Bibliographic information: The Christopher Killer: A Forensic Mystery. Alane Ferguson. Viking, 2006. $15.99. 274p. ISBN-13: 9780670060085.
Summary: Cameryn dreams of becoming a forensic scientist. Her father is the local coroner for small town she lives in, so after some persuasion he decides to make Cameryn his assistant so that she can have some hands on experience in the field. Her first case goes as well as anyone would expect, however soon enough she is put on case where he friend has been murdered, and they suspect it was the Christopher Killer, the known serial killer going around. Cameryn is determined to find the killer before he strikes again.
Reading level and interest level: RL: 12 and up IL: grade 7 and up
Review: This book is written with gruesome details that make it hard to put down because you can’t wait for the next gory detail to come. Ferguson leads the reader on a chase for a killer that is most unexpected. Cameryn is a bold and realistic heroine who will encourage other teens to follow their dreams to become whatever they want. Each character is uniquely crafted to add intrigue, depth and appeal to the story. This is a great first installment to the Forensic Mysteries and recommended to all murder mystery fans.
Readers’ annotation: There is a killer on the loose and Cameryn’s friend has just been murdered. She has taken it upon herself to track down the elusive Christopher Killer who took her friend’s life.
Bibliotherapeutic usefulness: This book has death, gore, and a serial killer. All of these things would be helpful to a teen to face their fears. These are very real things that happen in the world and having books that mention them and discuss them in detail is helpful to young readers state of mind. They will be able to read the book and gain some insight into the topics and understand that their fears are very real, but manageable.
Issues present: This book has very detailed descriptions of dead and decaying bodies, and it also has a serial killer. People might object to the violent and gruesome nature of the book and they may believe that a book with a serial killer would be to scary for young readers. However, sometimes it is a good thing to have a book that will help teens fight there fears of very real issues.
Booktalk ideas: Introduce Cameryn’s character.
P. 3 – last paragraph, ends on p. 4. Describes main character.
P. 36 – last paragraph, ends on p. 37. Gruesome details to make you morbidly curious.
Genre or subject: Mystery, serial killer, forensics
Readalikes: Other novels by Ferguson, I Hunt Killers, Paper Valentine
Author’s website: http://www.alaneferguson.com/
Awards: South Carolina Book Award Nominee for Young Adult Book Award (2009), Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee (2010)
Reviews: School Library Journal: http://bookverdict.com/details.xqy?uri=Product-3270743.xml; Booklist: http://www.booklistonline.com/The-Christopher-Killer-A-Forensic-Mystery-Alane-Ferguson/pid=1695407
Why I chose it: I was searching for books on serial killers and came across this title. I thought the forensic side of the murders would be interesting to read about.