In Death Notice, George Winnick is found dead on the side of the highway. He's in a coffin and it looks like someone tried to embalm him. If that's not bizarre enough, Henry Goll, the obituary writer for the Perry Hollow Gazette, received a death notice for Winnick before he died. The town's police chief, Kat Campbell, has never handled a murder case simply because there hasn't been one. The Pennsylvania Bureau of Investigation is called in to take over the case. They have been looking for the "Betsy Ross Killer" and suspect that Winnick is another victim. It just keeps getting worse when the death notices keep on coming and the body count climbs. Campbell just can't sit by and watch. She's determined to restore order to her town and stop the killer, if she can.
This debut mystery by Todd Ritter is awesome! It's so well written that I had a hard time putting it down once I started reading it. It was definitely compelling enough to read in one sitting. Through Ritter's story, I got a sense of the small town and the people who live there. I grew up in the city, but this is pretty much what I imagined a small town would be like. Even though the story was a bit strange, it seemed real enough...and scary. I was on the edge of my seat through the whole thing.
The story does get pretty gory at times. While I usually don't flinch when it comes to stuff like that, I think the gore combined with the intensity made me a little scared to turn the page a few times. I feared what was going to happen next. A few times I could feel my heart beating in my chest as the team realized what was going to happen when another death noticed arrived.
Kat Campbell, Nick Donnelly and Henry Goll, the three main characters, were all excellent. Each brought something different and intriguing to the story. I really liked reading about them. As for the killer, I suspected a few different characters as the story went along, but, of course, I was wrong. Ritter kept me guessing until the very end.
Highly recommended. Todd Ritter is now one of my favourite mystery/thriller writers. I'd love to read another book by him.
For more information about this book, please visit Macmillan's website.
For more information about the author, please visit Todd Ritter's website.
Thanks to Dana Kaye from Kaye Publicity for this review copy.
Death Notice by Todd Ritter, Minotaur Books, ©2010. ISBN 9780312622800(Hardcover), 326p.