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Killing Kate: A Novel (Riley Spartz #4)

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  546 Ratings  ·  87 Reviews
Now in mass market, the next page-turner in Julie Kramer’s bestselling series featuring intrepid television reporter Riley Spartz is “a flat-out tour de force of harrowing twists and turns” (New York Times bestselling author William Kent Krueger).


Crime-solving means high rating
Paperback, 448 pages
Published April 24th 2012 by Pocket Star (first published July 26th 2011)
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Mar 02, 2012 Gayle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maybe I've been reading too much heavy stuff. Or maybe it was just
time for me to laugh a little. For whatever reason I found this book
to be exactly what I needed.
KILLING KATE is a mystery about Riley Spartz, a television investigative
journalist, who finds herself in the middle of a crime involving a serial

I understand this is the third or fourth book by Julie Kramer and I'll
certainly go back to read the ones that came before. In some ways I wish
I'd have read them in order, but no harm do
Benjamin Sobieck
Feb 01, 2014 Benjamin Sobieck rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A murdered erotica writer with books of coded messages. An urban legend about a cursed angel statue in a cemetery. Chalk outlines of angels mysteriously appearing at crime scenes across the Midwest. What more could you want in a crime novel?

Julie Kramer delivers this and much more in her Minnesota-set Killing Kate crime novel. It's another in her series featuring TV journalist Riley Spartz.

I'd discovered Kramer through Delivering Death (there's that alliteration again that themes these titles),
Book Him Danno
My edition is the ARC.

This is a fast paced book with great pacing, short chapters and memorable characters. Riley is an investigative reporter who is bold and resourceful. Her parents are great, I find myself laughing at their parts in her stories, and I can identify them with other people I know from this area. Her parents are protective and even a bit underhanded at time. I love the fact that she writes about Minnesota and Minnesota nice, even when mixed with murder and Iowa at times.

The myst
Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
Of course I grab a good book from the library.
Of course it's part of a series, that I have not even read nor heard of.
I swear. I need to pay attention more when I go to the library.
But I will look into starting at the start of this series.
One day. It was a good book. Nothing fantastic or special.
Jun 04, 2017 Nancy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
To me, this came across as a lifeless book. Bouncing between two narratives, the reader is either interested in Buddy, a dog that was left in an overheated car by an aggressive owner or a killer that is stalking waitresses in the Midwest.

Riley Spartz, an on air TV personality, is juggling two stories. The public is obsessed with the dog angle, yet a serial killer has met his match in Riley when his latest victim is an unassuming woman that has a secret life as a bestselling writer of erotica. Wh
Rebekah Scott
For most people, homicide never has an upside. For television reporter Riley Spartz, however, a homicide can mean a lead story on the evening news, a spike in ratings, or on occasion, a threat to her life. Although, that last one’s not really an upside.

Recently, it seems that every journalistic investigation Riley undertakes culminates with one of the previously mentioned threats on her life. Because of this, her animal-loving boss Noreen has forbidden Riley from doing any more stories on violen
Carl Brookins
Apr 11, 2012 Carl Brookins rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the crucial elements of this series is its platform. It’s a platform the author knows well and uses to full effect. Her platform is the reality and atmosphere of a television news operation. In today’s broadcast television business, tension and often frantic pursuit of ratings, rules. Ratings are tied directly to advertisers and what they can be charged for air time. That’s the reality. This is the novel.

Riley Spartz, newshen of a local television station in the Twin Cities of Minnesota,
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
I expected to enjoy this novel, it's a genre I like and hoped that I would find a new series to collect but sometimes you just don't click with a character and unfortunately that is the case for me in Killing Kate.
By the time I was barely a third of the way into the novel, my attention was wandering and by the half way mark I realised I really didn't like Riley much. The first person point of view revealed her very narrow ambition to 'scoop' a story at any cost. She seemed unable to separate th
Kathleen Hagen
Killing Kate, by Julie Kramer, b-plus, Narrated by Bernadette Dunn, Produced by Dreamscape Audio, downloaded from

For some reason, this book was not recorded until now. It’s out of sequence. This is #4 in the series, and I’ve already read #5 which was recorded soon after it was published. In this one, Riley is still working for Channel 3. The news director sends Riley on a dog rescue story sure to win over Minneapolis-St. Paul's viewers. It involves a man who left his dog in a very h
Aug 25, 2011 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the great things about Julie Kramer's series is that she gives you enough information about the characters that you don't have to have read any of the previous works to fully appreciate and enjoy this one.

