Killing Time

­Inkyard. Mar. 2022. 336p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781335418678.
Gr 9 Up–When true crime enthusiast Natalie Temple hears that her favorite teacher has been murdered, she feels compelled to investigate. She anticipated spending her last summer before college with her friends, working at her mother’s diner, interning at the local newspaper, and continuing her secret podcast. Natalie feels obliged to tell her teacher’s story. Keeping her over-protective mother in the dark about her actions, though, will be a challenge. As she uncovers more about what happened to Mrs. Halsey, Natalie also learns more about herself and the secrets she has avoided for so long. Natalie is a challenging protagonist to root for, continually making the worst decisions throughout her underdeveloped character arc. The strength of this story lies in the dual time lines of Natalie’s present and her mother Helen’s past. The two perspectives demonstrate the similarities between mother and daughter and offer a basis for their tense relationship. Erlich provides a unique perspective on true crime podcasts, which can often be sensationalized. Instead, she shines light on the true emotions and impacts of involved individuals.
VERDICT A secondary purchase where mysteries, especially true crime stories, circulate well.

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