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Missing Mark Hardcover – July 14, 2009

3.8 out of 5 stars 83 customer reviews
Book 2 of 6 in the Riley Spartz Series

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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)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

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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The Runaway Groom
Read the first chapter of Julie Kramer's Missing Mark [PDF].

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: #2,037,257 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Mass Market Paperback
There were things I loved about this book and others that made me roll my eyes.

What worked:
1.) Diversity! Yea, people of other races exist and are not stereotyped! Characters' ethnicities seamlessly woven into the story without slowing it down or othering. I LOVED that.
2.) Pacing. This story moves at a clip, gives you the tense atmosphere of life as a journalist in hot pursuit of a story.
3.) Riley's feet of clay. She's human, makes mistakes, loves her job and likes animals. Also, she realizes when she's behaving badly. No one cuts her slack or lets her off easy. She's the main character in the story, but not the center of the universe.
4.) Riley is a widow. No spoiler there, happens before the series began. I liked that Riley had a good guy in her life, not the clichéd loser ex-husband.

What generated eyerolls:
1.) The will-they-won't-they with Nick. I get that Riley's gun-shy, but when will authors realize that this is TIRED? It's like listening to your parents argue. Weak source of tension and hardly a cliffhanger.
2.) The pacing. Yes, it worked and didn't work. While I liked the momentum of racing for the news story, the book felt like everyone and everything was being watched from a speeding train. The characters were a blur of Madeleine-Mark-Mrs.LeFever-Mrs. Post-Roderick-others I only got glimpses of. If Kramer worried about bogging down the pace, she could have nixed the bass-fishing competition, the neighbor sub-plot, and about 85% of the newsstation jargon. Back to the train analogy, the bass-neighbor-jargon felt like the train slowed down to show us a telephone pole, then sped past the stuff I actually wanted to see.
3.) Riley overall. I liked everything about Riley but Riley.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the second novel in the Riley Spartz series. It was just as good as the first, "Stalking Susan". Riley Spartz's character is so infectious, it's difficult to put these books down once you pick them up. I definitely plan to read to read all of them.
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