Delivering Death: A Novel - Julie Kramer

Faced with a long bike ride and nothing to listen to, I picked up an audiobook of Delivering Death from my library on a whim. I wasn’t disappointed. Delivering Death is a fun little cozy with a likable protagonist and an engaging, if rather facile, plot.


For me, the most interesting part was Kramer's portrayal of TV journalism. The protagonist, Riley, is an investigative reporter for a television channel. As I don't tend to watch much TV, let alone news, I've never thought much of -- or about -- TV journalism, and the minimal opinions I have were probably shaped by the plethora of newspaper journalists who go on to write fiction. Newspaper journalists seem to be uniform in their scorn for their television counterparts; they tend to portray TV journalists as always going for facile visual retakes on the news that their hardworking counterparts unearthed. Perhaps surprisingly, I don't think this book really changed my opinions much. TV journalism does indeed seem to be as much about acting as it is about investigation. Riley spends a lot of time trying to find props and images to support her news rather than the facts of the news itself. At several points, the necessity of photogenic reporters is discussed, as well as the issue of Riley's "advancing" age (she's somewhere around 30, so obviously she's already passed the peak of her career.)


I also really enjoyed Riley's trips back to her hometown. Kramer does a wonderful job in capturing small town life, with the added bonus that I now know (a) how to pronounce "Hormel" correctly, and (b) that somewhere in its origins, Spam really does contain actual meat.


Less engaging to me were some of the secondary characters, including Riley's ex-flame, who dumped her because she had the temerity to kiss another man during a previous breakup. Can anyone say "creepy control freak"? Even so, I found his antics in the ending rather amusing.


Overall, I definitely enjoyed the book and will be on the lookout for more of the series.