reviewed by Pam Guynn
Killing Time by Brenna Ehrlich is an engaging young adult mystery novel featuring eighteen year-old Natalie Temple and her mother Helen Temple, and alternates settings between current times in Ferry, Connecticut and about 19 years ago in Evanston, Illinois.
Natalie is a true crime enthusiast. Therefore, when her favorite teacher is murdered, Natalie is determined to investigate even though she will have to hide that investigation from her mom. The other timeline gives us a look at Helen when she first went to college and how the events there have shaped her life and attitudes.
Although Natalie has a lot of typical teen emotions, actions, and feelings, she’s doesn’t tend to go to parties or date. She views her mother as overprotective, strict, and controlling. In her summer before college, she is purging stuff from her room, shopping for college, interning at the local newspaper, working in her mom’s diner, co-hosting a true crime podcast, and now investigating a murder.
Readers get some insight into Helen’s college personality, but her current emotions are mainly seen through Natalie’s eyes. Both Natalie and Helen make mistakes that could easily be avoided, but that also made them seem realistic. Despite their flaws, I cared enough to want to find out what happened. Natalie’s best friend Katie Lugo and childhood friend Jonathan Pressman are actually the most likeable characters and provide some humor and stability. The main and supporting characters are described well and I could easily visualize them.
The writing flows reasonably well and was descriptive enough to allow readers to easily visualize Ferry and the relevant characters, houses, and businesses. The plot is somewhat twisty, but the pacing seemed a little slow to me. Part of this may have been due to the somewhat overly long descriptions. One quibble that I have is that a little communication could have significantly reduced the angst. However, that added to the suspense. The pop culture references made the novel feel relevant and appropriate to the times. The highlight for me was the character interactions. However, there was one scene dealing with consent that seemed to be glossed over. Poor decisions and immature actions abound in this novel. The ending was a little predictable and fast, but tied up the loose threads with a beautiful bow. Themes include murder, grief, regrets, teen mistakes, friendship, parenting, and more.
Overall, this was an enjoyable book. Readers of young adult mysteries may want to check this one out.
Inkyard Press and Brenna Ehrlich provided a digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley. This is my honest review. Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way. Publication date is currently set for March 08, 2022.