Seventeen-year-old Cameryn Mahoney lives with her father and grandmother in a very small town in the Colorado mountains. Her ambition, to the dismay of her traditional Irish grandmother (who'd much rather she learn to cook), is to become a forensic pathologist. This is no vague dream to her - she dedicates her time to reading and research, and has amassed a fair amount of theoretical knowledge. But she wants more.
Her father, annoyed that the sheriff has a new deputy to help him out, while he remains on his own and overworked, agrees to take Cameryn on as his assistant. Cameryn's first experience with him - going to a hotel room to recover the body of a "floater," a man who's been dead in a bathtub in a hotel room for days - leaves her shaken but determined to do her job.
Justin, the sheriff's new deputy is also there on the scene. He is handsome and friendly, but for some reason her father distrusts him, and Cameryn tries to maintain her distance. But when a murder - the first murder in their tiny town in years - happens, she and Justin find themselves working together. Cameryn's world-view takes a sudden shift when she discovers the murder victim is a friend of hers, and that a psychic predicted the discovery and location of the body. Cameryn is a rock-solid, feet-on-the-ground, hard-scientific-evidence-required kind of girl, and she is taken aback when the psychic reveals astonishing facts about the case. The medical examiner would be a good ally to have, but he is furious about Cameryn's involvement in the investigation, and dismisses her thoughts and ideas, even when it seems they have validity. So she decides to take matters into her own hands...
This book is definitely not for the squeamish, as it relates very graphic details about decomposing bodies and autopsy methods, but for those who enjoy gritty mysteries with forensic clues, it is a winner. The characters are engaging and believable, and their relationships, combined with the strands of the mystery, had me hooked from the beginning. I always love discovering an enjoyable new series - especially when there several books already published. This one is the first of three, so far. I would recommend this book to older teens with the caveat about the graphic details, and to anyone who enjoys a solid forensic mystery.
Books in the Forensic Mystery series:
1. The Christopher Killer
2. The Angel of Death
3. The Circle of Blood
4. The Dying Breath
The Christopher Killer (#1 in the Forensic Mystery series) by Alane Ferguson (Viking, 2006)
Also reviewed at:
Book of the Week