Christopher Killer: Forensic Mystery 1

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Overview

Fascinated by forensics, seventeen-year-old Cameryn Mahoney persuades her father, the county coroner in sleepy Silverton, CO, to take her on as his assistant. But she never expects her first case to involve the death of a friend! Rachel Geller, a beautiful young waitress, is found strangled in a field with a Christopher medal around her neck—clearly marking her as the fourth victim of a serial killer. Cameryn is determined to help find Rachel’s killer, and attending the autopsy gives her the first clue. But as ...

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2006 Hardcover First Edition; Second Printing New in New dust jacket 0670060089. Book and DJ are New, first edition, second printing, Laurie 9, ; 7.60 X 5.30 X 1.20 inches; 288 ... pages. Read more Show Less

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Overview

Fascinated by forensics, seventeen-year-old Cameryn Mahoney persuades her father, the county coroner in sleepy Silverton, CO, to take her on as his assistant. But she never expects her first case to involve the death of a friend! Rachel Geller, a beautiful young waitress, is found strangled in a field with a Christopher medal around her neck—clearly marking her as the fourth victim of a serial killer. Cameryn is determined to help find Rachel’s killer, and attending the autopsy gives her the first clue. But as she follows her instincts and gets closer to the killer, Cameryn suddenly finds herself on the verge of becoming his fifth victim!

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Wendy M. Smith-D'Arezzo
Cameryn Mahoney lives with her father and grandmother in a quiet Colorado town. She hangs with her best friend and studies hard so she can become a forensic pathologist. Her father just happens to be the town coroner and he finally agrees to take Cameryn on as his assistant. She nearly loses it when she sees her first dead body, but Cammy is determined to do this work, so she goes back for more. The second body proves to be more of a challenge because it is one of her friends who has been murdered. The suspects include a Goth-like school friend and a nationally known psychic who has predicted the murder and discovery of the body. Cameryn is thrown off the scent at first, but eventually figures out the tricks used by the murderer and ends up almost becoming the next victim. Characters are very likable and the author does an excellent job of developing a sub story involving Cammy's mother and the reason for her absence from their lives. Relationships between adults and teens as well as between the teens themselves are believable. More "Cameryn Mahoney" mysteries are promised, and readers will be waiting for them.
VOYA
As the daughter of the county coroner in a peaceful Colorado mountain town, seventeen-year-old Cameryn Mahoney develops an interest in forensic pathology and convinces her father to hire her as his assistant. When a body found in the forest turns into a murder case matching the patterns of a serial killer, Cameryn experiences the roughest elements of the job against the wishes of her Irish grandmother, who believes her grandchild should learn domestic skills instead. The work of Cameryn and her father is complicated by a slick new sheriff's deputy and a famous television psychic and his entourage who come to town to assist with the case. By the end of the story, more than just the identity of the killer is revealed. Ferguson's portrait of forensic work is informative and should create interest in the field among readers. The descriptions of decomposing corpses can be gruesome, and Cameryn reacts realistically when she first faces them. She is determined to succeed and to prove herself to a skeptical medical examiner and her grandmother. At times, the book appears scattered; there are too many story lines, and they might have been better left for a sequel or developed more. Still the book is suspenseful and engrossing. VOYA CODES: 3Q 4P M J (Readable without serious defects; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2006, Sleuth/Viking, 288p., Ages 11 to 15.
—Jenny Ingram
VOYA - Rebecca Moreland
The Christopher Killer drags the reader along a terrifying journey through the darkest parts of the human mind-and the forensic process of a murder. The book centers on an action-filled plot that follows Cameryn as she attempts to solve a high-profile murder in her small town, while addressing such issues as manipulation, suggestion, mistrust, and courage. Mainly, though, this story delves into the world of forensic pathology, adds details where it furthers the plot, and is a study of human feelings and interactions.
VOYA - Jenny Ingram
As the daughter of the county coroner in a peaceful Colorado mountain town, seventeen-year-old Cameryn Mahoney develops an interest in forensic pathology and convinces her father to hire her as his assistant. When a body found in the forest turns into a murder case matching the patterns of a serial killer, Cameryn experiences the roughest elements of the job against the wishes of her Irish grandmother, who believes her grandchild should learn domestic skills instead. The work of Cameryn and her father is complicated by a slick new sheriff's deputy and a famous television psychic and his entourage who come to town to assist with the case. By the end of the story, more than just the identity of the killer is revealed. Ferguson's portrait of forensic work is informative and should create interest in the field among readers. The descriptions of decomposing corpses can be gruesome, and Cameryn reacts realistically when she first faces them. She is determined to succeed and to prove herself to a skeptical medical examiner and her grandmother. At times, the book appears scattered; there are too many story lines, and they might have been better left for a sequel or developed more. Still the book is suspenseful and engrossing.
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-When aspiring forensic pathologist Cameryn Mahoney convinces her father, the county coroner of Silverton, CO, to hire her as his assistant, she has no idea that one of the first deaths she will investigate will be that of her friend, Rachel Geller. Rachel is the fourth victim of a serial killer who strangles his victims and leaves a St. Christopher medal on their bodies. The teen must put aside her emotional response to the murder in order to evaluate the information clinically. In her relentless pursuit of the truth, Cameryn puts herself in danger of becoming the fifth victim of the Christopher Killer. Teachers and librarians who are trying to reach their television-junkie reluctant readers should look no further; this novel reads like an episode of CSI. Each scene lends itself to a mental picture straight from some crime-fighting show. The narrative gallops through a story line that is as engaging as it is implausible. Suspension of disbelief is made easy by the well-researched scientific tidbits sprinkled throughout the text, lending an air of credibility. There is the sense that this is a pilot episode with people that readers will see again as the series progresses, so the characters feel introduced rather than fully developed. Despite these flaws, this is an enjoyable read that teens will appreciate.-Heather M. Campbell, Philip S. Miller Library, Castle Rock, CO Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670060085
  • Publisher: Viking Juvenile
  • Publication date: 5/4/2006
  • Series: Forensic Mystery Series , #1
  • Pages: 288
  • Age range: 12 - 14 Years
  • Lexile: HL800L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.46 (w) x 7.76 (h) x 1.05 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter Five

