Cameryn Mahoney has always wanted to be a forensic investigator. At seventeen she has read every book on the subject she can lay her hands on. Her grandmother is disapproving, she says the profession is too morbid, and insinuates that Cameryn is just like her, meaning the mother that ran out on the family when Cameryn was three. Luckily, though Cameryn’s father is willing to encourage his daughter’s pursuits – possibly because he himself is the coroner in an extremely small town. He somewhat reluctantly agrees to take Cameryn on as his assistant.
But even in a small town, things can get exciting. The new deputy, for instance, who Cameryn’s father appears to hate for no apparent reason. Or the fact that the second case Cameryn helps out with turns out to be the body of a friend, apparently murdered by a serial killer.
The Christopher Killer is the first in a series, and some of the elements laid down in this book are clearly intended to extend to other volumes, such as her unresolved relationship with her absent mother, or more confusing relationship with the new deputy. There are red herrings and clues that seem obvious only after the ending is revealed, the marks of a good mystery. While it is somewhat doubtful that a teenager would be allowed to work on a federal serial killer case, regardless of how small the town is and how strapped for workers they are before the FBI shows up, the suspension of disbelief is acceptable as wish-fulfillment. The book leans towards the sensational, but this will hardly bother the target audiences.