Cover Image: A Hunger to Kill

A Hunger to Kill

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Member Reviews

This was a good book. Kim Mager is a detective in Ashland, Ohio. She specializes in abuse and sexual crimes. When a kidnapped woman calls 911 and the police find her locked in a house with a sleeping Shawn Grate. Mager is the detective who interrogates him. As she does, she unwraps a truly chilling thread of crime that wends its way through northeast Ohio and several decades.

Mager weaves her own story into the book also. While she is descriptive in what happened, it is not lurid. She goes into detail without being gory. Shawn Grate was an evil man who did evil things Kim Mager was able to close several unsolved murders because of her instincts and her determination to get to the bottom of what really happened over the years.

I would definitely say this is worth the time to read.

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A hunger kills a true crime story that is about a serial killer named Shawn Grate. He was known as the “lady killer”. In 2016, he was arrested after holding a woman hostage. One of the authors, Detective Kim Maher, tells the story of how her skills as an investigator and communicator allowed to bring justice to the victims in this case.

I felt that it was an engaging read that did keep my attention from beginning to end. There was a bit of repetitive lines in the story and it did feel a little drawn out, but overall was a good read. If you’d like true crime books, I’m sure you’ll like this one.

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Thank you to Netgallery for the ARC of this book!
This is a true crime story that follows serial killer Shawn Grate. I had never heard of him before, but Detective Mager does an amazing job at getting him to confess all of his crimes.
It starts with a lady calling 911 for help because she is locked in a bedroom. Once she is safe and he is brought in for the crime, it all spirals into confessions of Grate killing more women (a total of 5).
Mager does an amazing job at keeping her cool through hours of interviews with Grate, all while getting him to open up and share everything he has done.
I think she did a wonderful job at telling the story, and she has such compassion for the victims and trying to make sure justice is served. She does a great job at building trust and listening to everything he (and the victim) have to say. It can't be an easy job to listen to all of the things she was told, but congrats to her on getting the info out of him.
I give this read a solid 4.5 ⭐️

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True crime is often hit-or-miss for me. Reflectively, I think it is because the individuals that can write the most compelling true crime are often not writers (and I am a stickler for quality writing :)). I realize that these stories are often paired with another writer (in this case, Lisa Pulitzer) but I still find that, most of the time, the story doesn't read as well. That said, this was a very well done. The story of Shawn Grate is horrifying and disgusting. Kim Mager, the Detective that spent 33 hours interviewing, tells her story (and his confessions) in a way that is compelling and emotional. Her distaste for his heinous crimes is palpable, but there is also an undertone of empathy (both in how she interacts with him and also how her Christianity affects her thoughts and opinions of him). I like how she shared what she learned from Shawn, but also speculates on what she might have missed. It's clear that she was/is a successful police officer because she conducts herself with both professionalism and kindness. Her ultimate duty is to her family, then to protecting others. 4.5 rounded up

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Thank you so much to NetGalley for allowing me this ARC. Truth be told, I never heard about this serial killer beforehand, however this book helped me learn quite a bit about him. I never found myself bored reading it, and found myself captivated by how it was written. This was a great storytelling of a true crime story.

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Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for an e-reader ARC of this book.

This was a pretty solid true crime book, detailing the crimes and interviews with the author, officer Kim Mayer, of Shawn Grates.

Overall this was an interesting read, especially as this occurred less than 2 hours from where I lived, and I don’t remember hearing any of this while it was happening. There were some pacing issues: information included that I didn’t think was necessary to include, but the unraveling of Grates crimes through interviews was chilling. It gave you a little bit of insight to the thought process of this serial killer.

