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Missing Mark: Number 2 in series (Riley Spartz) [Paperback]

Julie Kramer

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Book Description

3 Jun 2010 Riley Spartz (Book 2)

When Riley Spartz sees a want ad reading 'Wedding Dress for Sale: Never Worn', her news instincts tell her that the backstory might make an intriguing television sweeps piece.

The groom, Mark, last seen at the rehearsal dinner, never showed up for the wedding. His own mother, eager to spare him further embarrassment, waited weeks before filing a missing-person report.

But when her missing-person's case leads to a murder investigation, Riley discovers a startling motive for Mark's disappearance - and a TV exclusive guaranteed to win the ratings - if she lives to report it...


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More About the Author

Julie Kramer is a freelance television news producer for NBC's Today show, Nightly News and Dateline. Prior to that, she was a national award-winning investigative producer for WCCO-TV in Minneapolis. She lives in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, with her husband and sons. Visit her at www.juliekramerbooks.com

Product Description

Book Description

In this page-turning sequel to Stalking Susan, TV reporter Riley Spartz pursues a curious - and murderous - story of a bride left at the altar...

About the Author

Julie Kramer is a freelance television news producer for NBC's Today show, Nightly News and Dateline. Prior to that, she was a national award-winning investigative producer for WCCO-TV in Minneapolis. She lives in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, with her husband and sons.

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Customer Reviews

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Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  78 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No sophomore slump for "Kramer the Namer" 25 Jun 2009
By Susan Tunis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Julie Kramer's debut novel, Stalking Susan, involved Minnesota investigative journalist Riley Spartz pursuing a serial killer of women named Susan. Some marketing genius at Doubleday thought it would be a good idea to send a galley to every Susan on their mailing list. He must have been right; I couldn't resist reading it. And I found it to be an exceptionally entertaining debut.

In Missing Mark, Kramer is sticking with what works--namely an appealing protagonist and a strong supporting cast. Aside from her considerable mystery solving abilities, Riley is a constant font of info on the TV news biz, and I, for one, find it as fascinating as the cases she investigates. Likewise, the series' supporting characters are uniformly interesting without being too quirky to be real.

Good news, the entire gang is back this time around, including some characters I didn't necessarily expect to see again. The plot of this second novel involves a missing persons case. Specifically, it's Mark, a bridegroom who fails to show on his wedding day--or in the several months that have passed since. Riley's cases are never simple, and this investigation quickly grows convoluted, with any number of possible explanations, suspects, and motives. However, Riley's boss thinks a missing bigmouth bass will garner higher ratings for sweeps. She may be right.

Two-thirds of the way through, I figured out who-done-it and why. I have no idea where that intuitive leap came from, but it was no fault of Kramer's plotting, which is tight and well-paced.

I don't have a lot of time for mystery series, but I'm going to stick with Riley & Co. (For readers intrigued by this book, I'd suggest backing up and reading Stalking Susan first. Lucky you, it's just been released in paperback.) So far, the name books are a nice blend of light and dark entertainment. They're not terribly violent or graphic and the mysteries within feel fresh.

In conclusion, I'm Recommending Riley and Judging Julie to be well worth your reading time.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Missing Mark 29 Jun 2009
By Gail Rodgers - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The second in a series featuring Riley Spartz, Missing Mark, was a well written mystery. I wished while reading the book that I had been able to read the first book in the series as I am one that likes to read a series in order, but enough information was given throughout the book, that you weren't left floundering wondering about Riley's background. Riley is an investigative TV reporter and upon seeing an ad in the newspaper for a wedding dress for sale that had never been worn, felt that there was a story somewhere in that little ad. Learning that the groom hadn't shown up at the wedding 6 months before, sets Riley off on a hunt to find him. Is he missing or dead? No one really knows and other than his mother and jilted bride, no one seems to care. What people do care about is that an extra large bass was stolen from an aquarium at the Mall of America. This is the story Riley's boss wants her to focus in on.