“YOU GUYS DON’T HAVE TO wait here with me,” Cameryn said, drumming the steering wheel nervously. “The bell’s going to ring any second, and . . . I don’t know, I just . . .” She didn’t finish the sentence. It felt like she couldn’t string her words together, or worse, her thoughts. It was hard to make anything inside her head line up. Instead, her syllables spun like autumn leaves caught in a whirligig of air. It was all the crazy talk of Jewel that was making her think sideways. She had to pull herself together.

“Don’t worry about me; I don’t care if I’m late,” Adam announced from the backseat. “I mean, I’m still trying to take it all in. Somebody’s dead.” He shook his head and exclaimed, “Man. It’s just like Jewel said last night.”

“We don’t know that—right now we don’t know anything except someone died. And, you guys know not to say anything to anyone at school, right?” Cameryn said for the third time. “Remember, my dad said he didn’t want reporters showing up. It’s still a crime scene. We’ve got to get it all sorted out.”

“We already promised we wouldn’t say a word,” Lyric replied. “Don’t worry, we’ll keep our mouths shut. But, you do realize this is going to be a Christopher killing. When the media catches wind of what happened, it’s going to get crazy. You need to prepare yourself.”

“It’s not the Christopher Killer,” Cameryn said, her voice sharp. “Okay, it’s a possible murder—and I say possible because we haven’t even been to the scene yet to know for sure—but that doesn’t mean it’s the murder. I mean, you just made a huge leap in logic. I want to stick to facts.”

“The fact is this—a murdered girl in the mountains is just what Dr. Jewel saw in his vision,” Lyric told her calmly. “The orange soil. The body by water. I don’t care if you believe me now or not, because you will believe as soon as you get there.”

But Cameryn would hear none of it. “Statistically, there have been lots of murders since Jewel made his prediction. And by the way, where was Dr. Jewel when he ‘saw’ all this, anyway?”

“New Mexico,” Adam answered. From his coat pocket he pulled out a cigarette and rolled it between his hands. Cameryn turned in her seat so she could watch him. “You’re not going to light that, are you?” she asked.

Adam shook his head. “See, right now Jewel’s holding a live psychic convention down there in Santa Fe. But you can’t let the distance throw you, because with mediums, space and time and all of those existential limitations no longer exist. It’s still hard to get my head around this. I knew Jewel had power, but I got to admit this is freaking weird.” He stopped rolling his cigarette and looked up through his curtain of hair. “Do you think the dead girl is someone from Silverton?”

