The small town of Perry Hollow has never seen a murder before, and its first murder is anything but typical. The body is left on the side of the road in a coffin, semi-embalmed, with pennies on the eyes and stitches closing the mouth. It has the hallmarks of someone practiced, and indeed, the state police come in to help with the investigation due to potential connections to a known serial killer. But there’s another unique aspect to this crime: a death notice faxed to the town paper’s obituary writer, declaring the death before it actually occurs.
For those not in the know, Todd Ritter is the real name of author Riley Sager, and this series, the Kat Campbell series, was published under his real name in the early 2010s. The series – or at least this book – is a combo mystery and crime procedural, and I quite liked it. It has some hallmarks of being an early published novel, but actually not too many, and it reads not dissimilar to Sager’s books if you’ve read them. Perhaps a bit more genre, a bit more formulaic, but not in a bad way. I enjoyed (most) of the characters, thought Ritter brought up many interesting aspects of human nature outside of the mystery, and I never managed to guess the killer correctly. Beyond one character’s bizarre behavior that didn’t seem all that realistic (Deana), and a tiny bit too much gore for my liking, I really enjoyed the read. Not sure if it’s a book that’ll stick with me forever or anything, but I’ll read the rest of the series, and I’m happy that this was the first book I finished for RIP!