.  I love strong and driven characters in books, and this one definitely has them.

I loved the ending of this book, too.  It all gets wrapped up neatly, so there’s no loose ends hanging around.  There’s closure (subtle closure, maybe, but still closure), and I loved that.  It made the story feel complete.

4 stars
This entry was posted in Contemporary, Mystery, Reviews, Thrillers, Young Adult and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to To Catch a Killer by Sheryl Scarborough

  1. Brittany says:

    I’m not a big reader of thriller or crime novels, especially if you can guess who the killer is halfway through the book. However, since you did really enjoy this one, I’ll check it out on Goodreads 🙂 Fantastic review!

    Brittany @ Brittany’s Book Rambles

    • Kelly says:

      Thanks! I’m not a big reader of crime novels either, but I thought this one was really good. While it was easy to guess who the killer was, it was still good, even if it wasn’t as shocking as I had hoped it would be!

  2. This sounds fantastic! I love when a book can change your mind about a genre. I’ve had this one on my TBR since I came across it last October and now I’m really eager to read it thanks to your review. I’m not worried too much about knowing who the killer is as I usually end up guessing, but the ride can be really fun despite this. Great review!

    • Kelly says:

      Thanks so much! You definitely got it spot on when you said the ride can be fun despite figuring it out! It was such a great read – definitely an edge-of-your seat thriller and was paced perfectly so there wasn’t a boring chapter in the book! I can’t wait to see your thoughts on this when you read it – I hope you enjoy it, too!

  3. Raven says:

    I like YA thrillers so I’ll definitely check this out! Great Review! 😀
    Raven recently posted…When Ash Rains Down (Kingdom Come #1) By Cecelia Earl [Review]My Profile

  4. I am so thrilled to see that you enjoyed this one! I have been so excited about it and it does seem like it would be a book that would be hard to put down. Mysteries are one of my favourite genres and I think that I will have to read this one ASAP. 🙂
    Olivia @ The Candid Cover recently posted…Tidbit Tuesday #6: To Catch a Killer by Sheryl Scarborough Blitz & GiveawayMy Profile

    • Kelly says:

      If you love mysteries this is definitely one you shouldn’t miss out on! It was such fun trying to piece together all the clues and more than once I found myself yelling at the book (much like people do with TV shows) about how the characters should check out this or do this. I hope you enjoy it!

  5. Kennedy says:

    I read this book because of this artical, and it is definitly one of my all time favorites!!

  6. Pingback: Blog Tour: To Right the Wrongs by Sheryl Scarborough – Review, Excerpt, and Giveaway! | Here's to Happy Endings

  7. Soumil says:

    Hi, I read this book and I am using it for my summer homework. Does anybody know what the theme or moral is of the book? Thanks.

  8. jayden says:

    Its a mystery book

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge