Inspired by a tragic true event in his past, Allan Wolf examines the circumstances of one boy’s inexplicable murder and the fateful summer leading up to it. Everybody likes Chris Goodman. Sure, he’s a little odd. He wears those funny bell-bottoms and he really likes the word ennui and he shakes your hand when he meets you, but he’s also the kind of guy who’s always up for a good time, always happy to lend a hand. Everybody likes Chris Goodman, which makes it especially shocking when he’s murdered. Here, in a stunning multi-voiced narrative — including the perspective of the fifteen-year-old killer — and based on a true and terrible crime that occurred when he was in high school, author Allan Wolf sets out to answer the first question that comes to mind in moments of unthinkable tragedy: how could a thing like this happen?
Who Killed Christopher Goodman?:Based on a True CrimeFeatured
YA True Crime
I have been on a true crime kick lately. With multiple snow days, I have found myself listening to podcasts and binge watching true crime stories. Who Killed Christopher Goodman by Allan Wolf fits right into my newest obsession. What struck me right away is that it is loosely based on a true story. The Author’s Note at the end of the novel discusses how this event impacted Wolf’s life and what was changed in the story as well as what was kept the same. Knowing this this murder was based on a real event added to the impact of the story.
Wolf weaves a haunting story told through multiple vignettes through six incredibly different perspectives. It takes place in 1979 in a small town in Virginia during their annual Deadwood Days Festival. This happy event is destroyed with the discovery of the body of Christopher Goodman. Christopher is well known around school and well liked. He did not deserve this horrific ending. The last moments of Christopher’s life is told through multiple perspectives giving you small glimpses into the events that occurred leading up to that night. No character is static and each voice must examine their own sense of guilt about their actions that night.
What I loved best: The variety of narrations and structures. Some points of view are straight forward while others are told in a screen play style and poetry. Wolf did an excellent job keeping the reader in suspense and created a desire to find out the ending. The impact of the event could be felt throughout the novel as well as in the author’s note. Wolf’s writing style is unique and stands out among other YA writers giving it a fresh feel as you read.
This is a must read for any true crime reader.