Her heart skipped a beat. “No way,” she said. Cameryn didn’t know why she was so sure, but she was. “It’s got to be a tourist. We’ve still had a lot of people coming up on the train since the weather’s been so good. It’ll be an out-of-towner. And I’m getting out of the car—I think I need some air.”

As if on cue, the three of them spilled out of the car. It was harder for Adam. He exited legs-first, unfolding himself, piece by piece, as though he were a piece of collapsible gear that needed to be reassembled outside its box. Lyric reached around him to grab her backpack, and when she did, she accidentally bumped against him. “Sorry,” she said softly.

Crossing her arms, Cameryn leaned against the side of the Jeep and waited. It was only eight thirty and already the air was warming up. October weather in Silverton could be schizophrenic. The last few days had brought cool temperatures in the mornings and evenings only, when the sky was still purple-blue and the stars mere pricks of pale light. The middle of the day, however, had been uncharacteristically warm. The higher than normal temperatures, she knew, would make her father’s job—her job—that much harder.

She knew a body would decompose fast in the heat. Insects, especially blowflies, honed in on their mark within hours and laid their eggs into any available flesh. That was the science of it. A short while later maggots would emerge, a wriggling white mass capable of stripping a corpse to the bone within weeks, depending on temperature and humidity levels, which meant precious evidence could be lost quickly.

And that wasn’t even factoring in the animal activity that would inevitably occur when a body was left in the wild. Mentally she tried to prepare herself for what she might see, but how could she steel her insides for what lay at Smith Fork? Was it only last week that she’d seen the man in the bathtub? It seemed like a lifetime ago that she’d retched from the smell. Today, Cameryn realized, could be much, much worse.

Adam lit his cigarette with a plastic lighter, politely blowing the smoke away from Cameryn. His smoking irritated her. She wished the two of them would leave, but at the same time she liked them there with her—just one more contradictory set of emotions to sort through. The warning bell rang, followed by the bell signaling the start of school, and still her father had not come.

“What’s taking your dad so long?” Lyric asked, tapping her foot into the dirt. “I thought he was rushing right over to pick you up.”

Cameryn shrugged. “He might have stopped to get a white body bag. They’re supposed to use white ones when it’s a murder. That’s what the books say, anyway.” “Why white?” Adam asked. Already he was working on a second cigarette. A bit of paper had stuck to his bottom lip, which he carefully pinched off.

“Because evidence left inside the bag is easier to spot.”

Adam nodded. He took a drag and exhaled. “Man, how do you know this stuff?”

“I read,” she answered. “I study. I focus on things you can see, taste, smell, and test. Then I throw in a rosary for Mammaw and I’m good to go.”

“And they say I’m twisted.”

At that moment Patrick’s station wagon whipped around the corner and into the parking lot. From the way he clutched the steering wheel she could tell he was upset. “Dad!” she cried, waving frantically. “Over here!”

When he saw her he flipped a U-turn in front of the school, so close his wheel bounced up on the curb. He slowed down as he approached them. The passenger-side window was already down, and he scooped the air with his hand, ordering her in. “Come on, they’re waiting for us!”

A jolt of electricity shot through Cameryn as she hopped inside the car and buckled up. Adam and Lyric gave a wave as the station wagon pulled away. She watched them as they grew smaller in the distance, Adam, as tall and thin as a poplar tree next to Lyric’s full evergreen frame. Lyric’s backpack slumped between them like a tired dog.

The station wagon turned onto Greene, and soon the car was heading south along the Million Dollar Highway, so named because it cost the state well over a million dollars to carve it into the high mountains. Patrick said nothing; his posture behind the wheel was ramrod straight, and his head grazed the ceiling of the car, bending his hair back like the bristles of an old scrub brush.

“I’m sorry to make you miss school,” he said. “I almost didn’t call you, but since it’s a murder, well, I need all the help I can get.”

“It’s okay, Dad. You know I’ve got all As. So do they know who it is?” she asked.

