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Missing Mark
by Julie Kramer

Published: 2009-07-14
Hardcover : 288 pages
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In this page-turning sequel to Stalking Susan, TV reporter Riley Spartz pursues a curious story of a bride left at the altar and finds herself caught in a dangerous missing-person case.

When Riley Spartz sees a want ad reading ?Wedding Dress for Sale: Never Worn,? her news instincts tell ...
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(In this page-turning sequel to Stalking Susan, TV reporter Riley Spartz pursues a curious story of a bride left at the altar and finds herself caught in a dangerous missing-person case.

When Riley Spartz sees a want ad reading ?Wedding Dress for Sale: Never Worn,? her news instincts tell her that the backstory might make an intriguing television sweeps piece.

The groom, Mark, last seen at the rehearsal dinner, never showed up for the wedding, humiliating his bride, Madeline?and her high-strung, high-society mother?in front of 300 guests. His own mother, eager to spare him further embarrassment, waited weeks before filing a missing-person report and then learned how difficult it is to get police, or the media, interested in missing men.

Now Riley is up against a boss who thinks that finding a famed missing fish will net the station higher ratings, a meth cartel trying to assassinate a K-9 dog because of his powerful nose for drugs, and a neighbor who holds perpetual garage sales that attract traffic at odd hours.

When her missing-person case leads to a murder investigation, Riley discovers a startling motive for Mark's disappearance?and a TV exclusive guaranteed to win the ratings . . . if she lives to report it.



Editorial Review

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The bride wept - not from happiness.
She threw her bouquet - in the garbage.
The bridesmaids looked helpless. The groomsmen looked sheepish. The mother of the groom looked like she'd rather be anywhere else. Finally, the minister made the announcement to the three hundred waiting guests. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

1. Which missing people cases catch your attention? Are you more interested in cases involving missing men or missing women? Do you think the media covers too many cases, or not enough? How important is it to the storyline that Mark is the central focus of the case, rather than Madeline?

2. What do you think about the use of face blindness as a character trait for Madeline? How does it contribute to her grief over Mark's disappearance? Were Madeline not to have suffered from prosopagnosia, do you think she still would have been attracted to Mark? What did they have in common?

3. How might prosopagnosia hamper your own ability to function socially? Madeline seems to value her independence more than her Mother-did Vivian make herself a crutch for Madeline, especially with Mark? Why do you think Vivian really killed Mark-love, hate, or jealousy?

4. Have you or someone you know ever sold a wedding dress, or ever thought about it? What might make you do so? Would you ever wear a wedding dress worn by someone else? Would you wear Madeline's dress after knowing the circumstances of it never being worn?

5. What do you think of the use of a TV newsroom as the setting for Missing Mark? Does learning how a newsroom works make you distrust reporters or sympathize with them? Does the first-person insight into Riley's personal life influence your reaction?

6. Do you think that it is a good idea for Riley to become so friendly with Madeline? From the beginning, Riley seems to be entering the friendship under false pretenses (just to get more scoop for her story), but as their relationship progresses, do you think that Riley really wants to be friends with Madeline? In turn, does Madeline need Riley as a friend just as much or more so than Riley needs Madeline for her story?

7. What is the significance of Garnett's re-appearance in Missing Mark? Is he a missed opportunity or a regret for Riley? Do you think Riley knows what kind of relationship she wants with Garnett? What is your reaction to this romantic thread in the narrative?

8. If one of the regular supporting characters in the Riley Spartz series-Noreen, Garnett, Shep, Toby, Xiong-had to be killed off, who do you think would be the most appropriate to sacrifice? Is it because you see a definite end to their plotline or do you think that their death would cause the start of another thrilling case for Riley?

9. Does Riley Spartz remind you of any well-known news reporters or fictionalized investigative reporters? How do you respond to her tenacious reporting style? Does Riley's no holds barred attitude lead her into unnecessary trouble and comprising situations or is it what makes her so successful?

10. Riley doesn't seem to have a lot of strong female friendships. At times, her relationship with Shep seems to be stronger than those she has with actual people. Do you agree? If so, why do you think this is so? Is Riley's career to blame?

11. If you could choose a character in this book to be named after you, which would you choose? Do you particularly identify with any of the characters? Is there one you'd definitely not want your name associated with?

12. In a mystery novel, how important is the “Why Done It” in a “Who Done It?”

13. Does the disappearance of Big Mouth Billy Bass mirror Mark's disappearance in any way? What similarities and differences in motive are there? Why do you think animal cases are always on file with Riley? Do they carry more of a human interest factor? As you learn more about Mark's character, do you find that you are more concerned about both the well being of Shep and Big Mouth Billy than about Mark?

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

Imagine a want ad..."Wedding Dress For Sale: Never Worn." Why would anyone sell such an emotional item? Anger? Grief? Economics?

In MISSING MARK, a TV reporter answers the ad, pursues the curious story of a bride left at the altar, and is drawn into a dangerous missing person case.

In real life, as a journalist, I've covered some of the country's best known missing people. As a novelist, I wanted to give readers a provocative look at how newsrooms decide which missing people get publicity and which don't.

My debut, national bestseller STALKING SUSAN won the RT Reviewers' Choice Award for Best First Mystery, the Minnesota Book Award, was a finalist for the Mary Higgins Clark Award, and is also an Anthony Award nominee.

In MISSING MARK, your book club is sure to find an entertaining discussion on love and loss as you debate whether you would ever sell your wedding gown. Reading this mystery, you will also learn about an intriguing developmental disorder sure to spark disagreement on how important facial recognition is to social success.

Praise for MISSING MARK:

"A fast pace, a smart heroine, and fresh voice. " — Tami Hoag

"...fun mystery thriller." -- Publisher's Weekly

"...a story that never quits....Kramer will be one to watch as she gets better with each book." - Crimespree Magazine

Book Club Recommendations

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
  "Murder mystery with a twist."by Gaylynn M. (see profile) 11/02/09

The characters continue from "Stalking Susan" with a new interesting mystery unfolding. Fast light read.

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