Missing Mark by Julie Kramer (Moonlighting for Murder)

Word Lily review

Missing Mark by Julie Kramer, book 2 in the Riley Spartz series (Doubleday, 2009), 288 pages

A classified ad selling a wedding dress (“Never worn.”) is what sparks Minneapolis TV reporter Riley Spartz in this second Riley Spartz mystery. Upper-crust Madeline Post’s fiance disappeared after the rehearsal dinner, but did he run away or is he the victim of a crime? The plot thickens when Riley realizes just how much of an external mismatch Madeline and her former groom-to-be, Mark Lefevre, are.

I don’t usually try to solve the whodunit myself; I’m generally content being carried along by the story. But in both of these first two Riley Spartz books, I’ve had it figured out way early (again, without trying). Riley tries to be more careful about putting herself in deadly situations this time out (she borrows a guard dog for a few days, for instance) — but her care only extends to her singular, stubborn interpretation of the clues. At least this time she does realize that she’s dealing with desperate people and she *should* be cautious at several points in the narrative.

She’s also willfully ignorant of most technology, which baffles me.

Riley does have some traits that redeem her, at least somewhat. For one: She fights for the place of quality, (more) in-depth journalism in a broadcast environment bent on money and feel-good stories. Still, it’s hard to say if she fights for investigative journalism because it’s better or because it benefits her. For two, well, I have to give her some grace since she’s still struggling with her past, although I think she’s growing some (albeit mostly in the background) in this installment. Maybe part of my ambivalence is more precisely directed at how she has so fully bought in to television news.

This book definitely has some humor, and when I look back on my reading experience, that’s my favorite part.

The book trailer:

Books in this series:
1. Stalking Susan :: Amazon
2. Missing Mark :: Amazon
3. Silencing Sam :: Amazon

Rating: 3.5 stars

About the author
Prior to becoming a novelist, Julie Kramer had a career as a freelance news producer for NBC and CBS, as well as running the WCCO-TV I-Team in Minneapolis. She grew up along the Minnesota-Iowa border, fourth generation of a family who raised cattle and farmed corn for 130 years. An avid reader, she tired of fictional TV reporters being portrayed as obnoxious secondary characters who could be killed off whenever the plot started dragging, so her series features reporter Riley Spartz as heroine. Julie lives with her family in White Bear Lake, Minnesota.

Other reviews
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Cheryl’s Book Nook
My Book Views
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9 responses to “Missing Mark by Julie Kramer (Moonlighting for Murder)

  1. I’m a little unsure if I’ll tackle this series. I wonder why she’s against technology.

    • Honestly, the whys behind the techno-phobia (that’s stronger than the situation actually warrants) haven’t come up yet. It’s pretty strange to me, though.

  2. I have to agree with BFR. I’m not sure this is a series for me. But I guess that’s the great thing about the range of books in the mystery genre, there’s something else out there for just about anyone. There are quite a few series that are extremely popular that I just don’t care for, so obviously they hit the right chord with a lot of folks, just not me.

    Good for you, Hannah, though that you gave the series a couple of books at least. Sometimes if the first book is just so-so to me, I’m off to other things! 🙂 Thanks so much for doing such a nice job with these reviews for the theme week. They’ve added so much.

    • Yeah, a lot of people apparently like these books (although I can’t seem to find news on when a fourth book is due out from Kramer, and it seems like it should be time). Not the best fit for me, though.

  3. I’ll keep this in mind when I’m looking for something funny to read.

  4. Thanks for featuring my series on your blog, Word Lily. It’s a tough time for authors and we need all the exposure we can get. A fan who reads it sent me the link and suggested I respond. So here goes.
    Next book coming July 26….KILLING KATE…it’s a little darker than the others and this time my heroine is up against a killer who draws chalk outlines shaped like angels around the bodies of his victims. (Perhaps angels will be the next vampires, who knows?)
    As to the techno-phobe issue….I’m not sure how to respond….my protagonist is quite adept at wireless microphones, hidden cameras and other forms of broadcast technology required for her job. Then it occurred to me that perhaps you were referring to her computer producer sidekick who handles a lot of the computer tasks required in a television newsroom. When I first created the Riley Spartz character I considered having her do all those things, but in real life…only one newsroom employee is trained to analyze data bases and run the website because it is so expensive and specialized. It’s hardly ever an on camera person because the news bosses want the on camera reporters on camera as much as possible – 4-5 times a day even. In the interests of trying to create a realistic newsroom (and journalistic accuracy) I made two characters….now, I’ve since learned that in the world of fiction, that’s not a huge priority. Merging of skill sets is quite common. But this does suggest to me that as I write the next book, perhaps I need to explain that a little better. Although in news rooms these days, budgets are being cut and less computer investigation is being done. This is probably more than you wanted to know. Thanks again for picking me out of your pile when I know your pile of books must be quite high.

  5. Great review and a lovely response from the author. I might give this one a try.

  6. Pingback: Words from my reading | Word Lily

  7. Pingback: 2011: #61 – Missing Mark (Julie Kramer) | Confessions of a Bibliophile

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