Patrick shook his head. “Not yet. With all the tourists running around it’s most likely one of them and . . . well, it’s bad no matter who it is, right? Jacobs said the victim appears young.” Shaking his head, he looked as though he were trying the clear his thoughts. “But we’ve got to get to business. I’ve brought two cameras—one’ll take color and the other black and white. So here’s what I want you to do: I want you to photograph the body from every conceivable angle using both the cameras—color first. That’ll be important.” He rubbed a hand over his chin. “It’s been years since I’ve done homicide and I’m trying to remember every single step. The cameras and other supplies are in that knapsack in the back. Can I put you in charge?”

Cameryn nodded. She’d taken many photographs in her life, just never of something so grim.

“Good. I’ve got to admit it, I’m glad you’re with me.” He wore a long-sleeved plaid shirt beneath a navy bomber jacket. Patrick tugged at the collar of his shirt and then, with one hand, unfastened the top button. “The way you handled yourself with Robertson, Cam, well, you were a real professional. I have total faith in you. And it sure doesn’t hurt that you’ve been reading up on forensics. I could use some of that expertise.”

If she hadn’t been so preoccupied with the murder she might have cringed at the compliment. When faced with Robertson’s body the second time around she’d been able to hold her emotions in check. The difference was in knowing what was in front of her, of being mentally steeled. Stone-faced, she’d photographed the body, and both her father and Jacobs thought her a natural investigator, which she’d let them believe. And Justin, true to his promise, never said a word. But that was a different death, a different reason. This was a murder.

Now they fell into silence. She looked out of the station wagon, to the pines that marched straight up the granite mountain in an endless evergreen army. The trees were thick at Smith Fork, and Cameryn suddenly wondered if there was blood there. And if that blood soaked into the earth to disappear like water into sand, what then? Were they supposed to dig it out? Her books hadn’t told her anything about that—they probably hadn’t told her about a lot of things. She pictured blood and suddenly she had a strange thought: What happened to the blood they couldn’t reach? Would the tree roots drink up the blood molecules? If the roots leeched the blood, then the victim might become part of the trees themselves and live again, like the circle of life that Lyric always talked about. Or was it like her mammaw told her—when you died, your spirit soared to heaven and you lived on streets paved with gold? Or were you just dead, like the deer she saw strapped to big pickup trucks that rumbled through Silverton every fall.

Robertson had looked plain dead. The old lady had looked peaceful, sleeping, and thinking of that face Cameryn could believe in some kind of angelic rest. But what happened with a murder, when a soul was ripped out of a body and the person wasn’t ready? Cameryn squeezed her eyes shut; it seemed as though her mind was jumping sideways again. She had to get a grip, to think clinically instead of emotionally. She’d be no good at all if she didn’t get her thoughts clear.

On her right she saw a sheet of water weeping from slick rock, and past that a wall of stone where the mountain had been sheared off as if by a giant’s knife. Smith Fork, and the body it contained, was less than a mile ahead. She chewed on the edge of her lip. “You’re mighty quiet there, Cammie.”

“I was just thinking.”

“About what?”

“Something Lyric told me. She said a psychic in New Mexico talked to the spirit of a girl who was murdered near a stream, and now this has happened, and, well . . .” She looked at him, eyes wide. “Dad, do you think . . .? ”

“There are lots of murders and lots of streams. The only fact that’s real is that there’s a dead girl out there. Lyric’s a sweetheart and I love her, but don’t be dancing to her song. One colorful seventeen-year-old in Silverton’s enough. And who was that other kid with you? I don’t remember seeing him before.”

“His name’s Adam.”

“Oh, so that’s Adam. I’ve heard about him.”

“Tell me about Sheriff Jacob’s call,” she said, changing the subject. “I figure it can’t be one of us locals or he’d have identified her.”

“Except the victim’s lying facedown.”

“Didn’t he turn her over?”

“No. Remember, he can’t move the body until I get there.”

Cameryn swallowed. “Was she shot?”

“Doesn’t appear so. Jacobs said he didn’t see any obvious signs of trauma.” “Well if she’s facedown and there’s no bullet hole then how does he know it’s a murder?”

Her father waited a beat before replying, “Her hands were tied behind her back. Duct tape.”

“Oh,” she said. Picturing it, she felt almost paralyzed inside. “Well.”

“Oh well is right, Cammie. From this point on everything we do will become evidentiary, which means there’ll be a lot of pressure to do it right. Obviously, there will be an autopsy. And even though I know it’ll be hard, I’ll say it again—I’m mighty glad to have you with me. You’ve got great instincts.” Her father glanced at his watch. “It’s been over half an hour since the call came in. Jacobs is having a fit while he waits on me, but, technically I own the body so he’s stuck till I show. I’ll have to buy him a beer when it’s over.”

