Wednesday, April 04, 2007
You know it's bad when they crawl out your eyes.
I am incapable of thinking of this book without comparing it to Christopher Golden's Body of Evidence series. Which I love (and have actually read all 10 books of). Alane Ferguson's The Christopher Killer may not be as good (to me) as Golden's, but it's a pretty darn good mystery in the gross-out CSI formula. In fact, it's been nominated for an Edgar Award.
Catch that gross-out comment? Yeah, I meant that. Really meant it. Cameryn knows what she wants to do when she grows up. Much to her grandmother's chagrin she is determined to become a forensic pathologist. As in the land of only-in-books, Cammie is fortunate enough that her father is the medical examiner of their small town and trusts his self-educated 17-year-old daughter to start assisting him on cases. Implausibility aside, Cammie hops onto the case when the small town is shocked by a rash of (convenient) murders. The connecting element is the St. Christopher Medal left with each victim. It won't be easy for her to crack the case; she faces the revulsion of a deeply decomposing body, the skepticism of officials (well, duh), a beau her father doesn't trust for unknown reasons, a long-lost mother, and a killer that might be coming after her next...
It might be a lot to cover in one short genre book, but since it's intended as a series, it's a good set-up and introduction to the characters. The nicely detailed crime scenes don't seem to hold anything back (yeah, got nothing backing that one up...I've only seen nicely embalmed bodies); the first one, a 'floater', (oh, jeeze, I'm grossed out just recalling this, and I read it months ago) includes odor, flies, sloughing skin, and everyone's favorite, maggots. I especially enjoyed this description: "Her peppermint oil, her finger, nothing could stem the sickly sweet scent of rotting flesh that filled her nose, her mouth, her very insides. She was breathing in particles of Larry Robertson" p37 (of my ARC, thanks Sleuth/Viking!).
Need a girl say more?
The sequel, Angel of Death is already out, and the third, Circle of Blood will be following shortly.