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Stalking Susan (Riley Spartz #1)

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  1,546 ratings  ·  266 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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(showing 1-30 of 2,676)
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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
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
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
Jean Coldwell
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 2 of 5 stars  ·  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
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 3 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
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).
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.
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
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
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
Jul 13, 2012 David rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
Sarah Madison
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
#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 3 of 5 stars  ·  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.
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
Having lived in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, I really enjoyed the specificity of location. I knew the places she named. To add to the pleasure, I read this book after a several month visit to the Midwest and finished it on my plane ride back to my current home of South Africa. This made me enjoy the location all the more. As a mystery, it was enjoyable. I did not think it was very complicated, though. Yet, I'll read more to see where this series goes.
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
I liked this book. A serial killer is apparently killing women named Susan on the same day every year. Riley Spartz a TV reporter is nudged toward the story by a retired cop/friend. At first, no one believes her (Riley) about the Susan killings. The Susan thing seemed a bit far-fetched, but this is otherwise a good mystery. The killer is signaled early in the book, but still worth it to stay to the end to see for sure. Riley Spartz is a likeable character who is professional, knows her job, and ...more
Took about 100-125 pages for this book to become somewhat interesting. An okay read. I think i will try the next in the series and see if the pace picks up a bit better. Alot of murdered "Susans" in this 1st in the series, so some of that could be confusing at times. I was surprised to see some 4 and 5 stars on this one, i really don't see it past a 3.
I became interested in Julie Kramer after I heard her speak last fall at a community event. Books are very similar to Janet Evanovich. They are fun, easy to read and set in Minneapolis. If you have a chance take a look at Julie's story she use to work as an anchor for Channel five news and now rights fictional stories based on stories she once covered on the news.
I listened to the audio version of this book with Bernadette Dunne as the narrator. Bernadette was great as a reader.

I enjoyed the two thirds of the Julie Kramer's debut. I found her protagonist, Riley Spartz to be well fleshed out and believable as an amateur sleuth. Her insider knowledge of TV's Dateline and Today shows shines through and adds great flavor and depth to the setting. Riley's slightly sarcastic humor provided a great counter point to the gruesome murders.

However her secondary ch
This is not only a well-written mystery, but also a great little glimpse inside the world of TV news and journalism in general. I particularly enjoyed Kramer’s no-nonsense style. When the attack happens that puts two of Riley’s close associates in the hospital (trying to avoid spoilers), Kramer comes right out and tells the reader their fate. She knows we care about her characters—even the dog gets his own epilogue.
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
Pop  Culture Nerd
After reading a lot of hype about this book, I was surprised by how mediocre it was. The author has a tendency to overexplain everything, which I found annoying. For example, she mentions the green room at a TV station. She explains what it is--a place for talent to rest before they go on the air. That alone should be enough. But no--she goes on to tell the reader about the history of the green room, how long it's been around and why it's called that (she doesn't know). Sometimes extra descripti ...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)
Missing Mark (Riley Spartz, #2) Shunning Sarah (Riley Spartz, #5) Silencing Sam (Riley Spartz, #3) Killing Kate (Riley Spartz, #4) Delivering Death: A Novel (Riley Spartz, #6)

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