Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Dying Breath

Cameryn, a seventeen-year-old forensic science enthusiast, returns in this, her fourth mystery. She acts as part-time assistant to her father, the county coroner, but it is when she is working with Dr. Moore at the autopsy table that she is really in her element.

Each of the books focuses on a single mystery, but the series is best read in order, as there are narrative arcs that move across several books at a time, as well as relationships that grow and evolve. It is much more rewarding if the reader is in on the ground floor, so to speak. The first book is called The Christopher Killer, so if you are interested in the series, please check that one out to avoid any potential spoilers in this review.

There are unresolved elements from the previous book that come to a head as this one opens. Because the young man who had threatened her managed to escape, and no has heard from him since - or found his body - it is assumed that he is alive and is planning his next move with Cameryn. She is stressed and worried, and is tired of playing the role of the frightened victim. Then she hears from Kyle, her stalker, in an extremely disturbing way. There is a dead body that might contain clues about him, and there are disturbing email messages from him - and the FBI wants Cameryn to cooperate in a potentially dangerous plot to ensnare him. Meanwhile Justin, the hot cop she's attracted to, but who is a bit too old for her, has declared his feelings for her - not the perfect time for that, it's true, because now is the worst time for her to be distracted from the task at hand.

This series will appeal to teens who enjoy gritty mysteries, particularly those dealing with forensic science and the fascinating stories that the body can tell about what happened to it prior to death. There are graphic descriptions of corpses and the autopsy process, but they are informative rather than gratuitous; in fact, it is rewarding to watch Cameryn fight to remain her composure and focus on the details that will help her solve the mystery at hand. (Although you might not want to read those parts while you're eating lunch!) I love Cameryn's passion and dedication to her goal of becoming a medical examiner, despite the ignorant attitudes and comments from other kids at her school. She doesn't always make the best decisions - she's only seventeen - but she has grit and determination, not to mention intelligence and insight.

This installment in the series brings many different plot strands together in a satisfying conclusion that still leaves me looking forward to Cameryn's next mystery.

Books in Forensic Mystery series:
1. The Christopher Killer
3. The Circle of Blood
4. The Dying Breath

The Dying Breath
(#4 in the Forensic Mystery series) by Alane Ferguson (Viking, 2009)

Also reviewed at:
Kiss the Book: "For kids who love forensic mysteries, this has been a great series. I don’t think the mystery is quite as tight in this one, but the deaths are not main focus here– staying alive when you are stalked by a psychopath is. So, hang on and enjoy the ride!"

4 comments:

  1. I remember your review about the first one I'm glad you're still enjoying these!

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  2. Ladytink - I am! I get very excited when I see a new one has been published. :-)

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  3. I'm not a fan of CSI type stuff, but did really like this whole series, and it's been very popular in my library.

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  4. Ms. Yingling - I'm glad to hear that it is popular among your students!

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