The above illustration, "Blowing Bubbles," has been adapted for use here by generous permission from the artist, Cyril Rolando.

October 10, 2010


Just in time for Halloween comes Todd Ritter's debut novel, DEATH NOTICE.

Small-town police chief Kat Campbell doesn't have a lot of experience with serious crimes. There aren't many in Perry Hollow, Pennsylvania. So when a local farmer is murdered in a mysterious and rather grisly manner, Kat is happy to accept help from the state Bureau of Investigation. The state investigators suspect a serial killer dubbed The Betsy Ross Killer, for his rather fine sewing technique. The serial killer is caught and confesses, and everyone lives happily ever after.  Except for the next victim. And the next...

The author creates some interesting characters which offset the cliched serial killer situations. Chief Campbell is the single mother of a child with Down's Syndrome. The mysterious Henry Goll, who writes the obituaries for the local paper and becomes a key figure in the investigation, is badly disfigured and so rarely seen, even by his co-workers, that he's been dubbed Henry Ghoul. The lead detective for the state, Nick Donnelly, spends his vacations going around the country to interview killers. There are some nice red herrings, and although the reader may guess the killer's identity, it won't happen early enough to ruin the story. The prose is workman-like, and the pace and tension could be improved upon, but the climactic encounter with the killer is gruesome enough to win over fans of the hardest-core horror films (I may wear a neck brace until my fear wears off. Not to mention avoiding funeral homes.). Fans of Linda Castillo's Silence series should enjoy this one immensely.


  1. Hey, great minds read alike... I'm reviewing this tomorrow. ;-)

  2. I'll be interested in reading your thoughts on this one.