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Killing Kate: A Novel Hardcover – July 26, 2011

4.0 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews
Book 4 of 6 in the Riley Spartz Series

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Editorial Reviews


"With her newest book, Julie Kramer's reputation and following ought to soar. This wonderfully sardonic look at murder is not only surprisingly poignant, but a flat-out tour de force of harrowing twists and turns."
—New York Times bestselling author William Kent Krueger

"Julie Kramer has one of the best new series in crime fictions....You'll be turning the pages all night." --New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline

"Snappy repartee, tauntingly written, drum tight in its execution."
—New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry

"Julie Kramer's Killing Kate offers everything a novel should—a most engaging protagonist, page-turning thrills, plot twists, and a host of characters that jump off the page. I loved it!"
—New York Times bestselling author Heather Graham

“Kramer tells the tale from both Riley's and the killer's points of view, and this strategy . . . keeps the pages turning. . . . Kramer gives readers a strong sense of a reporter's daily routine, drawing in details of other news stories and Riley's personal life to add texture to the novel." - Booklist

"Best-selling author Kramer surpasses her previous three Riley Spartz titles with this feverishly suspenseful, nail-biting thriller with a gutsy heroine." - Library Journal

“The fourth Riley Spartz mystery by Minnesota author Julie Kramer is her best yet...The writing is so crisp, it will keep readers turning the pages. TV reporter-investigative journalist Spartz is at her feistiest, the dialogue is at its sharpest and the main plot is chillingly suspenseful. There's plenty of action and a jaw-dropping penultimate scene that sets up the potential for another book in the series.” —Associated Press

About the Author

Julie Kramer is a journalist turned novelist. She writes a series of thrillers set in the desperate world of TV news. Julie has won the Daphne du Maurier Award for Mainstream Mystery/Suspense, RT Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best First Mystery as well as the Minnesota Book Award. Her work has also been nominated for the Anthony, Barry, Shamus, Mary Higgins Clark, and RT Best Amateur Sleuth Awards. She formerly ran WCCO-TV’s investigative unit before becoming a freelance network news producer for NBC and CBS. She lives with her family in White Bear Lake, Minnesota.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books (July 26, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439178011
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439178010
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,713,968 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The headline above is an old Edward Gorey quote that I couldn't resist using. No, the eponymous Kate of Julie Kramer's fourth Riley Spartz mystery was actually bludgeoned with a baseball bat. So close. Kate's death basically opens the novel, and straight off the reader learns that she is the fourth victim of a serial killer. The authorities are not yet aware of this fact.

Local news reporter Riley has been lying off the violent crimes lately, since she had been making more news than covering it. But hearing the familiar address of this homicide, she grabs it before anyone can object. And her memory is correct. The crime happened at a house she once knew well. It was the home of her former college roommate, Laura, and the victim is Laura's younger sister, Kate. Kramer has the mechanics of creating suspense down pat. She keeps readers turning pages, ending chapters with lines like: "I didn't know yet that Kate had led a secret life, and that her secret did not die with her."

Riley and Laura, once the closest of friends, had split in a rift more than a decade ago. But this tragedy paves the way to an uneasy reconciliation. Investigative reporter that she is, Riley, of course, becomes far too involved in the hunt for this killer. As always, there's a "b" story in the novel involving an animal story her crazy news director wants her to cover. And the third narrative thread is Riley's long distance relationship with Nick Garnett.

I have outlined several things I like about this series in past reviews. I find Riley to be an immensely likable character with a distinctive voice. Reading each novel feels like visiting with an old friend. Also, I love the television news setting.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Having read Kramer's previous three books, I was really looking forward to this one. I am disappointed though. There are a half dozen plots, none of them well developed. The chapters are short and shallow. We get no sense of ago the victim was or why we should care about her death. The killer is a psycho killer straight out of central casting. His motives are...he's evil? Crazy? Who knows. Unnecessary and implausible plot twists and a hurried resolution made the end especially unsatisfying.

I hope the next one is better.
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Format: Hardcover
One of the crucial elements of this series is its platform. It's a platform the author knows well and uses to full effect. It's the reality and atmosphere of the television new operation. Riley Spartz, newshen of a local television station in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, sometimes is a bit of a loose cannon. It drives her bosses up the wall. In today's broadcast television business, tension and often frantic pursuit of ratings rules. Ratings are tied directly to advertisers and what they can be charged for air time.

Spartz is a veteran reporter, well aware that her skills and experience are being constantly measured against younger, cheaper, upcoming talent. It pushes her to extend herself and sometimes into mortal danger. Author Julie Kramer has a strong background in television new production and she uses that experience to excellent effect. The novel rings with authenticity.

Almost accidentally Riley discovers an odd chalk outline around the body of a dead woman in south Minneapolis. She's chasing a solution to the murder of a young woman when Riley, against her boss's wishes, learns of her own personal connection to the dead woman. That connection gives her more incentive to follow the story. Almost as an aside, on a hot day in Minneapolis she comes across a dog locked in a truck in a parking lot. Riley's instincts kick in and a live feed from a liquor store parking lot sends ripples through the community and incenses the dog's owner. Between the two stories, Riley has a lot to juggle And then violence flares all around her.

The novel is cleanly and smoothly written, with a powerful forward thrust that grabs the reader and contributes to its page-turning intensity. The characters are multi-dimensional and interesting. One of the author's strengths is her ability to surprise us while retaining the essential dimensions of the characters. "Killing Kate" is a terrific novel and I'm looking forward to the next in this series.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Love, Love, Love this author! Her protagonist is a youngish investigative reporter for a news TV station, gutsy, persistent, will do almost anything to get a prime time story This book - like her others - is a real page turner, with short chapters and immediacy that brings suspense. Someone is killing women named Kate over a period of years, but slowly getting closer together. Kramer gives you enough suspects to keep your mind permanently undecided. When the ONE is finally revealed, terror comes with the knowledge. I recommend reading this - and ALL the other books in the series by Julie Kramer.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I just found this series and every book is wonderful! A word of caution, I've seen this series compared to the Stephanie Plum books and I don't find that accurate...these books are sharper, grittier and far better written. The author also took some chances with this last book to allow the series and the main characters to grow. I've already pre-ordered the next book and can't wait to read it!
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