Format: Hardcover, 320 pages
Release Date: February 7, 2017
Publisher: Tor Teen
Genre: Young Adult / Mysteries
In this contemporary mystery by debut author Sheryl Scarborough, a teenage girl uses forensic science to solve the cold-case murder of her mother
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.
“Fifty percent of human DNA is identical to the DNA of a banana.
To Catch a Killer is the first installment in author Sheryl Scarborough's Erin Blake series. Erin's mother was murdered when she was 2 and she has been raised by her mother's best friend Rachel. Thanks to her uncle, FBI agent Victor Flemming, Erin is very interested in DNA and how the experts going about collecting evidence to hopefully put away murderers etc.
As a volunteer, Erin stole the box of evidence from her mother's cold case while working in the police department. Since then, she has been hoping for a miracle in uncovering who her mother's killer is, and who is her father. As the story opens, Erin is tossed back in time 14 years, when she finds her beloved Miss P murdered in her own home. Miss P was an avid fan of CSI and the science behind it. Her death is truly unexplained as to why anyone would want to harm her.
The suspect in the crime? A boy by the name of Journey Michael's who is the schools superstar basketball player. But, Journey claims that he has no motive for killing Miss P who was helping him in a project that I won't spoil. With her best friends Spam (not her real name) and Lysa, Erin tries to uncover answers even when the adults, including Rachel, and Victor, and the Sheriff, and the Detective in charge of the investigation, all warn her off.
Erin, Lysa and Spam also have a side business called Cheat Business. It's fair to say that the author definitely did her homework, or asked the right questions from the right people in regards to the collecting of DNA evidence. It is also fair to say that I spotted the villain early on in the story. You, as a reader, have to put your own clues down on paper and then follow them back to the person with the most to lose if this person ends up being caught by Erin.
The relationships in this story are really solid. Yes, Rachel and Erin have some issues, but they are a team who have been inseparable for 14 years. I loved Erin's connection to Victor. Victor is a fun character who doesn't put Erin in a corner and tell her to behave or else. He slowly allows her to explain her ways and means of putting together clues, and gives suggestions at the right times throughout the story.
Overall, a solid start to the series which appears to be only 2 books.