“A beer?” Cameryn’s eyes widened. “It’s still morning!”

“It won’t be when we’re done. We won’t be getting the body to Durango before three o’clock.”

Hesitating, she asked, “Is Deputy Crowley with him?”

Her father’s voice cooled. “Don’t know. I didn’t ask.”

Patrick took a hard right onto a narrow dirt road, one Cameryn wasn’t sure the station wagon could easily handle. Had it only been this morning that she’d complained about Silverton’s dirt roads? Those streets in town were graded almost every month in order to remain smooth and hard-packed, but Smith Fork was one step from wild. Now she bumped along like a rodeo rider on a bull, pitching back and forth so hard her teeth jarred. If they had to park and walk, it would take time, and, Cameryn realized, it would be harder still to carry the body back to their wagon on a stretcher.

She need not have worried, though, because soon the sheriff’s SUV loomed into view. His lights were flashing blue and red onto a knot of people who stood to one side. A woman with a blanket around her shoulders looked like she was crying while Justin, pad and pen in hand, scratched down information.

After he parked, her father pulled a large case from the bay of the station wagon while Cameryn grabbed the black knapsack from the backseat. When they shut the car doors, the sound echoed off the face of a nearby mountain; it sounded like gunshots.

Yellow tape had been tied to the base of some trees in a huge, lopsided square, at least four hundred feet on each side including the opposite side of the stream. In the square, standing dead center was John Jacobs. His body was positioned at an odd angle. Leaning forward from his waist, hands pressed to his face, his elbows akimbo like a pair of coat hangers, he held something to his eye. Cameryn quickly realized he held a camera, but she could see only a patch of wheatgrass shimmering in the sun. The body must have been directly beneath Sheriff Jacobs’s camera lens.

“John, we’re here,” her father called, waving his arm.

Sheriff Jacobs looked up, acknowledged their presence with a quick nod, then went back to snapping pictures.

Their shoes scuffed through the dirt as they made their way toward the crime scene. Two women dressed in hiking gear stood miserably to one side, waiting for the woman in the blanket to finish with Crowley. They eyed Cameryn as she got closer but said nothing. Cameryn could hear the woman in the blanket speak between sobs.

“ . . . and then there she was! I almost walked right on top of her when I saw her leg and at first I thought it was just a mannequin. Then I realized it was a real person and so me and my friends, we called 911 right away—thank God we had a cell phone—and then Sophie started to faint and Amanda caught her. I mean you see death on television but it’s different when it’s real. That girl—just lying there facedown in the dirt. How could anyone do this to another human being? It’s terrible . . . just terrible.” The woman blew her nose, and Crowley patted her shoulder awkwardly. He looked at Cameryn, but Cameryn pretended not to see. She was still embarrassed from their last meeting, and more than a little intrigued. It was best not to let him know, so she kept her gaze straight ahead.

They were only twenty feet away from Sheriff Jacobs when Cameryn heard Justin call out to her father.

Patrick stopped and Cameryn stopped with him. Turning abruptly, her father said, “Yes?”

The wind had been blowing, which caused Crowley’s hair to fall across his forehead in tousled locks. He jerked his head at Cameryn. “Sir, do you think this is wise?”

“Excuse me, I’m doing my job,” Cameryn replied, annoyed by his condescension. “I’m assistant to the coroner, remember?”

Crowley kept his gaze on her father. “I’m sure you already realize that this isn’t a natural—we’re dealing with a murder. I think it’s too strong for the young lady to see.”

“Young lady?” Now she was indignant. “Are you serious?”

Her father’s eyes flashed. “What I do with my own family is none of your concern, Deputy, although you seem to think otherwise. My daughter is here in an official capacity. Now if you’ll excuse us, we’ve got work to do. I suggest you do the same. Come on, Cammie.”

Justin dug his hands into his pockets. “All right, all right, I understand, but I just need to speak to Cameryn for just one—”

“I said we’re done!” Her father bit off every word.

