Saturday, March 05, 2011

Book Review: Death Notice

 Death Notice is Todd Ritter’s debut mystery. Here’s the press release blurb:
 … Death Notice opens with a grisly roadside discovery in the quiet town of Perry Hollow, Pennsylvania: George Winnick, a farmer in his sixties, is found in a homemade coffin by the side of the highway with his lips sewn shut and his veins and arteries drained of blood and filled with embalming fluid. In a strange twist, Sheriff Kat Campbell soon learns that the Perry Hollow Gazette obituary writer, Henry Goll, got advance notice of Winnick’s death.

Soon the Pennsylvania Bureau of Investigation task force shows up to confirm the worst. Nick Donnelly, head of the task force, is convinced that the murder was committed by the “Betsy Ross Killer,” so-called because he’s handy with a needle and thread -- and someone that Nick’s been pursuing for a long time.

Though Kat has never handled a murder case before, she’s not going to sit by while someone terrorizes her sleepy little town, and threats against her only son are the very last straw.
If the way people are being killed doesn’t make you turn on the lights, then you’re a lot less squeamish than I am. I couldn’t have written this ‘cause I would have scared myself silly. Death Notice starts off with the killing of Winnick, then ratchets up the intensity by giving you just enough time between victims to catch your breath.

You get to know the people in the town and come to like Sheriff Campbell’s commitment to stopping the murderer. Your heart will race when the killer decides to make the chase personal for her. You’ll also be trying to figure out who in this small town could be the killer.

And, if you’re like me, you won’t forget Death Notice, no matter how you try. Todd Ritter puts you right into the victim’s head. Even if you’ve never met the victim before, you really want the good guys to get there and stop it. But you won’t stop reading because you want to know who the killer is.

Death Notice
Amazon
Barnes and Noble

I give Death Notice a rating of Hel-of-a-Story
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FTC Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by Dana Kaye with Kaye Publicity, but that did not influence my review. Death Notice is labeled on the cover as “A Mystery.” I probably would have called it a Thriller. It makes your heart race and if it had been a movie, I would have covered my eyes through the scary parts. Todd Ritter has been a journalist for fifteen years. He’s even written obituaries. This experience and expertise comes through in the book. The title, Death Notice, comes from the obituaries, which arrive at the newspaper before the victim is dead.

28 comments:

  1. A mystery that puts the reader in the *victim's* head! Yes, that would be scary. Sounds like one to read in broad daylight around a crowd of people. :)

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  2. For me, it was, Elizabeth. I would read, but in my head, I was screaming, no!

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  3. I couldn't watch a movie like this either. The book sounds too good to pass up though!

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  4. Sounds like a family read --We all love to read books like this and ten rehash them. Definitely a Hel-Yes we're gonna read this one.

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  5. Smart twist on the title. I think I'd scare myself silly just reading this one. But from your review, I already want to know whodunit!

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  6. Okay, so I don't read books that scare me, but this sounds so intriguing I may have to reevaluate my stance.

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  7. Laura, the good thing about reading a scary book is that you can put it down, get a shot of tequila, then pick it back up. Can't do that in a movie.

    Ooh, I don't know, Mary. Depends on how young your kids are.

    Liza, you can always put it down then pick it back up.

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  8. Hi Helen .. gosh it sounds enticing?! Well I'd quite to read the saga around all the characters .. the dead bodies I hope I could 'skate' over .. Todd seems to have written a good first mystery .. cheers and thanks for the advice re the shot of Tequila!! Hilary

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  9. Sounds like a good one to read in the mornings! :)

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  10. I'll put this one on my list to check out. I love thrillers and of course a PA setting interests me.

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  11. Helen, thanks for the comment. Here is the right link: http://writersdigest.com/article/8-ways-to-write-a-5-star-chapter-one/?et_mid=156106&rid=3035566

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  12. This is a great review but I think I'll stick to cozy mysteries.
    Ann

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  13. Sounds like one for me! Thanks for the review, Helen.

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  14. Obituaries! Now that's funny.

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  15. Great review. I love thrillers and mysteries, so this one will go on my list for the next shopping spree at a bookstore.

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  16. Yikes, pretty scary. My own roadside killing novel, Murder on the Interstate, will be out the end of this month, but I didn't sew my victims' mouths closed or drain their blood. I don't think I could have written Death Notice, either, Helen. :)

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  17. What a scary POV to be in while reading a book! Good idea.

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  18. Thanks Liza.

    The book is set in a small town, so the killings become personal to everyone.

    Ann, I don't read too many that scare me, but every once in a while...I do.

    You know, Jean, I think it's easier to write scary/intense than to read scary. As the writer you know what's going to happen.

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  19. I haven’t read a scary book in long time – but I think I’m going to have to read this one.

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  20. I love a good scare. Sounds like a great book.

    ......dhole

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  21. The way the bad guy goes about killing his victims is what scared me.

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  22. Helen,

    I'm awarding you the Stylish Blog Award to add to your large collection. All you have to do to earn it is list seven things about yourself and pass the award on to seven others. :)

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  23. I think I'd like this one. Thanks for the review.

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  24. I was on holiday and started to do some observational research. Nearly 80% of the travellers were reading crime novels. Todd's book will be among them. Pity I don't write crime or horror that well.

    My Darcy Mutates

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  25. Thank you Jean. What a wonderful thing to do!

    I don't know the actual statistics, Enid, but you're probably right. My husband reads thrillers and suspense primarily. Right now, I'm reading a non-fiction and it's a great one for writers - Save The Cat! Strikes Back.

    If you read it, Carol, let me know if you found the killings as scary as I did.

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  26. Hi Helen. First, let me offer a belated thanks for the review. It was very nice, and I'm so glad you liked DEATH NOTICE.

    Second, although my book may be scary, I can assure you that I'm a very non-scary guy in real life. Really! Just ask my mom.

    Cheers,
    Todd

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