Death Notice by Todd Ritter. Minotaur Books, 2010.
Death Notice is Todd Ritter’s debut novel and first in the Kat Campbell series. Kat is the police chief of small town Perry Hollow, Pa., where crime is a rarity. She and the townspeople are shocked when their tranquility is shattered by a brutal murder. Knowing she is out of her league, Kat calls in the help of the state police, which arrives in the form of Lieutenant Nick Donnelly and his task force. Terror is added to Kat’s shock when Nick tells her the murder appears to be the work of a serial killer. Local obituary writer Henry Goll also becomes involved in the case when he realizes he received a death notice for the victim before his death. The killer continues to use Goll to communicate his plans. With each death notice, Kat, Nick, and Henry must race to beat the clock and catch the killer.
Death Notice is a clever crime novel that kept me guessing the entire time. Several suspects pop up along the way, but I was never sure of anyone’s guilt or innocence. Kat, Nick, and Henry are all extremely likeable but also very complicated. They each have demons that haunt them and drive their actions. Ritter has crafted an gripping whodunit with compelling characters for his first novel. I have Bad Moon, the second in the series, on hand to read next and can’t wait to get started.