Patrick marched ahead and jerked up the yellow tape, allowing Cameryn to duck under first. With a smooth motion he slid under as well, leaving Justin on the other side. She wanted him to stay there. There was not enough room in her head to deal with murder and Justin Crowley so she let the yellow ribbon do the work for her. Thoughts of Justin would stay on the other side of her mind, cordoned off by the strip of plastic tape. There was no more room for games.

“Don’t get too close to the body until I tell you,” Patrick warned. “From now on everything counts.”

Cameryn said nothing. She was glad he couldn’t hear the hammering of her heart. Twenty feet away a murder victim lay in the grass, and Cameryn was part of the case, a part of the team that could put the pieces together. It was exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. She could feel her hands begin to tremble so she clenched them, hard. This was what she’d been working for, what she’d wanted. Blowflies buzzed through the grass like tiny vultures while birds chirped overhead, ready to eat the flies that ate the girl. Cameryn steeled herself now; she was a link in the chain that would hang the criminal who did this, and she was glad.

And then she saw the body.

The first thing she noticed were the shoes—regular Nikes like Cameryn and all her friends wore, but the girl’s feet seemed especially awkward, as if she were a ballerina dancing on pointe. The victim’s hands had been tied behind her with duct tape, and her fingers, white as marble, curled like claws. Long, brown hair ended in the middle of her back in a perfect line, as if it had been combed after death, and her face was hidden by a fringe of wild grass. She wore jeans and a T-shirt. A bracelet twinkled from her wrist. From her size and the kind of clothes she wore, Cameryn guessed her to be about her age. About her age and dead. A chill spread inside her and she looked at the grass near her feet.

“Took you long enough,” was Sheriff Jacobs’s greeting. “I didn’t touch the body, didn’t even go into her pockets. We need to go by the book.”

“Let me get some pictures before we move anything. Cammie?”

At the sound of her name, Cameryn snapped her head up.

“Start with color.”

“Oh. Right. Sure.”

Numb, Cameryn reached into the knapsack and brought out the Canon. Focusing on the shoes, she began to snap one picture, then another, like an automated robot. Emotions surged through her in rapid succession—horror, fascination, fear, curiosity, and yet most of all anger. It welled up like bile in her throat—no one deserved to die this way, trussed like an animal and left in the wild. Snap, snap, snap. She began to take the pictures more rapidly now.

“Did you get an ID on her?” Cameryn’s father asked Jacobs.

“I already told you I didn’t touch her. Procedure, remember?”

“Uh-huh. I think I need to bag her hands before we do anything else. I don’t want to lose trace evidence.”

Patrick placed a medium-sized paper bag around the victim’s hands and secured it with a large rubber band. He had to use paper, Cameryn knew, because plastic could cause any trace evidence to degrade.

More pictures, and then Cameryn switched to the black-and-white. Her father and the sheriff talked and wrote down notes. Deputy Crowley was beginning to sweep the grass with a metal detector, his brow furrowed in concentration. Police from Durango were on the way to help secure the crime scene, Jacobs told them, and they’d have more folks sweeping for whatever they could find. The three women stood at the yellow tape line, watching, like cattle behind a fence. Her father put on gloves and searched the girl’s back jeans pockets for ID but found nothing; finally he declared it was time to roll the body over. By now, Deputy Crowley had joined them. He tried to look at Cameryn, but she refused to meet his gaze.

“Ready?” her father asked.

Jacobs nodded and placed his hands carefully under the corpse’s shoulders while Justin put his hands beneath her hip. Her father held the head.

“One, two, three!” Patrick said. “Careful, now.”

The body was stiff, in full rigor, and as it rolled the hair fell forward to cover the face in a chestnut-colored web; gently, her father removed it, and then his eyes grew wide. “Oh, no,” he said. “Oh, God, please no.”

And then Cameryn saw the perfect oval face and the eyes staring blankly, and she felt her hand fly to her mouth and tears blurred her vision until she couldn’t see anymore.

“Oh, my God!” she cried. “That’s Rachel!”