I gave this book 3.5 ⭐️

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Special thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free, electronic ARC of this novel received in exchange for an honest review.
Expected publication date: July 23, 2024
Kim Mager is a real-life SVU detective. Working in Ashland, Ohio, Mager has spent the last twenty plus years dealing with abuse victims and their abusers and has seen all the evil that humanity has to offer. Or she thought she had- until she met a man called Shawn Grate.
When a woman called 911 stating she had been kidnapped and held against her will, repeatedly attacked and raped, Mager was called in to interview her and hopefully obtain pertinent details about what happened to her, and by whom. Very quickly, Mager and her team were able to identify Shawn Grate as the abductor and, after eight days of using her masterful interview skills, Mager was able to uncover that Shawn had not only been responsible for the abduction of this victim, but there were many more that had not been lucky enough to escape.
Mager, along with Lisa Pulitzer, bring the scary details to life in “A Hunger to Kill: A Serial Killer, A Determined Detective and the Quest for a Confession that Changed a Small Town Forever”. The story starts from when the victim, identified as Jane Doe, calls 911, and the drama only escalates from there. Soon, Mager becomes the only person Grate will talk to, and he confesses to at least five more rapes and murders, although it is suspected he was responsible for many more.
This is the kind of true crime I like as, since it’s told from the police investigator’s perspective, I got a front row seat to the criminal interview and was able to learn about his crimes and his motivations first hand. The legal aspects were defined, of course, but only in terms of Grate’s legal consequences. The trial component of the novel did not drag on, and there was no stumbling over investigative procedures or legal jargon to lose yourself in.
As a mother, community member and one of the only women in the police force at this particular time, Mager has a unique perspective and writes with compassion, empathy and respect for the victims and their families. I thoroughly enjoyed “Hunger”, and I really hope that Mager becomes the next John Douglas and is able to bring more of her stories into the world, as I will devour them all.

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In 2016, the small town of Ashland, Ohio, made headlines when serial killer Shawn Grate was arrested for the kidnapping of a young woman who miraculously escaped a fate that others before her had not. Interviewed extensively by Detective Kim Mager, Shawn Grate eventually confessed to additional crimes against women, including murder, kidnapping and sexual assault. “A Hunger to Kill” is this detective’s true account of what transpired in her interviews with one of Ohio’s most infamous serial killers that came to be known as “The Ladykiller.”

As a true-crime enthusiast, I was excited to delve between the pages of this book. And while certainly fascinating, the writing was a bit dry for my personal tastes. Instead of drawing me in, I felt like I was on the outside looking in. That said, I give props to Detective Kim Mager for her amazing interviewing skills and her ability to remain calm and steadfast in the face of true evil. What an incredible story she has to tell, even if it isn't told in the most eloquent of ways.

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I've read quite a number of True Crime books before and I think this one was the most chilling. It was very well written. I had not of heard of the this Ohio serial killer before even though it is a relatively recent case. It is a chilling read and study into a psychopath's mind. Kudos to the female detective (Kim Mager) for her excellent interview techniques that helped put this abhorrent individual person away. I think I would like Ms. Mager were I to meet her. Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book for review.

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Part true crime account, part memoir, Det. Kim Mager's story of her interactions and interviews with serial killer Shawn Grate really keeps those pages turning! The book is thorough and well-written, and really puts the reader there in the interview room with Kim. We've all seen Dateline and whatnot, showing the detective in the tiny room trying to get a confession out of a suspect and in most cases (or at least my case) I'm fascinated by the interviewee, without giving a lot of thought as to what the interviewer is thinking and feeling. This book changes that. It's riveting!

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This happened just shy of 3 hours away from me and I was completely clueless and knew nothing about this story. The courage that Jane Doe had in the beginning is amazing and I wouldn't even know what I would do in the situation, you would like to think it would be the same reaction but you just never know. I enjoyed hearing the story through Kim Mager's eyes and words, I do believe he would have harmed or attempted to harm her if he had the chance and I'm glad he didn't get the chance. I simply hope there aren't anymore victims attached to him and if there is I hope he eventually comes clean and gives more families closure over their missing loved ones.

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

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What I particularly liked about this book was that it was written by the lead detective, Kim Mager, who interviewed/investigated Shawn Grate. The reader gets insight into her thoughts and feelings as she realizes that what initially appeared to be a kidnapping and rape case turns out to be a serial murder investigation; and that the rescued "Jane Doe" was one of the rare women who had survived their encounter with Grate. Detective Mager explains her interview strategy and how she tried to gain Grate's trust and keep him talking. The gamesmanship between Grate and Mager and other investigators was interesting, as Grate alluded to people or events and waited to see if Mager would realize that he was dropping breadcrumbs for her to follow, and as Mager decided what information she would let Grate know the police knew or would imply the police knew in order to get him reveal more details. Mager details the "justifications" and "excuses" that Grate gave for why certain women were tortured and killed; while he often acknowledged his guilt, and the wrongness of his actions, he also often blamed the women for what happened to them. Mager also highlights in the book the differences between Grate's portrayal of each victim and the "reality" of that victim based on those who knew her.

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A Hunger to Kill is the true-life account of Kim Mager, a Detective tasked with interviewing a man accused of kidnapping a local woman. Through Kim's skillful interviewing, it quickly became apparent that the police were dealing with a disturbed predator who had murdered and abused multiple women. In this book, Kim recounts her actions and interviews with Grate in order to help bring justice for the victims, closure for the families, and knowledge and awareness of how to stop those who commit atrocious crimes as these.

