Book Review Blog, Episode Eight – The Christopher Killer : A Forensic Mystery.
Book Summary: Cameryn Mahoney is a 17-year-old high school student who is being raised by her dad while they both live with their grandmother in the small town of Silverton, Colorado. Cameryn has taken an interest in forensic science, which is fitting since her dad, Patrick, is the town’s coroner. Early in the story, Cameryn asks Patrick if she can be his assistant since he is overworked without help. He thinks it will be a good idea, and so the two leave to pick up a body from a hotel. Cameryn does so well with her first assignment that her dad calls her again for help with a possible murder victim. The body is lying face down, and Cameryn recognizes the victim when the Mahoneys turn the body over. While at the autopsy, Cameryn discovers a small St. Christopher medal on the victim’s body, which means the Christopher Killer claimed his fourth victim. To top it all off, a psychic claims he knew about the murder before the police found the body, so now he’s on his way to Silverton to assist the police with the investigation. Now, Cameryn faces an internal conflict because her beliefs in facts and science are being challenged by this psychic who knows things about her and the case that he shouldn’t. Can Cameryn solve the case to get justice for her friend, and can she do it before the Christopher Killer strikes again?
APA Reference: Ferguson, A. (2006). The Christopher killer : a forensic mystery. New York, NY: Viking.
Impressions: I finished the book in a day because of how well written and compelling it is. The characters are believable, the forensic science aspects are written factually without being gory or graphic (the author explains how she did her research for those parts of the book, including attending autopsies). The mystery of the Christopher Killer isn’t the only puzzle in the story, either. The new deputy is young and kind of shady, and Patrick hates him without telling Cameryn why. There is also the psychic and how he knows things he shouldn’t. It leaves the reader wondering if he actually has the gift of second sight, or is he just that good of a con artist. The ending, although very slightly farfetched, is still plausible, and Ferguson did not throw in an unknown factor to pin everything on; each answer has a reasonable explanation. I definitely enjoyed the book and will read the other three books in Ferguson’s Forensic Mystery series to see what happens to Cameryn as she continues her goal of becoming a forensic pathologist.
Professional Review: (2006, July). [Review of the book The Christopher Killer : A Forensic Mystery, by A. Ferguson]. Booklist 102, 21. Retrieved from https://www.booklistonline.com/
Gr. 7-10. Ferguson’s latest mystery-thriller introduces 17-year-old Cameryn Mahoney, who has the annoying habit of challenging her elders (most of whom seem to deserve it). She also has the unshakable desire to be a forensic pathologist–and a very strong stomach. The latter comes in handy during the autopsy of a friend, the latest victim of a serial killer whose signature is a St. Christopher’s medal left with each body. The vivid autopsy scenes are surprising, given the fairly routine story line and agreeable, though certainly not complex, characters. It’s Cammie’s energy and chutzpa [sic] that really propel the story, and readers will sympathize with her as she struggles to decide whether to keep faith with science or be sucked in by a charismatic psychic. This is worlds away from the Nancy Drew college series in terms of gore, but CSI fans won’t blink twice.
Library Uses: This book could be used to highlight realistic fiction, possible career choices, or it could be used to conduct some kind of library crime scene investigation.