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Stalking Susan

(Riley Spartz #1)

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  2,033 ratings  ·  322 reviews
Inside the desperate world of TV news, a reporter discovers a serial killer is targeting women named Susan.

Riley Spartz is recovering from a heartbreaking, headline-making catastrophe of her own when a Minneapolis police source drops two homicide files in her lap.

Both cold cases involve women named Susan strangled on the same day, one year apart. Riley sees a pattern betwe
Hardcover, 306 pages
Published July 15th 2008 by Doubleday
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Average rating 3.67  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,033 ratings  ·  322 reviews

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Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I started somewhere in the middle of the Riley Spartz series - so needed to finally start from the beginning. Glad I did! It's so fun reading a book set in Minneapolis. I had my suspicions about the killer near the end (not that I could prove it), but came out great anyway. Very exciting! A quick, recommended read.

Remember, we work for God.

Call me Aunt Santa.

One person's nosy neighbor is another's guardian angel.

You don't declare friendship, friendship just happens.

Criminal insanity is and shou
Feb 28, 2010 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
Mar 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
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 04, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Mar 04, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Jul 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2009, mystery
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 12, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: mystery readers who want another pov
Shelves: read-in-2008, mystery
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
Nov 23, 2008 rated it liked it
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 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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).
Sue Wargo
Jul 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries
I thought this was a typical chic book and was mistaken. The character is sharp and found the crime mystery a pleasant surprise. Looking forward to read the next 2 in the series.
Michael W. Boleware
Jul 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Clever but not pretentious... A smart enjoyable read.
William Wehrmacher
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was reading the Monkeewrench mysteries and was between availability, so my librarian recommended Stalking Susan, because it was a good mystery and written by an author with Minnesota ties. Julie Kramer is a TV writer, producer, investigator as is her protagonist Riley Spartz. A retired police detective Lou Garnett brings her a couple of police files about unsolved murders of young women named Susan.

Along the way to solving the crimes, and nearly getting herself killed in the process, she is f
Sep 03, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, rt2010, 2018-read
Riley Spartz is a television reporter who really needs a a good story to get back on her game. A former informant, who happened to be a cop, drops one in her lap. Women with the name of Susan are being murdered on November 19th. There are only two or three that the cop has found but still. Riley decides to investigate and gets way more than she bargained for. This is Kramer's first novel so there is a lot of character building which slows down the action. The action is great. Kramer has terrific ...more
Aug 02, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.25 stars

This is written similarly to a police procedural which is a different take on a standard formula b/c Riley is a reporter.
So like a procedural story, this one breaks down all the parts of how an investigative reporter does the job. (ie. explaining various terms, people & going in order on a story, backstage/ground on the newsroom environment, etc.)

The mystery element was good. It kept me guessing and trying to solve along w/the protagonist.

It was on suggested lists for “humorous, entert
Kara Neal
Sep 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book in preparation for attending an author event at our local library. Today I was able to meet this author and four other MN mystery authors as part of a panel discussion. Although I wasn’t able to finish this book before the event, I liked it and the main character enough to buy Ms. Kramer’s most recent book and borrow others from the library. Part of the attraction is that I’m Minnesotan, so the settings and historical events, etc. are familiar to me.. the author kept me guessing ...more
Jan 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Written subtly in the fashion of Riley Spartz sitting down and giving an exclusive interview (so that the addressing the reader, mentioning of future events, and hiding of information until a later date all are logical), Stalking Susan is full of red herrings, hidden clues, and side characters with more than just a dash of caricature, spinning into a fairly fair-play mystery that's just as fun and interesting when you figure out "whodunnit" as it is before.

Most impressively for a debut, Kramer a
M. Sprouse
Jul 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
I started with book #3 of the series and it was good, but nothing to crow about. So I decided to read the first in the series before possibly giving up. After all, so many really good books, so little time. This novel was much better, it was not as silly, with more suspense. Sure it had humor, but in a way that was quaintly self-deprecating for the heroine. "Stalking Susan" was hard to put down and I stayed up late on a couple of nights because I couldn't put it down. The mystery itself wasn't v ...more
Aug 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Riley Spartz is a TV reporter overcoming her grief for her dead cop husband. Returning to work, her cop source gives her a lead to the death of a woman called “Susan”.

After some investigation, Riley connects this death with other “Susan” deaths, all occurring on November 19th. Also, she works on a story about a dishonest vet scamming his clients and a pedophile handing out candy to kids on Halloween.

An interesting, if predictable ending.

Riley is a quirky, feisty, character and it will be interes
Jun 24, 2017 rated it liked it
This was an OK book. The first was slow reading and I almost gave up reading it - but I kept going and the last 1/4 was a don't put it down. Riley works for Channel 3 news and has found an interesting item to follow - Susan's killed on 11/19. She starts getting into it and her manager over her dept sends her on another story - following up on a vet inquiry about cremation. The ending is very indepth and you have to keep reading to find out who the killer is and what happens to the vet.
Sandra Small
Aug 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Thrilling Ride!!

Ms Kramer does not disappoint in this excellent murder mystery! I read it in 2 days, even while walking my dog! The characters are in depth and believable. Ms Kramer writes succinctly and vividly and my being from Mpls, I knew exactly where each scene took place. I had no idea who the murderer was until the very end. I look forward to reading more! Bravo Ms Kramer!!
Doreen Richards
Apr 10, 2018 rated it liked it
I liked it. Kind of messy. Lots of things were not as they seemed. And that made it more difficult to follow and also more interesting. The litany, I almost released a guilty man, I almost killed an innocent man and I was almost killed by a deranged man sum up the plot line.
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book set in Minneapolis

TV reporter who is recovering from her husbands death, is given a tip on a set ofSusan deaths all on the same date years apart. She is a workaholic. Good writing and good story. Moves along well. Looking forward to the next in the series!!!
Jan 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
I was close to giving it 5*. A little weak at the end but still good. Very enjoyable read keep me ended and often not wanting to put out down. Unique perspective as well that I enjoyed of the reporter.

No inappropriate intimacy which is appreciated.
Mary Belanger
Jul 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Live the Minneapolis connection!
Aug 20, 2017 rated it did not like it
Riley the supposed "TV journalist" is incredibly stupid and unfortunately if you read a lot of mysteries/thrillers you can figure out at the very beginning of the story who the killer is.
Timothy Kauphusman
I figured the mystery out early in the story and got frustrated that Riley couldn't see that possibility. Otherwise it is actually pretty good.
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was the best book in this genre that I've ever read. Bonus points for being set in the Twin Cities :)
Angie Benson
Apr 16, 2018 rated it liked it
A quick easy & fun whodunnit read. However, I read her second book first which I liked better so I was a little bored mid way through this one but it didn’t last long. ...more
Apr 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
A murder mystery set in Minneapolis.
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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.


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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