cover image Kill Show: A True Crime Novel

Kill Show: A True Crime Novel

Daniel Sweren-Becker. Harper, $27.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-06-332140-3

Sweren-Becker (The Ones) tackles America’s obsession with true crime in this searing whodunit. Written in the form of interviews with family, friends, neighbors, police, and the film crew that arrives in Frederick, Md., after 16-year-old violin prodigy Sara Parcell vanishes, the novel is presented as a straightforward work of true crime. After a viral video brings a spike of national attention to Sara’s disappearance, her parents agree to let a Hollywood production company film a reality show about the case—her dad says yes for the money, while her mom hopes that a wide audience will lead to Sara’s safe return. When Searching for Sara becomes an overnight hit, it causes a chain reaction of unintended consequences: detectives start reluctantly taking their cues from the show, an innocent man receives death threats after producers insinuate he might be a suspect, residents of Frederick have their own secrets unwittingly exposed, and two more murders occur. But nothing is as it seems in this wily mystery, and Sweren-Becker delivers a double twist that will leave readers shocked. His sharp plotting and expert understanding of true crime tropes elevate the proceedings from clever gimmick to slam-dunk. The latest in a long line of contemporary thrillers interrogating the public fascination with private tragedy, this scorching indictment stands out. (Oct.)