While this story may be infamous in Ohio, it was the first time I'd heard of this case. As someone who has read numerous true crime accounts over the past year, I was intrigued to hear a book told from the perspective of an investigating detective, particularly focusing on the interviews that took place after the arrest. I thought it was interesting to see how the police went about collecting a confession, and what it takes to get a suspect to trust and open up to a detective.

The book is very detailed in its recounting of the crimes and investigation, It can be graphic in its descriptions, but I appreciated the respect and level of care the author had for the victims.

While this was a chilling and informative non-fiction account, the narrative wasn't as seamless as I would have liked. The writing was okay but didn't grip me as deeply as I expected, and the back-and-forth between memoir / true crime occasionally made the book feel a little clunky. I don't mind memoir aspects to books like this as I think they lend authenticity to the author and give you a better understanding of what it's like to investigate these sorts of crimes, it just didn't seem to be fully fleshed out here.

Overall, I thought this was an interesting and intense book.

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Hunger to Kill is a gripping tale of a serial killer in northeast Ohio. A true story about how a small town detective solved the murders facing the killer day after day to learn his motive and how he operated. While the story kept my interest, the writing did not. My focus was kept on the true life story on how one human can maim another. I do hope that the editor tights the prose to make this a better read. 4.5 for the story; 2 for the writing.

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Wow, this was a suspenseful true crime book written by a seasoned detective. It takes you into the world of Shawn Grate, a disgusting person who took advantage of vulnerable women and ended their lives in a very heinous, disturbing way. You really feel for the investigators involved and can't believe the horror they had to endure cleaning out the main crime scene. It's unbelievable the lengths some people will go to to hurt hurt others. To hear how they recount crimes that leave us speechless in such a way that it's just like doing some mundane, meaningless task is absolutely disturbing. Kudos to Detective Kim Mager and her ability to foster trust with Grate so that he confessed to more murders than what was actually known. Also, if it had not been for a woman being strong enough to get away and call for help (the only known survivor of this monster), he could still be walking the streets murdering countless women. This story is just astonishing. Shawn Grate is the epitome of evil.

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As a true crime I found this was a book that was better than many I have read in the past. The book was very detailed. I wish I could of given it a higher rating

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I'm a huge fan of true crime but this one just didn't work for me. The author was certainly the key to unlock the confession and conviction of these horrendous crimes. However, the reader doesn't need to be reminded of this every other page. It almost read like a memoir rather than a true crime story. I felt the story was drawn out with tidbits that weren't necessary. The book is interesting but needs more polish - I found it difficult to finish. Finally - all good true crime books have pictures - this has none. Thanks to Netgalley for an advanced copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this book in exchange for an honest review.
The interviews with Grate were definitely shocking as he told of his killing of women. I really think the detective had a great approach to her interviewing process. Grate threw in clues along the way that she was mostly able to pick up on and get more information from Grate.

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On a quiet morning in 2016, the tranquility of small town Ashland, Ohio is shattered by a 911 call from a woman saying a man has taken her hostage. Not just any man, but serial killer Shawn Grate, tagged as “The Ladykiller.” After the young woman’s rescue and Grate’s arrest, the real story begins. Enter sex-crime investigator Detective Kim Mager. She interviews the victim before turning her attention to the killer. What follows is a series of interviews, a true cat-and-mouse game, that crack the killer and lead to his confession to five murders and multiple sexual assaults. This is a chilling first-hand account of those interviews. True crime fans will find this story fascinating, and disturbing.


DP Lyle, award-winning author of the Jake Longly and Cain/Harper thriller series

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While I do not feel this rose to 4 stars, it was also better than 3. I was disappointed that this turned out to be far more of a memoir than a true crime book. The author did a good job of weaving the material into a story but there was too much material about the author. It began to feel as though the author was the focal point ant not the crime or sociopath who committed the crimes. too much time was spent ensuring that the reader knew how skilled and adept the detective was. Overall, it was an entertaining read but there was too much self-promotion in this book. Background info is great in a true crime book but it should not detract from the focus or topic. True crime is a difficult genre when it comes to writing and the author did a good job with ensuring overall flow and connections between the collection of evidence. It would have been so much better if there was far less highlighting and self-touting of the author. Can't give 3.5 stars but that is essentially where it stands for me.

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