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Missing Mark Hardcover – July 14, 2009

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4 Stars and Up Feature: Kitchens of the Great Midwest
"Foodies and those who love contemporary literature will devour this novel that is being compared to Elizabeth Strout's Olive Kitteridge. A standout." --Library Journal Learn more

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A for-sale ad for a never worn wedding dress sparks Minneapolis TV reporter Riley Spartz to chase an intriguing story in Kramer's slick sequel to 2008's Stalking Susan. Wealthy Madeleine Post's comedian fiancé, Mark Lefevre, didn't show up for their lavish White Bear Lake wedding and hasn't been seen since. Is Mark, who looks like Groucho Marx, a runaway groom or a crime victim? A few days after Riley interviews Mark's mother, Jean, the mother apparently shoots herself in the head, though the suicide note found at the scene is, oddly, in Mark's handwriting. Riley's discovery of Madeleine's rare disease—prosopagnosia (the inability to recognize faces), which also afflicts Madeleine's mother—adds a neat twist. Meanwhile, Riley is also under pressure to pursue a big story about the theft of Big Mouth Billy Bass, the Minnesota record largemouth bass, from a mall aquarium. Kramer makes the most of a clever, if far-fetched, idea in this fun mystery thriller. (July)
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Praise for Missing Mark

"Smart dialogue and a fleet pace make this second outing in Kramer's fledgling series (after 2008's Stalking Susan) a crowd-pleaser." —People

If you enjoy Sue Grafton's alphabet series with Kinsey Millhone, or Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta books, you will enjoy Missing Mark." —Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Kramer has a winning series here." —Booklist

"Every bit as entertaining as her first [book], and even more intriguing... Kramer fills the book with wonderful characters and a story that never quits. A new star in the mystery skies, Kramer will be one to watch as she gets better with each book." —Crimespree

"The twists and turns keep the adrenaline racing." —Library Journal

"Slick...clever.... a fun mystery thriller." —Publishers Weekly

“A fast pace, a smart heroine, and fresh voice. Julie Kramer has what it takes to keep readers turning pages.” —Tami Hoag

Praise for Stalking Susan

“Riley Spartz is a classic spunky investigator. She'll have readers cheering for her gutsy determination to stop the killings—and boost her ratings.” —USA TODAY

"Truly scary, no matter what your name is." —People

"Dazzling debut...Readers who enjoy novels by authors like Janet Evanovich will soon be stalking Julie Kramer—on the bookstore shelves, that is."  —Chicago Tribune

“Kramer writes with heart and pizzazz. Her past as a TV producer lends authority to an entertaining story. ” —Kirkus

“Impressive debut thriller . . . readers will look forward to seeing a lot more of the appealing Riley.” —PW starred review

"Stalking Susan is a fantastic debut. Julie Kramer has crafted a thriller that will get your heart racing." —Vince Flynn

"Julie Kramer knows both the TV newsroom and the art of telling a rocking good story. Stalking Susan is chilling, twisty, and clever." —Kathy Reichs

"Tough, edgy, filled with sharply drawn characters from the world of television news, Stalking Susan grips you from the beginning with its fast, compelling action, its mystery and, not least, with its intriguing heroine.” —John Sandford

"Julie Kramer has written a serial-killer novel I found too scary to read after dark, too poignant to read without crying, and too gripping to put down. I was also glad my name isn’t Susan. A dashing debut with wit, pace, depth of character, and a fascinating look inside the world of television news." —Harley Jane Kozak

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; First Edition edition (July 14, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385524773
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385524773
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #690,012 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Julie Kramer is a freelance network television producer. Prior to that she was a national award-winning investigative producer for WCCO-TV in Minneapolis.

Julie grew up along the Minnesota-Iowa state line, fourth generation of a family who raised cattle and farmed corn for 130 years. Her favorite childhood days were spent waiting for the bookmobile to bring her another Phyllis A. Whitney novel.She now writes thrillers set in the desperate world of television news.

Her upcoming novel, SHUNNING SARAH, centers on homicide amid a clash of cultures: flashy TV news and the reclusive Amish.

Her debut STALKING SUSAN, won the Minnesota Book Award and the RT Reviewers Choice Award for Best First Mystery. It was also a finalist for the Mary Higgins Clark, Anthony, Barry, and Shamus Awards.

Her second book, MISSING MARK, was a finalist for the Daphne du Maurier Award for excellence in mystery/suspense.

Library Journal described her third book, SILENCING SAM, as her best yet, calling it "Riveting" in a starred review.

