Two college lovers suspected of a brutal double homicide enlist a podcasting crime journalist to proclaim their innocence in this psychologically riveting and compulsively readable novel of love, lies, and murder, perfect for fans of The Lady Vanishes podcast and I’ll Be Gone in the Dark.
I’m Ryanna Raines. And welcome to “The Raines Report.”
Ryanna Raines is the host of a popular true-crime podcast. Her specialty is investigative journalism, her style is truth-seeking moxie, and with millions of listeners along for the ride, her star is rising. But when an intriguing message is left on her tip-line, the reporter is pulled into the most challenging case of her career.
The mangled bodies of a husband and wife have been discovered in their multi-million-dollar estate in Southern California. The prime suspects are their twenty-two-year-old son and his girlfriend, two college theater students who are now facing arrest and indictment. In a surprising move, they only want to speak with Ryanna, offering exclusive interviews in exchange for her help getting their side of the story told.
Instead of a badge or a weapon, Ryanna carries her voice recorder onto the battlefield of the high-profile murder investigation. Through a series of interviews, Ryanna examines her subjects from multiple angles and diverse points of view, breaking past the walls of “he said, she said” to pierce at a dark and horrible truth.
Written in the style of a true-crime podcast, With a Kiss We Die is a heart-racing mystery and thought-provoking tale about love and secrets that unfolds episode by episode as it hurtles towards an explosive conclusion. L. R. Dorn has crafted a suspenseful examination of our cultural obsession with true crime, the complicated moral obligations between journalists and their subjects, and the often-deadly line between performance and deceit.
This tantalizing tale of parricide and star-crossed lovers from Dorn (the joint pseudonym of Matt Dorff and Suzanne Dunn, coauthors of Anatomy of Desire) hinges on an effective gimmick: it's told through the transcripts of The Raines Report, a true-crime podcast hosted by Pittsburgh journalist Ryanna Raines. The podcast kicks off when Ryanna receives a phone call from Jordan De Carlo, a handsome young theater major at UC Santa Barbara. Circumstantial evidence is mounting against Jordan and his girlfriend, Victoria, as authorities investigate the stabbing deaths of Jordan's wealthy parents in their $5 million San Diego home. To make a case for their innocence, the young couple offers Ryanna exclusive interview access, and she takes them up on it, also interviewing their friends and family to ferret out the truth about the brutal killings. Soon after its first episode is released, The Raines Report becomes an international phenomenon, and Jordan and Victoria become social media fixtures as their case is discussed endlessly online. With each new episode, readers encounter new aspects of the slippery central couple, leaving expectations and suspicions in a constant state of flux. Though the ending is a bit of a letdown, the immediacy and cleverness of the format keep the pages turning. Readers will be rapt.