The mystery in KILLING KATE is based on a real-life legend of a Black Angel, who sits in an Iowa cemetery, her once brass color having turned to black over the years. Is it the natural process of oxidation? Or proof of dark deeds?

Riley Spartz finds herself in the middle of a murder myste
I quite enjoyed the first three books in this series--except for the horrible reader on the audio version of the last one--but found this one to be just okay. It all started when I found an error early on (she "peaked" into the kitchen) and that always seems to distract me from the story because part of my mind is on the alert for more typos or misuse of like-sounding words.

The book itself actually wasn't bad until about two-thirds of the way through, and then it seemed like Riley, the main cha
Linda Day
Jul 27, 2012 Linda Day rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, now I have read them all ! I don't have a Riley Spartz in my queue ... what shall I do when I am looking for a clean, humorous, quick-reading little mystery ?

Julie Kramer has become a favorite over the past few months ! I have loved getting to know and appreciate Riley, an on-the-spot reporter from Ch. 3. In the course of "getting" the story she becomes an amateur sleuth in the solving of the mysteries surrounding the story (see Silencing Sam, Missing Mark, and the beginner, Stalking Susan
Aug 25, 2016 Kat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 02, 2012 Sheila rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Riley is a TV reporter and under constant pressure by her boss, to obtain the 'scoop' and inside story on all her assignments. When she receives the call to go to the site of a homicide, she realizes she has been in the house before during her college years and she may know the victim. The victim is actually the sister of her college roommate, Laurel. Riley discovers while everyone believed Kate worked transcribing medical reports, she actually was a popular novelist of erotic books. Laurel and ...more
Starr Gardinier
May 22, 2011 Starr Gardinier rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In “Killing Kate,” Kramer pens a refreshing protagonist, journalist Riley Spartz, who works for Channel 3.

While investigating a news report, Spartz finds herself knee-deep in a murder of old roommate’s sister. She becomes the target of a serial killer whose inspiration stems from an almost century old black angel in an Iowa cemetery. The killer is unbalanced and believes he is pleasing the “angel of death” with each murder. The man stalks Spartz and at the same time, believes she is after him.
Feb 24, 2012 Ken rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel is part of a series featuring Riley Spartz who is an on-air investigator for Channel 3 News, Minneapolis, MN. KILLING KATE examines the murder of a young waitress in which a chalk angel was traced around the body, and this killing is linked to a serial killer working the region. The novel uses the legend surrounding,'The Black Angel', which is a real statue in The Oakland Cemetery in Iowa City, IA. The statue is a bronze angel with the wings pointing down, and was erected at the grave ...more
Marla Madison
For me, this was one of those books that would have been more compelling had I read the earlier books in the series. In particular, Riley's long distance relationship with Garnett is a strange to the reader coming into the series with this book.
The main plot does keep the readers attention and is what kept me going with this book despite the sub-plot which starts the book out with a man intentionally murdering a dog by leaving him in a truck during a heat wave. Really turns off the animal lover
Mar 15, 2013 Megan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy this series because I like Riley Spartz. As an investigative journalist, her pursuit of information is somewhat different than a police officers, but it still gives the character a lot of leeway to be heavily and plausibly involved in crime investigations. This book was fun, although it ends on a slightly unbelievable note. Kramer decided to do something a little different by giving us periodic looks into the mind of the killer. While not overly deep in characterization, the alternating ...more
Mar 15, 2014 Jean rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As someone who lived in the Twin Cities for nearly 30 years, I really want to love this series. Now that I've read three Riley Spartz books,(I skipped #3, which doesn't really matter much) I still haven't made up my mind whether I like Riley or not. Just when I start to see signs of a real human being, out pops that reporter persona again. I would like to hear some genuine emotion from Riley, and in this book, I felt like I finally got a peek at her feelings. I do like the stories, and I have to ...more

Even though Killing Kate was the fourth in a series I didn't get the feeling like I was missing out on anything from the previous books. It wasn't the most gripping mystery I have ever read, but it was entertaining. Riley is an interesting and realistic character who just happens to get herself in several unrealistic (some of them) situations. There are several subplots that culminate in a somewhat unrealistic, yet horrific ending. But if you are willing t
Sep 16, 2012 Virginia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Met Julie Kramer at the Montezuma Writer's Conference a few weeks ago. Have been following her on Facebook and noticed a photo she posted in front of the Black Angel in Iowa City. Found out her book 'Killing Kate' had something to do with the statue, so of course, I had to read it.

