An avid fan of the hunch, Natalie Temple is interested in true crime. Despite her mother’s admonition, that murder is “not entertainment,” Natalie forges her mother’s signature on the form to join East Ferry High School’s True Crime Club. She also pores over book about murderers like the Golden State Killer and the Zodiac, spends hours on true-crime message boards where she trades theories with faceless strangers, and produces a “blood-drenched” podcast called Killing Time with her best friend and technical genius, Katie Lugo.

Under the influence of the club’s advisor, Mrs. Lynn Halsey, Natalie learns that the world is not “some soulless hellscape,” that a writer should aspire to find the story that “happens around the blood” (16). She also grows somewhat attached to her teacher. So, when Mrs. Halsey is murdered, Natalie believes that Mrs. Halsey deserves to be avenged. Disregarding her over-protective mother’s efforts to set boundaries and dictate Natalie’s interests, Natalie immerses herself in Mrs. Halsey’s life, death, and impact.

As readers engage with Brenna Ehrlich’s murder mystery Killing Time, they not only learn the killer’s identity and motives but also learn the source of Helen Temple’s own motives for sometimes “suffocating” her daughter with rules and safeguards—like learning self-defense. In sometimes alternating chapters, Ehrlich tells the parallel story of Helen’s early life.

Additional lessons come in the form of morals.  For example, we all disappoint one another at times, humans tend to judge people based on labels, and many of us aspire to leave something behind—to feel as if we and our lives mattered. While life will present its share of unsavory characters, all we can do is what we think is right.

  • Posted by Donna

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