Audio Review: To Catch a Killer by Sheryl Scarborough, Narrated by Christy Romano #YoungDelight

Audio Review: To Catch a Killer by Sheryl Scarborough, Narrated by Christy Romano #YoungDelightTo Catch a Killer by Sheryl Scarborough

Narrator: Christy Romano
Genres: YA Romantic Suspense
Published by Audible Studios on February 7, 2017
Length: 9 hours 36 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible
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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.

Teen girl forensics investigator solving the murder of her beloved teacher?  Oh yeah, had to listen to this one.  This was my first encounter with author and narrator.  I loved how the author caught the feel of a YA contemporary with a compelling murder mystery and narrator nailed it with the teen scene.

The story opens with Erin Blake discovering the grisly murder of her biology teacher.  Erin and her teacher were working on a project personal to Erin- finding Erin’s father through DNA testing.  Erin’s guardian ruses to talk about the unsolved murder in the past of Erin’s mother or help Erin figure out who her dad is.  Erin loves Rachel, her guardian and her mom’s best friend, but she hates the blank slate that is her past.  But now, her need for answers might have gotten her teacher killed.

The police think they have their prime suspect in another kid who was there that night and Erin helped point the finger at him.  However, Erin is not convinced of Journey Matthews’ guilt and not just because she had a crush on him.  So with the help of her best friends and even Journey and the knowledge she gains from her FBI forensics pathologist uncle, she decides to solve Ms P’s murder.  Clues start pointing toward the fact that her mother’s killer might still be around and not want her digging into things.

I was engaged with this story from the beginning.  The author did a good job of blending typical teenage life of getting along with parents, family and high school with a murder mystery.  Erin’s forensics’ hobby and amateur detecting with her friends make for a fresh take on things.  She’s a bright girl and I loved how she still has room to mature and grow throughout the story.  She’s a tad arrogant about her knowledge in that she knows better than the adults and her friends, but the story is written in such a way that the adults are mostly oblivious too.

That’s brings me to a couple niggles about the story.  I’m not fond of that take on adults especially since most of these were professionals in the field, but I guess it allowed for some liberties so that Erin could do her thing.  And the other thing was there was a scene in the latter half that, while fascinating as it took step by step the process of matching DNA in a home-made sort of way, the scene dragged as a result.

As I said, Erin is a complex character and I loved that.  She’s the narrator and the story hinges on her.  The author did a great job of making her personable, strong, but vulnerable.  And the story has many layers.

Erin has a troubling past with being a three year old found with her mother’s body, no other family so now living with her mom’s best friend as guardian.  Erin is something of a novelty to the other kids and the small town and between that and Rachel’s refusal to allow her to talk about her feelings on the past, she is near the breaking point when the new trouble starts.  Her friendship is fun in that she has strong ties to two other girls and the three must figure out how to work through their issues even while staying true through the tough moments.  First crush and first love is a sweet and fun addition as Erin gets to share the case with Journey, the cute popular guy at school while learning Journey is more than a pretty face and has his own issues.

Teen Cautions: Language- moderate, Sex- none, Violence- moderate

As to Christy Romano’s narration, she was a solid match for this story.  I felt she enhanced what was already a great book with her take on Erin and the rest of the cast.  She caught just the right tone with a Young Adult story and one with such a gritty mystery attached.  I would definitely listen to more of her work.

All in all, this was a fantastic story.  I did not want to pause it for real life.  I can heartily recommend it to those who enjoy Young Adult contemporary blended with a gritty mystery.

Challenges Met:

Romance Roundabout #47 YA
Literary Pickers #46 nail file
New Release #23
Audio #11

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.
  • Oh that does sound like a good one. Sounds like there’s a lot going on and that’s usually good, keeps me involved in the story.

    • I loved the teen investigators vibe. I would have totally devoured this as a teen and I was as eager for it even now.

  • I have definitely seen this book around, but I didn’t really know much about it. Teen investigators, that sounds neat! I don’t read nearly enough suspense and mystery, though I have enjoyed the ones that I have read. I’m glad you enjoyed this book, Sophia!

    Have a great week. =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    • I didn’t know about it until it was offered to me for review and I got excited when I read the blurb. Not bad. 😉 The teen investigators was a big part of the enjoyment.

      Thanks, Alyssa!

  • Oh yes I remember hearing about this one when it was released but I haven’ty read it (I had to verify that lol) but it sounds quite well done in any case.

    • Ha! Yes, sometimes I have to check my list because I can’t remember if I read something or not.
      It’s definitely YA, but I thought it was a good solid mystery, too.

  • This does sound like a good one! Thanks for sharing.

  • Debbie Haupt

    Ok wow I can definitely see why you had to get this one. Thanks Sophia Rose

    • Yeah, that blurb grabbed my attention right away, Debbie. 🙂

  • That is my biggest pet peeve with YA and how the adults are sometimes portrayed in them. I’ll take away a star for that cause ugh…
    Glad you enjoyed it. YA mystery can be very tricky

    • Yeah, it seems my lot to find that peeve in the last few YA’s I’ve picked up. There has to be a better way to spotlight a teen’s brilliance without making the adults around them into buffoons who can barely figure out how to tie their shoes without the teen’s help.

  • It does sound interesting but, yeah, I think I would have those niggles as well. I do get tired of the way adults are portrayed sometimes.

    • It was an otherwise fantastic story, but the portrayal of anyone over eighteen left me cold. I don’t think they are doing kids any favors by giving them this impression about adults and I sure don’t think they are winning an adult audience to their books by it- so why???? LOL

      • No, probably not. It’s strange for me. When I was growing up I loved Saved by the Bell and that was one of my mom’s complaints about it and how they made all of the adults look ridiculous. I totally was like pffft! whatever! but now I’m thinking, yeah, it probably would irk me, too. lol

  • Sounds like it would make a good movie for teens. I actually clicked the link and it went to some weird Amazon page. Not sure how that happened. Great review!

    • Yes, it really does, Lorna. 🙂

      Oh, bummer. Sorry about that. Not sure what’s going on with the link.

  • This sounds like an enjoyable listen. Was the the deal of the day a little bit ago? I remember looking at this one before. I would have to agree with you that the main character knowing more than the professionals would bother me and I don’t need anything too detailed in terms of science in this kind of story. Great review!

    • I did enjoy Christy Romano as a narrator although, it might have worked out better there at that technical jargon part to be able to skim that. 🙂

      I’m not sure if it was the Deal of the Day. I was sent this one for review. I do seem to remember seeing it while I was listening to it so maybe that’s where I saw it.

      Yeah, it just didn’t go over as authentic to have a tenured sheriff and his whole department that clueless. But, the overall story was great.