Love her protagonist. She feels real, I think, because of the author's background. Liked the premise of the story and it was one that I whipped through pretty fast because I wanted to know how it was going to end.

Richard Becker
Apr 08, 2016 Richard Becker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is another intense Riley Spartz murder mystery. We find out more about Riley's psyche and thought processes, essentially what makes her tick. I enjoyed how current media and society are brought into the story, such as people's reaction to animal cruelty. Riley proves herself up to the task of solving a bafflling mystery and defeating a deranged killer. She, however, loses a bit of herself when she shoots and kills the "angel of death". This is a first rate thriller. The ending left us with ...more
May 07, 2014 Beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't enjoy this one quite as much as the last. I didn't like the change in narration to 3rd person on the part of the killer. I also didn't like some of the choices main characters made or where the continuing story seems to be headed. Also, I was surprised to find some editorial errors (lie instead of past tense lay, and using the conditional perfect (if I would have done) when it should have used the past perfect (if I had done), and one other I can't recall.) Still, this is an excellent s ...more
Jul 10, 2012 Laurie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have to admit that I like serial murder stories. I would be afraid that this would not be normal except for all the stories about serial killers. This one is one of the best I have read for awhile. It's one of those 'can't put it down' 'keep me up until 3:00 a.m. and then I can't sleep because I hear strange noises outside.' It's about a TV reporter and the story was very good about showing the dilemma between what to keep on or off the air. I was sorry when I finished it.
This is the fourth Riley Spartz book. I listened to the first three on audio and since my library did not have this one on audio, I read it. As with the other books in this series, I was expecting only light reading and simple diversion and that is what I got. I really have a hard time rating this, as it was really just OK. If I can get the next in the series on audio, I will listen as I think perhaps that is a better format for these stories (at least for me).
Apr 18, 2012 Annie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-up-on
Awful. No copy editing - 'peak' instead of 'peek', 'layed' instead of 'laid' - by that time I skipped along to see if things improved by the middle. Nope. Even the last page was awful. Simon and Schuster publish this stuff - I'm checking on those other things I give up on, too, and bet they're published by S&S too.

Picked this up while browsing the shelves in desperation for some good mind-washing stuff. Heh.
Bonnie Schroeder
A mystery featuring a Midwest news reporter, this novel has an interesting premise but the characters felt like the author was holding them at arm’s length, and the Bad Guy’s character was poorly developed. The details of a TV newsroom were the most interesting part. The killings themselves were rendered with detachment. The bang-up ending came too abruptly and the wrap-up lacked any kind of satisfying closure.
I found this to be the darkest of all of the Riley Spartz novels. It was still well-written and intriguing but I was creeped out while reading it. First of all, several chapters are told from the killer's point of view--so while some of the mystery is revealed, you get to learn too much about the inner workings of a murderer. Secondly, there's a side-story that just ends terribly and is so very depressing.
Sep 08, 2011 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Minneapolis/St. Paul area reporter Riley Spartz finds herself investigating the murder of an old college friend . . . and soon discovers that she is the murderer's next target! Can a mysterious angel statue in a cemetery provide clues as to the killer's identity? A suspenseful thriller with a bit of chick lit flavor, this is sure to please. For my full review, visit
Actually, thus far I think I have enjoyed this one the most from the Riley Spartz series. There's no denying these are addictive little fast-reading mysteries. While we knew who the killer was from nearly the beginning in this one (as opposed to the other novels where the reader had to guess), there were some good surprises in this book. Good mindless mystery reading :)
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Julie Kramer has moved from journalist to novelist. She writes a mystery series set in the desperate world of television news—a world she knows well from her career working as a freelance news producer for NBC and CBS, as well as running the acclaimed WCCO-TV I-Team in Minneapolis.

More about Julie Kramer...

Other Books in the Series

Riley Spartz (6 books)
  • Stalking Susan (Riley Spartz, #1)
  • Missing Mark (Riley Spartz, #2)
  • Silencing Sam (Riley Spartz, #3)
  • Shunning Sarah (Riley Spartz, #5)
  • Delivering Death: A Novel (Riley Spartz, #6)

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