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Stalking Susan (Riley Spartz #1)

3.67  ·  Rating Details ·  1,722 Ratings  ·  291 Reviews

Inside the desperate world of TV ratings, an investigative reporter discovers that a serial killer is targeting women named Susan and killing one on the same day each year.

Television reporter Riley Spartz is recovering from a heartbreaking, headline-making catastrophe of her own when a longtime police source drops two homicide files in her lap in the back of a dark movie t

Kindle Edition, 322 pages
Published July 15th 2008 by Doubleday
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Mar 05, 2010 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a fun debut! Riley Spartz is a fast-talking, story-chasing, determined reporter. She’s got spunk, but she’s also carrying some deep scars – specifically, the death of her husband.

At the beginning of this novel, Riley’s police contact gives her a file on the deaths of two women named Susan, who each died by strangulation on the same day, a year apart. Riley is on the case, because she wants to make it the lead piece of November news sweeps; add to that investigation a feature about a lying v
Apr 01, 2013 Katie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Truly enjoyed this book. I had been listening to it on car rides to/from work...drove extra slow home to listen to as much as possible before pulling in the driveway tonight. Was sooo happy I had the actual book as well to rip through the last 20 pages. Great story line, kept you guessing and interested in the finish. I've already read the first 2 chapters of Julie Kramer's next book, Missing Mark
Nov 23, 2008 Alissa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, 2008
This is the debut mystery and I was quite pleased with it. However, my one complaint is that at times (and especially in the beginning) I felt the narrator talked down to the reader. At times the narrator over explained things that a mystery buff (or even a regular watcher of CSI) would know and this slowed down the narrative pacing). On the author hand, the author is a freelance television producer and certainly knows her subject and I was impressed with the details and things I learned about a ...more
Nov 29, 2008 Paulette rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mystery by MN author. First book Former WCCO investigative reporter. So far VERY engaging.

A winner! Interesting characters. Tricky plot. Not too much blood.
It's told in the first person--newspaper investigative reporter, Riley. A cop friend gives her a tip about cold case murders that might be linked (same date, different years, same name, SUSAN).
Dec 16, 2014 Jean rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book back in March, and it is now December. Ah, was winter then, and it is winter now. I live in southeastern Minnesota and spent thirty years in the Minneapolis area, so it was wonderful reading about a Twin Cities television reporter.

Riley Spartz is an investigative reporter returning to work after a personal leave that she needed because her husband had died tragically. She immediately finds herself up to her eyeballs in not one, but two stories. One is about a veterinari
Laurel Bradshaw
I think the hype for this book was a little optimistic. I did not find it "dazzling", "chilling", or even particularly suspenceful. It mixes elements of a procedural mystery with some romantic suspence. There is humor mixed into the darker elements. I wouldn't call this a "cozy" but it was a nice, light, fast-paced read. The characters are moderately appealing, and Twin Citians will enjoy the "insider" knowledge of the area, and details of local events like the collapse of the I35 bridge. The au ...more
Sep 05, 2008 Julia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Julia by: WCCO-tv
TV reporter Riley Spartz is looking for a big sweeps story and may have found it when an informer, Nick Garnett, feeds her some cold case information about two seemingly unrelated murders, save for their names, Susan. Using a station computer geek, Riley discovers another Susan death, and the methods seem similar. These cold cases are over a decade old, but the families she interviews remember the details, good and bad, like it was yesterday. Has Riley manufactured a story out of nothing or is t ...more
Aug 05, 2009 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, read-in-2009
Julie Kramer's first novel, "Stalking Susan" doesn't strive to break any new ground in the realm of mystery/thrillers. Then again, it doesn't really need to thanks to her first-person narrator, Riley Sparkz.

Riley is an investigative journalist for channel 3 in Minnesota. Riley's returning to work after a three-month personal leave and finds two stories dropped into her lap. One is about a vet who is charging grieving pet owners for cremation services that he's not delivering and the other involv
Oct 13, 2008 Jeffrey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mystery readers who want another pov
Shelves: mystery, read-in-2008
Riley Spartz is a television reporter on Channel 3 in Minnesota. After returning to work from a leave of absense that resulted from her feelings that her actions led to her husband's death in a fire, she needs new stories to keep her job. She is handed two tips on two potential stories - a tip from an ex cop about the deaths of two women named Susan on the same day years before -- which might be the work of a serial killer except no one believes it and a tip from a dog owner that the ashes of hi ...more
Feb 21, 2010 Annie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
love the book!
I gave this book an extra star due to all the Minnesota references.
Jul 13, 2012 David rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Twin Cities readers.
An introduction to Riley Sparks a reporter for Channel 3 TV News in Minneapolis. Her husband is recently deceased. Her best source, Nick Garnett, is retired. Her boss doesn’t like her. But she has to keep going.
She is fed a story about two Susans that are killed one year apart. This turns into four-plus Susans. The investigation takes her all over the state. Her boss pulls her off the story, makes Riley work on a worthless tip-line story, and hand it to Mike Flagg, the ladder climbing, leech rep
Apr 21, 2010 Spuddie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
#1 Riley Spartz mystery. Riley is a television reporter in the Twin Cities, MN area--until recently, a top-notch investigative reporter. Her star has fallen considerably over the past year, however, as she struggled to put her life back together after the very public death of her husband Hugh Boyer, a former cop who had been working as chief security for the Governor of Minnesota when a firebomb intended for the Governor killed him while cameras were rolling.

