To Catch A Killer by Sheryl Scarborough | Review

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Rating: ★★★☆☆

Trigger Warnings: murder, PTSD, attempted murder

Release Date: Feburary 7th, 2017

Pages: 320

Publisher: Tor Teen

Goodreads Review: here

Goodreads blurb:

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.


Here’s the thing, I’m super into mystery/crime stuff. Always have been and always will be. My mum has a fascination with serial killers and only reads mystery/thriller novels. My sister when she reads only reads crime novels. I read a large variety of novels but I love crime fiction. Like, wow. I’m currently obsessed with the YouTube channel CrimeDaily that displays evidence of crimes. I’m severely interested in the twisted mentality it would take to murder someone.

Why did I just ramble about that? Well, the description for this book includes Elizabeth Smart who just happens to be a reporter on the CrimeDaily channel. Obviously, that allures to me. However, I wasn’t sure if How To Catch a Killer would be for me because I’m actually pretty sure I tried to read it some time ago and didn’t enjoy it? Nonetheless, I gave it a go and I finished it.

Ultimately, I wasn’t impressed. There was nothing that really made this book stand out. I say this because it was a typical ‘a teenage girl is smarter than the adults’ kind of book. Which is never really a good thing to represent in fiction because if there is a problem you should go to an adult.

I just really didn’t enjoy a lot of this book, to be honest. I didn’t feel the chemistry between the characters and the plot most certainly did not captivate me. Some parts really interested me but by the second chapter I had my guess who had done the crime and they had indeed done it, basically for the exact motive I had come up with too.


A lot of this book was just strange to me. I felt so much of it was unnecessary and ultimately led to wasted time. I did enjoy the forensics side of the book, the author really made sure to include the detail that gave that particular element further depth in my opinion.


The plot forHow To Catch A Killer is pretty simple. Erin lived after her mother was horrifically murdered. Erin was two at the time and had survived for three days until someone came to check up on them. Erin doesn’t exactly carry feelings for this particular event. She never really seems to know how to feel about it herself. Then another tragedy strikes her life, she stumbles upon the body of her science teacher.

I really couldn’t become absorbed in this book. I don’t know why. I really didn’t like the focus on the relationship that formed; it was hard-core insta-love (I mean what boy wants to date a girl who has basically the whole town thinking he killed his science teacher?). I really couldn’t get on board that. Love over the death of someone kind of seems icky to me. But, hey, whatever floats your boat, friends.

Then there was the fact that Erin was smarter than everyone. Her friends were also, which honestly seems so ridiculous. It was a bunch of 17 (?) year olds and they could somehow work out a crime that the FBI and police had no idea about. Yeah, sure, I believe that. Not only was the actual killer super weird but also it was super obvious. I mean, wow. The motive was clear as well.


I had a big rant planned for the characters. Honestly, I had dot points and everything to scream and rave about both Journey (the love interest) and Erin. However, about a sentence through I got tired even remembering this book and had to take a nap. I think that speaks volumes about my opinions on these characters more than anything, if you ask me. I truly believe that they could have been better developed, almost everyone felt like they were one dimensional and Erin truly only cared for herself and had great fun disregarding her friends when someone could benefit her more.


Overall, I wanted more Stalking Jack The Ripper vibes and mystery that is not whatHow To Catch A Killer is. It is a bunch of teenagers doing whatever they want and ignoring both professionals and guardians. Thankfully the writing style was fast and I finished this book in a day.

Happy reading everyone!

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