Friday, January 6, 2023

Book Review: Killer Story

By Sara Steven

How far will she go to catch the killer—and make her podcast a hit?

Petra Kovach, a talented and idealistic young reporter, is on the brink of being laid off from her third failing newspaper in a row. To save her job, she pitches the launch of a true crime podcast about a sensational, unsolved murder.

Years earlier, an alt-right YouTuber was killed in her Harvard dorm room, and the case went cold. Petra knew the victim—she was once her camp counselor and loved her like a little sister, despite their political differences.

Petra's investigation gets off to a rocky start, as her promising leads quickly shrivel up. In her passionate quest for justice—and clicks—Petra burns sources and breaks laws, ultimately putting her own life on the line. Even as her star rises, she worries it could all come crashing down at any moment if her actions are exposed.

When her machinations start to backfire, there's only one way to fix everything and solve the murder—even though it may cost her everything she loves. (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

I seriously had no idea who the killer was until the very end! I love a good crime story that keeps me guessing, and Killer Story did an excellent job of that. As Petra goes above and beyond–and at times, even beyond that–we’re introduced to a line-up of various leads and potential suspects, and just when you think it might be one person, the reader discovers that it really wasn’t that person, and that it might have been someone else all along. 

Initially, it’s personal. Petra had a close relationship with the victim for several years, and although there had been some distance between them in those final months leading up to the murder, her friend’s death had a huge impact. But as the story progresses, it’s obvious that Petra begins to lose herself within the potential fame and recognition that can come from solving the crime. It’s too easy to accept the accolades and television interviews, particularly due to Petra’s rocky past with her career. It feels like her time has come, but what about the ultimate truth for her friend? 

I couldn’t stand Petra’s arch-nemesis, Natalie. Somehow she manages to edge her way into Petra’s business, and there are plenty of scenes that highlight the passive-aggressive behaviors both women have towards one another. While Petra has a personal stake in things, Natalie is all about the glory, willing to do anything it takes to sweep the rug out from Petra. Their boss was also obnoxious–no matter what Petra does, it never seems to be good enough or worthy enough for him. Plus, he continually tried to pair Petra up with Natalie, completely oblivious to the animosity there. But it added some nice friction. 

Petra needs to get back to the reason she started the investigation in the first place, and even though she stumbles quite a few times along the way, in the end, she figures out the truth. What I appreciated most is that there was nothing hunky dory or “happily ever after” for Petra, which made sense. It was realistic. Sometimes it’s a lot better to have that kind of ending than to have one all packed up, with a pretty bow. Overall, I had a tough time putting Killer Story down, just as eager as Petra to find out the truth!

Thanks to Matt Witten for the book in exchange for an honest review.

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