Kramer lives with her family in White Bear Lake, MN.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Susan Tunis TOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Julie Kramer's debut novel, Stalking Susan, involved Minnesota investigative journalist Riley Spartz pursuing a serial killer of women named Susan. Some marketing genius at Doubleday thought it would be a good idea to send a galley to every Susan on their mailing list. He must have been right; I couldn't resist reading it. And I found it to be an exceptionally entertaining debut.

In Missing Mark, Kramer is sticking with what works--namely an appealing protagonist and a strong supporting cast. Aside from her considerable mystery solving abilities, Riley is a constant font of info on the TV news biz, and I, for one, find it as fascinating as the cases she investigates. Likewise, the series' supporting characters are uniformly interesting without being too quirky to be real.

Good news, the entire gang is back this time around, including some characters I didn't necessarily expect to see again. The plot of this second novel involves a missing persons case. Specifically, it's Mark, a bridegroom who fails to show on his wedding day--or in the several months that have passed since. Riley's cases are never simple, and this investigation quickly grows convoluted, with any number of possible explanations, suspects, and motives. However, Riley's boss thinks a missing bigmouth bass will garner higher ratings for sweeps. She may be right.

Two-thirds of the way through, I figured out who-done-it and why. I have no idea where that intuitive leap came from, but it was no fault of Kramer's plotting, which is tight and well-paced.

I don't have a lot of time for mystery series, but I'm going to stick with Riley & Co. (For readers intrigued by this book, I'd suggest backing up and reading Stalking Susan first. Lucky you, it's just been released in paperback.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Gail Rodgers VINE VOICE on June 29, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The second in a series featuring Riley Spartz, Missing Mark, was a well written mystery. I wished while reading the book that I had been able to read the first book in the series as I am one that likes to read a series in order, but enough information was given throughout the book, that you weren't left floundering wondering about Riley's background. Riley is an investigative TV reporter and upon seeing an ad in the newspaper for a wedding dress for sale that had never been worn, felt that there was a story somewhere in that little ad. Learning that the groom hadn't shown up at the wedding 6 months before, sets Riley off on a hunt to find him. Is he missing or dead? No one really knows and other than his mother and jilted bride, no one seems to care. What people do care about is that an extra large bass was stolen from an aquarium at the Mall of America. This is the story Riley's boss wants her to focus in on.

A story of love and betrayal, murder and mayhem, drug sniffing dogs and rare medical conditions are all woven together into an interesting yet easy read. If you like cozy mysteries where the `bad guy' gets what is coming to them, you should enjoy this book. I'm looking forward to more books in this series and hope the author can maintain and grow Riley as the main character.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ladyslott VINE VOICE on July 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Second book to feature Riley Spartz, Stalking Susan is the first.

I like Riley Spartz, the investigative reporter for Channel 3 news in Minnesota. I enjoyed Stalking Susan and was looking forward to Missing Mark. Although I liked the book well enough there were some things here that really missed the mark - so to speak.

First and foremost there is an opening scene where a man is found murdered in a house that Riley wants to buy - skip to chapter 2, the murder never comes up again. It just seemed that Riley would investigate this crime, or mention it again, but the next topic for her investigation is the story behind an ad for a never worn wedding dress. It seemed an odd choice for the gutsy Riley. Secondly the `mystery' of the missing bridegroom wasn't all that interesting or challenging, I had it figured out in about 10 pages. There are two more subplots, one involving a fish stolen from an aquarium and a neighbor who has constant garage sales. The first one was kind of lame and led to a very improbable coincidence near the end of the book and the second one was so obvious that the fact it takes Riley half the book to figure out was a little out of place since she is supposed to be a seasoned investigative reporter.

What saves the book from a little lower rating is the easy reading style and the character of Riley, who is someone you might want to be friends with, and her relationship with retired detective Nick Garnett looks promising. The supporting characters are fun, but in danger of becoming clichéd if there isn't any growth, but there is potential for that as revealed in the epilogue, a plot device which I am not too fond of.

Overall a light and breezy mystery series, good for a lazy day read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Neal Reynolds VINE VOICE on July 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is fun, but definitely not to be taken very seriously. That is not except for the insights into TV newscasting. These insights especially make the book worth your reading. The earlier part of the book is somewhat scattered as it follows both a missing person and a missing fish investigation, but the latter portion zeroes in on the mystery with enjoyable twists. This is just plain a good book for the beach or wherever you hangout during hot weather. I missed the first book in the series, but this one has me out to get that one.
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