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 22 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 27, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Jennifer Wardrip, aka "The Genius" for TeensReadToo.com

    In the quiet, small town of Silverton, Colorado, eighteen-year-old Cameryn Mahoney is planning to follow in her father's footsteps and pursue a career in forensic pathology. Her dad, the unassuming yet efficient Pat Mahoney, is the local county coroner, and Cameryn is determined to follow his lead--much to the chagrin and near-disgust of her Mammaw. Cameryn's grandmother is convinced that her "love" of death and dying, and her insistence on not becoming a "real" doctor, along with her inability to cook, will lead her down the wrong path. <BR/><BR/>But Cameryn is determined, and she's also thrilled when she finally talks her dad into letting her assist him. After all, sure, the county coroner does deal with death occasionally, but they haven't had an actual murder in decades, so her father figures there can't be any harm in letting his daughter tag along to scenes or assist with autopsies. Unfortunately, he was wrong. <BR/><BR/>There has been a murder in this sleepy Rocky Mountain town. And it's not just the murder of a stranger, but Cameryn's friend, Rachel Geller. Added to that is the fact that it's not a random murder, but seems to be part of a serial killer's spree. The murderer always leaves a St. Christopher medal on the victim's body, thus earning him the moniker The Christopher Killer. As Cameryn sets out to assist her father, she suddenly finds herself drawn into a murder investigation. As the police in this small town search for clues as to who may have murdered the lovely Rachel, Cameryn is determined to start putting her knowledge of forensics to good use. <BR/><BR/>This is a great book, similar to the style and stories of the television show CSI. If you're interested in forensics or just like watching the process on television, you're going to thoroughly enjoy the mystery that is THE CHRISTOPHER KILLER. Not to mention the fact that this is just the beginning of a new series, so there will be more books starring Cameryn down the road! The other great thing about the book, besides its excellent characters, dialogue, and storyline, is the fact that even though it's a mystery that deals with murder, it's a good fit even for middle-school readers. You won't go wrong picking up a copy of this first book in the FORENSIC MYSTERY series!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2008

    Lacking.

    I picked up this book thinking it would be an interesting read. What a let down, for one thing- I couldn't connect with the characters in the story. This is essential for any good book. I also had the mystery solved by chapter 5. I wouldn't suggest this one if you're looking for a deep mystery or thriller. If you're a big CSI fan you might enjoy it, otherwise you might be better off with another series.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2008

    Weirdly detached.....

    This book was ok, the characters seemed not quite right, most being detached from the story. They didnt portray it well. The killer was a big disssapointment, again, unattached. The story line was basically good, but the actual story focused more on her life problems than anything & it became slightly boring.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2008

    Christopher Killer

    At the beginning of the book, it was boring. It took a while to get into the book. The story was about a 17-year-old wanting to become a forensic pathologist. She started to work with her father and becomes a key role to the police. The ending surprised me and was exciting. I would of never of guessed who really was the Christopher Killer. The book was very descriptive when it talked about the autopsy. But it just started too slow, which made it harder to read. I have actually tried to read another book from this author. But like The Christopher Killer it had a slow beginning and just had to put it down this time. I would say that would be the worst part of the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2008

    A Satisfying Read

    This enthralling tale is a good read, but it took me a while to get into the story. In the first few chapters, the introductions seem like nothing but meaningless descriptions. In the middle of the book when the plot develops, I had to go back to the introductions and read them again to find each character¿s information. Towards the middle, the plot gets interesting and takes unexpected twists. It leaves you wondering who to believe. The climax is intriguing, but maybe not quite as gripping as it could have been. After completing the story, I felt the suspect was a bit too obvious. In the development, the suspect fades into the background, but then as the story moves along your suspicions are revived. I found myself saying, ¿I knew it!¿ Overall, it is a book good enough to make me read the sequel, so I have to say at the end of the first, I wanted to read the second.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2008

    good book

    this was a good book! Here is a detail of the book a girl helping her dad solve the mysteries but her grandma does not think its a good idea. You should read the book for more it is really good!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2007

