The Christopher Killer by Alane Ferguson

Book Info
The Christopher Killer by Alane Ferguson
©2006 Sleuth Viking, New York, NY
ISBN 978-0670060085

Plot Summary
In the town of Silverton, Colorado, seventeen year-old Cammie is the daughter of the town Coroner. Cammie dreams of following in his footsteps to become a forensic pathologist and all but begs him to hire her as his assistant. Cammie’s father gives in, and ends up being very impressed by her observations and contributions to her first case and let’s her continue, but the next case is a little more serious. A serial killer is at work in Silverton, known as the Christopher Killer, and the latest victim is one of Cammie’s friends. Grieving her loss, Cammie dedicates herself to finding the killer, but must be careful to ensure that she doesn’t wind up the next victim.

Reader’s Annotation
Interested in a career in forensic pathology, Cammie is excited to finally be allowed to work as assistant to her father, the town coroner. But she may be in for more than she bargained for when she has to work on the case involving one of her friends who was murdered by a conniving serial killer known as the Christopher Killer. Will she be next?

Critical Evaluation
Gripping, suspenseful, and cleverly written, The Christopher Killer is like “CSI” for young adult literature. Ferguson’s writing keeps readers on the edge of their seats, searching their memories for clues and hints that might have been dropped and overlooked on previous pages. It is an interesting departure from your typical Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew book and I hadn’t ever encountered a mystery of this kind. I was very impressed by the unique premise in comparison to other books that are popular right now. I picked it up out of curiosity, and then could not put it down until I reached the end. I found myself constantly attempting to predict what would happen next, only to be taken in a completely different and shocking direction as each clue is uncovered. Aside from being smart with her clues and twists, Ferguson is also very vivid in her detail of describing autopsy scenes and forensics for readers that would be otherwise unfamiliar.

Information about the Author
Alane Ferguson is an author who has won the Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Mystery novel in 1990 for Show Me the Evidence. Ferguson was born in Cumberland, Maryland, in 1957. Her mother is children’s author Gloria Skurzynski.

Alane is the author of many novels and mysteries, including the Edgar Award winning Show Me The Evidence. She does very intensive research for her books by attending autopsies and interviewing forensic pathologists.

Visit the author’s website.

Mystery, Forensic Mystery, Crime, Drama

Curriculum Ties

Booktalking Ideas
Discuss Cammie’s relationship with her father.

Cammie must work on a case involving the death of one of her friends. In this situation, would you be able to rise above the personal involvement to work on the case professionally?

Reading Level/ Interest Age

Challenge Issues

  • Graphic imagery
  • Murder

Defense options

  • Be aware of your library’s collection development policy.
  • Be familiar with the material in question, and the context of the questionable content.
  • Assert the principles of the ALA Library Bill of Rights, and standards of intellectual freedom.
  • Consult online book reviews, and others who have read the book.

Why Included?
I came across this book while browsing books in the young adult section of my library, and found it to be a fairly unique concept and addition to the genre of mystery. I was eager to read it and see if it lived up to my hopeful expectation.