A story of love and betrayal, murder and mayhem, drug sniffing dogs and rare medical conditions are all woven together into an interesting yet easy read. If you like cozy mysteries where the `bad guy' gets what is coming to them, you should enjoy this book. I'm looking forward to more books in this series and hope the author can maintain and grow Riley as the main character.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A delightfully light weight, somewht far-fetched mystery 3 July 2009
By Neal C. Reynolds - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is fun, but definitely not to be taken very seriously. That is not except for the insights into TV newscasting. These insights especially make the book worth your reading. The earlier part of the book is somewhat scattered as it follows both a missing person and a missing fish investigation, but the latter portion zeroes in on the mystery with enjoyable twists. This is just plain a good book for the beach or wherever you hangout during hot weather. I missed the first book in the series, but this one has me out to get that one.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cute, but "misses the mark" a bit 13 July 2009
By Ladyslott - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Second book to feature Riley Spartz, Stalking Susan is the first.

I like Riley Spartz, the investigative reporter for Channel 3 news in Minnesota. I enjoyed Stalking Susan and was looking forward to Missing Mark. Although I liked the book well enough there were some things here that really missed the mark - so to speak.

First and foremost there is an opening scene where a man is found murdered in a house that Riley wants to buy - skip to chapter 2, the murder never comes up again. It just seemed that Riley would investigate this crime, or mention it again, but the next topic for her investigation is the story behind an ad for a never worn wedding dress. It seemed an odd choice for the gutsy Riley. Secondly the `mystery' of the missing bridegroom wasn't all that interesting or challenging, I had it figured out in about 10 pages. There are two more subplots, one involving a fish stolen from an aquarium and a neighbor who has constant garage sales. The first one was kind of lame and led to a very improbable coincidence near the end of the book and the second one was so obvious that the fact it takes Riley half the book to figure out was a little out of place since she is supposed to be a seasoned investigative reporter.

What saves the book from a little lower rating is the easy reading style and the character of Riley, who is someone you might want to be friends with, and her relationship with retired detective Nick Garnett looks promising. The supporting characters are fun, but in danger of becoming clichéd if there isn't any growth, but there is potential for that as revealed in the epilogue, a plot device which I am not too fond of.

Overall a light and breezy mystery series, good for a lazy day read.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "For Sale: Wedding Dress. Never Worn." 27 Jun 2009
By Denise Crawford - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I had selected Missing Mark from Amazon Vine before I realized it was the second in a series so of course I had to get Stalking Susan and read it first. That's just an idiosyncrasy and even though it fleshes out the backstory of our intrepid heroine, Riley Spartz, it really isn't necessary to read it prior to enjoying this book. This sequel is just as well done as the debut.

Featuring spunky 36-year-old television news reporter, Riley Spartz --think smarter, more sophisticated Stephanie Plum -- the mystery really begins with her discovery of a six-word novel in a want ad: "For Sale: Wedding Dress. Never Worn." This funny, improbable, and likable heroine uses her investigative talents to bring some closure to the case of a vanished bridegroom. [An interesting sidebar in the story is that one of the characters suffers from face blindness, prosopagnosia -- the inability to recognize faces of even friends or family. I found that fascinating.]

Working in the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, and White Bear Lake, Riley juggles multiple possible high rating stories during this May sweeps week. In addition to solving the case of the missing groom who left his rich bride at the altar, she is trying to shut down a neighborhood meth ring and to find the missing Big Mouth Billy Bass (stolen from Underwater Adventures at the Mall of America).

The book is a fast paced, funny, and entertaining read that just begs to be devoured in one sitting. I recommend it for anyone interested in a mystery that does have its share of dead bodies but that is short on details typical to the thriller genre (blood, guts, torture -- absent here). The character of Riley Spartz is engaging, and the returning supporting cast of coworkers and friends are a perfect foil for her crazy, hectic life. I eagerly anticipate the next one in this series.
Enjoy!
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