To Sketch a Killer


Sarah Quinlee loves to sketch what she sees in the world. While she also wants a job incorporating her art, she is a valuable employee for a small insurance agency. On her way to work, she is shocked to discover a dead man no one seems to know. Sarah plays amateur sleuth in an attempt to solve the mystery, and learns along the way the history of the locals and the buildings which hold the secrets of everyone’s past. Sarah’s persistence is recognized—to the annoyance of a detective whose partner seems much warmer in his approach to handling Sarah’s ongoing investigation. Following her leads, Sarah gets tangled between the present and the past. If Sarah continues to ignore the warnings of the detectives, she may find herself as the next victim.

“To Sketch a Killer” is a clean mystery novel by Caryl Janis. Readers will be pleased with the clean elements of a who-dun-it without the gore. Sarah is a sweet character who embraces the relationships she forms with the other characters. The story has jarring moments which may cause readers to feel pulled out of the ongoing pace a mystery needs. One-sided conversations with information dumps, along with characters sitting to talk, discontinue the movement. Searching for repeated words would edit much of this story, such as the overuse of “but” and -ly adverbs. Aside from these elements, the characters play their parts nicely for the surprise ending. Readers will finish “To Sketch a Killer” feeling satisfied with the payoff, and hoping Ms. Janis pens another novel.

Moira Wolf