The Christopher Killer

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“This isn’t Rachael –it’s just what’s left of her. Her soul is gone. This is only the shell.” That is what Cameryn Mahoney, a character from Alane Ferguson’s The Christopher Killer, told herself as she helped perform an autopsy on her dead friend. The Christopher Killer is a novel that was published in 2005; it was published by the Penguin Group. The Christopher Killer was a satisfying novel that hooked me in the very beginning. I lost interest over and over, but I kept my interest at the end. The novel had a great story. I thought that it had a great story mainly because of its main character, how the author put a clairvoyant in the story, and the forensic information that was tied into the story. Parts of the story had also brought out some of my emotions such as sadness, excitement and most of all, nausea.

The story first starts with a man who was found dead. When the dead man was found, the authorities called the town coroner. The town coroner is the father of Cameryn Mahoney; Cameryn Mahoney is the main character. The story is told in Cameryn’s perspective. In the words of her father, Cameryn is “…not like the other girls –she’s twice as smart as most and half as squeamish as the rest” (28). Cameryn has “…got a mind to go into forensics” (28). When her father prepares to go investigate the crime scene and check out the body, Cameryn begs her father to let her be his assistant. He responds to Cameryn with a “No”. Next, they eat breakfast with Cameryn’s grandmother. As they eat breakfast, Cameryn’s grandmother talks about how Cameryn shouldn’t go into forensics and how she should be more womanly. After an unpleasant breakfast, Cameryn’s father finally accepts Cameryn’s proposal for her to be his assistant. After experiencing her first look at a crime scene and a dead body, Cameryn hears that a T.V. clairvoyant has been talking to the spirit of a dead girl. The dead girl told the clairvoyant that she was murdered and her body was left in the mountains by a body of water. Cameryn doesn’t believe that this situation is real. Later, Cameryn’s father gets a phone call and he was told that the body of a young girl was found up in the mountains. When Cameryn and her father arrive at the scene, they turn the body over. Looking at the face of the victim, Cameryn realizes that the victim is someone who she holds dearly to her heart. With justice in her soul, Cameryn is determined to find her friend’s killer. She makes inferences and pieces together information in order to solve the mystery.

First off, I’d like to say that the reason why I got hooked to the story in the beginning was because it started off with something exciting. It started off with the report of a man who was found dead. I mean, I can’t think of anybody who wouldn’t want to read even a little bit more into any writing that began like that. As I read into the story, I lost interest on and off because of how I felt as I read it. A little while after reading the part when Cameryn and her father checked out the body in the mountains, I felt like the story was going by pretty slowly and that there was no point to what was just happening in the story. Those slow parts of the story were when the author put in suspects to divert your eyes from the real killer. Bravo! That was a really good idea! The author put in diversions during the time the reader is at their slowest! Alane Ferguson did a fabulous job of making diversions. I could never really tell who the real killer was. As the story goes on, it gets really exciting; new pieces of information come up and the pace of the story seems to get faster. Then the story gets slower again when Cameryn tries to look or clues. I guess I held my interest in the end because I wanted to know who the real killer was and what would happen to Cameryn. I love the main character in the story. I felt like I could relate to her a little. Cameryn Mahoney, She’s a teenage girl who is a little bit different from the other girls. She’s been told that she shouldn’t become what she wants to be, but she goes for it anyways. The author probably used this character to attract more readers to the book. It seems like the audience for this book points towards teenage females. I think that any teen age girl would like to read a story where the protagonist is a bit like them and goes through the same things as they do. I also liked how the author put the character, a clairvoyant named Jewel, into the story. It was unique and unusual. It shocked me because it is not the usual thing to see some sort of psychic in a forensic mystery or any science related thing for that matter. It’s different from other stories. Now come my emotions. The first emotion that I strongly felt was sadness. I felt sadness because the body that was found in the mountains was a person that Cameryn cared for very much. Then sympathy came to me; I felt so sorry for Cameryn that I teared up. After that I felt excitement. I felt excitement when the pace of the story got faster. I also felt excited after I found out that I was wrong about two characters in the story. One opinion that I had about one particular character was that this character was an overconfident jerk, but in the end I found out that the character was actually one of the good guys. Now for the other character, I thought that this character was of the heroes, but the character turned out to be a lying, cheating and heartless backstabber! I was excited after this because I knew that only surprises were soon to follow and I like surprises. Alane Ferguson did a nice job of making the unexpected jump at you. At some points in the story I found myself overwhelmed by excitement and a surprised feeling that I yelled, “No way!” and “ Oh, my gosh!”. The one thing that the author does best in this novel is the imagery; the imagery is the reason that I felt nausea. I could see the part when Cameryn had been describing the dead body on her first assignment. “A hundred or more flies walked delicately along the flesh of the exposed limb. The body looked bloated and grotesque, more surreal than human” (36). “His neck rested against the edge of the tub and his chin dropped open so that his bottom teeth showed. The eyes were open and sunken; more flies crawled over the vacant pupils that stared like bits of dusty glass’ (36). Another part that made me feel nausea was when Cameryn was thinking about her next case. Cameryn “…knew that a body would decompose fast in the heat.” And that “…later maggots would emerge, depending on the temperature and humidity levels, which meant precious evidence could be lost quickly” (72). I think that particular part had good forensic information in it. Another part of the story that had good forensic information was when Dr. Moore was performing an autopsy and he told Cameryn that the first thing they do in an autopsy is the classic “Y incision” (127).

All in all, I found The Christopher Killer to be a satisfactory book. It had me hooked in the beginning, but then I lost interest on and off because the story either went by slow or started to get exciting. It had interesting characters, amazing imagery, brought out some of my emotions and had great forensic information. I would definitely recommend The Christopher Killer to anyone, but only if they had patience and a stomach of steel.





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