Title: Who Killed Christopher Goodman?
Author: Allan Wolf
Published: March 2017 by Candlewick Press
Genre: Young adult mystery
How I got the book: I bought it
Everybody likes Chris Goodman.
Sure, he’s kind of weird. He wears those crazy bell-bottoms and he really likes the word ennui and he shakes your hand when he meets you, but he’s the kind of guy who’s always up for a good time, always happy to lend a hand. Everybody likes Chris Goodman, which is why it’s so shocking when he’s murdered.
How could a thing like this happen?
I bought this before I even thought to read it for Mystery Month. The title caught my eye and when I read the summary, I was sold.
This book follows multiple first-person points of view of a group of six high school kids. We see how they interact with each other (who’s friends with who) and how they all meet Christopher Goodman. We don’t see through the eye of Christopher, but one of the points-of-view we see is the killer.
Upon reading the title and then reading the summary, I thought this book was going to more so about finding who killed Christopher Goodman, hence what the title suggests. Needless to say, it was pretty misleading.
The story is mainly about the shock of how someone can be there one minute and the next, they’re gone; whether it’s murder or freak accidents. The majority of the book took place before the murder happened so that we would get to know Christopher Goodman and the other characters. However, it focused more so on the other characters’ problems.
And while Christopher Goodman touched each of their lives in a certain way, they were all connected somehow, there was no mystery to this. We’re not on an investigation to find his killer, but we’re on a journey to see why Christopher Goodman was the victim.
Not a bad plot, especially since it’s based off a true story, but the title and summary definitely threw me off.
I enjoyed all the characters. There’s Doc, Hazel, Mildred, Squib, Hunger, Leonard, and of course, Christopher Goodman. Some are friends, some are acquaintances who become friends, but they all seem connected to one another. They’re stories intertwine, which I found to be clever and well done.
They each had their own unique personality and quirk or hobby (such as stamp collecting or sleepwalking) and they all fit in and got along fairly well with one another. While I found them enjoyable to follow, I’ll admit that I didn’t get close to any of the characters.
I didn’t feel as though I could relate to any of them and that included Christopher Goodman. So, while his death was shocking, I didn’t feel for him as much as I probably should have.
I think Allan Wolf’s writing style was my favorite part of this book. Each chapter switched POVs, but the heading at the top said which character we were following. Also, each character had a different writing style. Some were written as a narrative, some as poetry, some as block text. When two or more characters were having a conversation, it was written like a script.
It sounds confusing, but the varied writing styles made the book flow smoothly with each character change. I ended up reading this book (about 269 pages) in one sitting. It took me about two hours because it was so easy to read and the different styles kept me engaged.
This book was a good read with quirky characters and an interesting storyline. However, I do wish there was more mystery to it and I wish there was a little more tension. It was a good calming read as I felt like the characters could be sitting in a coffee shop together relaying the story. Still, I wished the title and summary wasn’t so misleading. It made it feel anti-clamactic in a way.
It’s still a good book to pick up, if you’re interested. And, if you do read it, I recommend reading the author’s note at the end. He explains what’s fiction and what the true crime was in real life that this book is based off of. It’s interesting.
Who Killed Christopher Goodman? by Allan Wolf gets…
4 out of 5 stars
“If you want me to do it as a friend, all you have to do is ask. I’d at least consider it.” –Allan Wolf, Who Killed Christopher Goodman?
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