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October 2, 2023

Kill Show by Daniel Sweren-Becker ~ A Review

by Susan Roberts

When sixteen-year-old Sara Parcell goes missing, it’s an utter tragedy—and an entertaining national obsession—in this thoughtful and addictively readable novel that offers a fresh and provocative take on whodunits and true crime.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of crime thriller Kill Show by Daniel Sweren-Becker
October 2023; Harper; 978-0063321403
audio, ebook, print (240 pages); crime thriller

I've never read a book like this.  It reads like a true crime story about a missing girl but is actually fiction.  It shines a harsh light on the popularity of real crime TV and podcasts and the obsession that some people have with it.  I found it to be a compelling read made up of interviews with all of the key players in the missing person drama - from the parents and brothers to the police and the TV producer and crew who made a 'real time' TV show out of the tragedy.

One day 16-year-old Sara disappears.  She leaves for school as usual but after she goes back to get her backpack from the bus, she's never seen again.  When the school contacts her parents, they contact the police.  the family and Sara's friends are overcome with grief and work with the police to help find her.  A hot-shot TV producer who is looking for something new hears about it and pitches the idea to follow the missing girl's story in real time for a TV show.  Her story became a national obsession due to the docu-series but did the series help or hurt finding out what really happened to Sara?  This book and all of the interviews take place 10 years after the event when her friends and family are finally ready to talk about the missing girl. 

Once I started this book, I couldn't put it down.  It read like a true crime story even though it was really fiction.  I enjoyed the way the story was told through interviews with all of the key participants in the tragedy.  It was very different but I thought it worked very well.  The book was about more than the tragedy of a missing girl.  It was about America's obsession with true crime and about producers who often skew the truth of what's going on to make their true crime shows more interesting and controversial.  The true tragedy was that the story of a missing girl became an obsession for the public and something for people to talk about.  It makes you question some of the true crime stories that are on our TV channels and the pod-casts that feature true crime.

Buy Kill Show at Amazon

Susan Roberts grew up in Michigan but loves the laid-back life at her home in the Piedmont area of North Carolina where she is two hours from the beach to the east and the mountains in the west.  She reads almost anything but her favorite genres are Southern Fiction and Historical Fiction.   

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