Killing Time

Killing Time
Age Range
Release Date
March 08, 2022
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Summer in Ferry, Connecticut, has always meant long, lazy days at the beach and wild nights partying in the abandoned mansions on the edge of town. Until now, that is.

Natalie Temple, who’s never been one for beaches or parties in the first place, is reeling from the murder of her favorite teacher, and there’s no way this true-crime-obsessed girl is going to sit back and let the rumor mill churn out lie after lie—even if she has to hide her investigation from her disapproving mom and team up with the new boy in town…

But the more Natalie uncovers, the more she realizes some secrets were never meant to be told.

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Examination on true crime and the lines around interest, obsession, and respect
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Natalie is passionate about true crime. She even has her own podcast with her best friend, Katie, and she used to be in the true crime club at school under the tutelage of her favorite teacher. Her mom discourages her interest at every opportunity, and Natalie has never understood why. When Natalie's teacher is murdered the summer after graduation, Natalie knows she needs to solve the case. With her mom and even her best friend advising her to stay away, Natalie teams up with a new guy who seems just as into the darker sides of life as she is. But as Natalie starts to learn, there are some lines that shouldn't be crossed, and some secrets can change everything.

KILLING TIME is a in-depth examination of what it means to like true crime and real life mysteries. There are lines between interest, obsession, respect, and humanity, and Natalie (and her mother) learn how easy it is to cross the lines and forget what's important about the work being done. With the popularity of true crime over the last decade, this is a wonderfully nuanced exploration of how sensationalism can actively cause harm and make puppets out of the victims.

I love the alignment of Natalie and Helen (her mother)'s storylines. Part of the story is set in present day through Natalie's POV, and the other part follows Helen in her first semester of college years ago. The framing and paralleling of their stories is brilliantly done. It makes Helen's reactions to Natalie's interest in true crime much more understandable and reminds the reader that tragedies are sometimes closer to home than you might think.

I enjoyed the friendship between Katie and Natalie as well. Katie, and other friends like Jonathan, are looking towards the future. They're sad about their teacher dying, but with college right around the corner, they don't feel Natalie's near obsession with solving the murder. Katie sometimes has to pull (or try to pull) Natalie back from situations that could put her in danger, and Natalie does her best to get Katie to understand why this case effects her so deeply. They often fight or carry tension between them, but at the end of the day, they care about each other.

While I enjoyed the back and forth in Natalie and Helen's stories, the pacing was touch and go for a bit. Just when the ball seemed to start speeding up, something would slow it down. However, by the last quarter of the book, I was fully immersed.

I recommend KILLING TIME for fans of Kara Thomas and Amanda Panitch, as well as any reader who wants a great discussion on true crime fandom.
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