Monday, July 20, 2009

Book Review by Deanna Lepsch: Stalking Susan by Julie Kramer

I needed to do a little genre research on mysteries/suspense novels for my current writing project which is why I picked up Stalking Susan. My reasons for buying it are two-fold. I was attracted to the title immediately because I am fascinated with stalkers and as many of my friends, writing peers and family know, I tend to write Stalker fiction. My second reason--the book is set in Minneapolis, MN, where I currently make my home.

Riley Spatz, reporter for WCCO t.v. station in Minneapolis, receives a tip--2 cases show striking similarities. The most notable similarity is the shared first name of both victims and their murder date--exactly one year apart. Riley uses her on-air resources to attempt to lure the killer into revealing himself.

This is a unique perspective on the detective novel, using a reporter, though I imagine it reads in a similar fashion. I'm not overly familiar with the beats of an investigative mystery novel nor am I familiar with the conventions of the genre in general. I have a feeling that the pacing of the novel is very much part of mystery genre writing. I found it s bit choppy in places and the over explanation of the television business brought me out of the story on occasion.

That said, I did enjoy the book. The premise was interesting and, even though her killer was a little obvious, the why of his spree was equally interesting to the premise. Her next book Missing Mark is out in hard cover and this story sounds even more promising than her first.

I took from it a few lessons--don't over describe your industry, whatever it is, and impose setting without too much name dropping. Can you truly make your setting feel legitimate in your contemporary city without name dropping? Not sure, but since my novel also takes place in Minneapolis, I'm bound to find out.

I give this book my stamp of approval. Note: the book has all the awkward moments and over explaining of many first novels. I enjoyed the read and will look for her future novels.

Check out Julie Kramer's website here:

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