    Courtesy of Teens Read Too

    In the quiet, small town of Silverton, Colorado, eighteen-year-old Cameryn Mahoney is planning to follow in her father's footsteps and pursue a career in forensic pathology. Her dad, the unassuming yet efficient Pat Mahoney, is the local county coroner, and Cameryn is determined to follow his lead--much to the chagrin and near-disgust of her Mammaw. Cameryn's grandmother is convinced that her 'love' of death and dying, and her insistence on not becoming a 'real' doctor, along with her inability to cook, will lead her down the wrong path. But Cameryn is determined, and she's also thrilled when she finally talks her dad into letting her assist him. After all, sure, the county coroner does deal with death occasionally, but they haven't had an actual murder in decades, so her father figures there can't be any harm in letting his daughter tag along to scenes or assist with autopsies. Unfortunately, he was wrong. There has been a murder in this sleepy Rocky Mountain town. And it's not just the murder of a stranger, but Cameryn's friend, Rachel Geller. Added to that is the fact that it's not a random murder, but seems to be part of a serial killer's spree. The murderer always leaves a St. Christopher medal on the victim's body, thus earning him the moniker The Christopher Killer. As Cameryn sets out to assist her father, she suddenly finds herself drawn into a murder investigation. As the police in this small town search for clues as to who may have murdered the lovely Rachel, Cameryn is determined to start putting her knowledge of forensics to good use. This is a great book, similar to the style and stories of the television show CSI. If you're interested in forensics or just like watching the process on television, you're going to thoroughly enjoy the mystery that is THE CHRISTOPHER KILLER. Not to mention the fact that this is just the beginning of a new series, so there will be more books starring Cameryn down the road! The other great thing about the book, besides its excellent characters, dialogue, and storyline, is the fact that even though it's a mystery that deals with murder, it's a good fit even for middle-school readers. You won't go wrong picking up a copy of this first book in the FORENSIC MYSTERY series! **Reviewed by: Jennifer Wardrip, aka 'The Genius'

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2007

    For CSI loving teens ...

    I just recently discovered Alane Ferguson and her Forensic Mystery series. It is well worth checking out. In The Christopher Killer the reader meets Cameryn Mahoney. She's a smart 17 year old with a future goal of becoming a medical examiner. In the story Cameryn begins work as her father's assistant - he's the county coroner. Together they are the first on the scene involving any sort of death. Cameryn's first experience is described in pretty gruesome detail, so reader, beware. It turns out the man's death is classified as a 'natural' or in other words, he died of natural causes. That is not the case when the body of a young friend of Cameryn's is discovered by several hikers. Rachel, a young waitress who works with Cameryn, has been strangled and the search begins for her killer. Ferguson keeps the readers' attention by including accurate forensic information and detail, a bit of a love interest for Cameryn, and the mystery of Cameryn's mother who disappeared years ago. Some critics have reviewed the series by saying there are too many things going on in plot line, but I heartily disagree. I think the variety will help to engage readers interested in different aspects of the characters' lives, plus all the angles mean the series has plenty of action to keep the books coming for a long while. I say, 'Write on, Ms. Ferguson!'

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2006

    Crime Solving and Learning Who You Are

    This was a great, fast-paced read about a girl who felt real. She had struggles and questions about herself the character pulled you along as strongly as the plot.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2006

    A good read and a good book

    I can't wait for the next book. I liked Cameryn. She seems smart and I could see myself as her friend. It's neat having a serial killer in a young adult book. Great read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2006

    Awesome book!

    This book is the best book I have read in a while. It is very catchy at the beginning and will keep you hooked through the whole book. If you are interested in forensic sciences this is a must read. Even if you aren't it is still a good read. I can't wait for the next in this new series to come out.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2006

    Great Read For Teens!

    Get your teenagers excited about reading with this great CSI type mystery! Want to motivate teens to read instead of playing video games? This book is the answer!!! As a reading tutor for teens with reading disabilities, I recommend The Christopher Killer whole heartedly for everyone! It has every thing that appeals to the CSI enthusiasts in all of us but deals in 'real world' family issues with honesty and integrity. Can't wait to read the next one and get all of my students involved.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2006

    Great Summer Read for Girls and Guys!

    In the first of a series for young adult readers, Alane Ferguson leads her audience down the dark path of murder and forensics in her novel The Christopher Killer. While many mysteries remain mostly plot driven, Ferguson (Edgar winner and nominee) has managed to thicken the plot with strong character development. This adds a nice touch to a dark storyline that is intriguing and a bit gruesome. A novel interesting enough to catch both male and female readers, The Christopher Killer follows main character Cameryn Mahoney as she works with her father Patrick, the town¿s coroner. Cameryn, who is interested in becoming a forensics scientist, gets tangled in a web of murder when a friend of hers is found slain. The suspect? A serial killer who leaves a St Christopher medal on the bodies of victims. Strong detail and imagery enhance the writing. Interesting forensics, well researched, grab the reader by the throat. This is a great summer read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 22 Customer Reviews

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