Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Christopher Killer by Alane Ferguson

This novel tells the story of Cameryn who decides she wants to be a forensic pathologist and becomes the coroner's assistant just in time to work the latest murder of a serial killer known as the Christopher Killer. Even though she's just seventeen, Cameryn is able to get the job because her father is the coroner in a small town. Then, as if to complicate matters, the latest victim is a friend of Cameryn, Rachel. On top of that, there's Dr. Jewel, a man who talks to the dead and is able to communicate with the spirit of Rachel and therefore help the police in their investigation.
The story itself isn't bad. It's a good mystery and the supernatural link is an interesting twist. The description is also wonderful, even a bit morbid at describing a dead body. But the novel could be better in many ways. First, I'm partial to first person novels and since this story focused on Cameryn, it could have worked better at putting the reader in the character's shoes. She's going through so much conflict it might have been nice to get inside her head, rather than to see it second hand. At the same time, it was hard to feel sorrow over the loss of Rachel. Her character wasn't developed enough for us to feel anything over her loss. Not that we're supposed to shed a tear for her, but it was too obvious that it was her considering only two girls had been introduced besides Cameryn and she was with the other, so it had to be Rachel. It might have been nice to be a little bit more invested in the characters. At the same time, Rachel is one of four victims of this serial killer. Granted, the other victims happened in different states, but it would have been better to have known more about them. We don't even find out their names until close to the end of the book. While they have no relevance to Cameryn, it would have been nice to know more about them. It just seems too convenient that a newbie cracks such a big case, first time out. That's another thing that makes this novel too fictitious. While this is a small town and Cameryn is dedicated study of forensic pathologist and her dad is the coroner, a seventeen year old would most likely not be permitted to become a coroner assistant and assist in such a high profile case. And she seems to find all of the clues, as if the other people involved in the case are useless. It worked out too much for her. She's not Sherlock Holmes reincarnated, but she seems to be the only one capable of putting the pieces together. It just seems too easy that after three women have already been killed and investigated by professionals, it takes a young newbie to crack the case.
While this was a good book, it had the potential to be so much more. Maybe I'm a bit jaded due to this being my first YOUNG adult murder mystery, but just because it's for a younger audience doesn't mean it has to be less in depth.


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