So Riley is intrigued when a long-ti
Aug 20, 2008 Susan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people named Susan, people interested in serial killers
Shelves: 2008read
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kathleen Hagen
Stalking Susan, by Julie Kramer, B-plus, Narrated by Bernadette Dunn, Produced by Books on Tape, downloaded from

Riley Spartz is a television reporter for the Twin Cities Channel 3. She has been on leave recovering from an on-air catastrophe that killed her husband. Now, she meets a long-time police contact in the back of a theater, their usual meeting place, and he gives her two cold case files. They involve two murders, one year apart on exactly the same day, both women named Susan
Jun 09, 2010 Denise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny and fun..., June 24, 2009

This review is from: Stalking Susan: A Novel (Hardcover)
I enjoyed this debut of a series featuring spunky 36-year-old television news reporter, Riley Spartz. (She reminds me of a smarter, more sophisticated Stephanie Plum.) This funny, improbable, and likeable heroine uses her investigative talents to bring some closure to two homicides.

An old friend, ex cop Nick Garnett, has retired from the force to take a job in security at the Mall of Americ
Dec 31, 2013 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having long grown bored with the Stephanie Plum series, I was told to check out Riley Spartz. The humor was there, the escapades are there without those stupid fumbling romantic parallelograms.

Riley Spartz, a television reporter in the Twin Cities, is handed two files from a retired Minneapolis homicide detective that show a connection between two dead women named Susan and the date of their deaths. With that pattern set, the deeper she digs, more bodies appear and the killer is leaving clues.
Sarah Madison
Mar 06, 2011 Sarah Madison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 21, 2009 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love local authors. Julie is practically a neighbor, living just a community away from me.

Every once in a while, I need to read a thriller. A quick mystery, something that makes me want to race to the end of the book while savoring every page. This is that book.

Riley Spartz is an investigative reporter for a local television station. She recently had a horrific loss and is just easing herself back into work. While doing a story about a homicide, she begins to piece together the evidence of a
Jan 10, 2016 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A solid 3.5 stars, to be exact. Fun book! I listened to it on my commute, and it kept me engaged without requiring too much concentration, which is what I usually look for in my audiobooks. The last time I listened to something complex, I failed to avoid a suicidal deer, and my poor Jeep has never quite forgiven me. The deer probably wasn't feeling too complimentary, either. So, interesting, but not complicated. That's the key. And this was an interesting little whodunit, with a bonus peek behin ...more
Aug 27, 2009 Melissa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I kept reading and hearing about this book and wanted to snatch it up as quickly as possible. I ran right home and started reading it.

I was bored after the first couple of pages. Nothing grabbed my attention. But I decided to drudge through and it give it a chance. It was a quick read and before I knew it I was up to page 198. I put the book down and reflected on how I felt about the book at that point. It wasn’t horrible. Worse. It was forgettable.

I still had no bonds to the characters even tho
Barbara Dowling
Sep 11, 2016 Barbara Dowling rated it it was amazing

I picked the killer early but I enjoyed the lead character so much that I kept reading. I'm glad I did, since Riley Spartz is now a protagonist that I can follow with interest and pleasure.
Chris Norbury
Ms. Kramer won numerous first novel awards for this story and deservedly so. Her plotting was intricate yet easy to follow. The MC, Riley Spartz, narrates in a breezy but not condescending or over-the-top manner, injecting plenty of humor and jargon without detracting from the storytelling. There were a few out of place humorous inner thought comments at critical times--such as when she was fighting for her life--that seemed inappropriate and hard to believe, but otherwise, Spartz was a likeable ...more
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.
Jul 10, 2016 Jaime rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, general_mystery
This is one of my favorite new series. Julie Kramer has hit the mark with a kicky main character, solid supporting cast, and suspenseful mystery. Not necessarily suspenseful in the sense that the bad guy is a surprise, but suspenseful in the sense that there are unexpected twists and turns along the way. I enjoyed her camaraderie with ex-policeman Garnett, but was a little disappointed that their relationship took the predictable "I like you, don’t you like me too?" turn. I liked the behind-the- ...more
JD Gillam
An interesting premise where the author has used her experience in the field of journalism to create a character who becomes a little too personally embroiled in her investigations.
A potential serial killer may have been killing women called Susan on the same date every year, but has managed to get away with it be being very clever in concealing the causes of death. Riley Spartz may have found a link between them and needs to use all her journalistic skills to get to the bottom of it all - as we
May 01, 2010 Diana rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the references to the Twin Cities and how the author did NOT use foul language, sex and violence for shock value as most modern mysteries seem seem to do. I must admit I'm not much of a mystery reader. The plots feel old and predictable to me, and this one was as well (I had the murderer picked out from the first time the character was introduced), but the fact the author did not resort to goriness really made me like this above other mysteries churned out recently by mystery writers. ...more
I am always looking out for authors I have never read, and this was a good one
The story has some minor flaws, but for a debut novel, I thought it was very good. This is an interesting story with a couple of decent subplots. The ending not contrived, but easy to guess. Now I have to get her other books to see if I will enjoy them as much.
Product Description
Inside the desperate world of TV news, a reporter discovers a serial killer is targeting women named Susan.Riley Spartz is recovering from a
Feb 10, 2013 Susanlk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! I've had Julie Kramer on my list of authors to read for several years & she didn't disappoint. Riley Spartz is an on air newscaster for a tv station in Minneapolis, MN. She's an investigative reporter who's often in trouble with her bosses because she's tenacious in pursuit of her story--often bending journalism ethics or skirting laws. She has a possible love interest in a retired police officer but first she must come to terms over the violent death of her husband, a sta ...more
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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)
  • Missing Mark (Riley Spartz, #2)
  • Silencing Sam (Riley Spartz, #3)
  • Killing Kate (Riley Spartz, #4)
  • Shunning Sarah (Riley Spartz, #5)
  • Delivering Death: A Novel (Riley Spartz, #6)

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