Sunday, January 22, 2006

The Perfect Shot

Alphin, Elaine Marie. 2005. THE PERFECT SHOT. Minneapolis, MN: Carolrhoda Books. ISBN 1575058626 [Suggested Grade Levels 9-12]

One, two, three shots are fired and three people are dead. Someone has murdered Brian’s girlfriend, Amanda, her brother, Cory, and their mother. Although the murders took place as Brian played basketball across the street with friends, he continues to be troubled by their deaths. Everyone is telling him to move on and focus on hitting the perfect shot on the basketball court. Did Amanda’s father, a police officer, murder his family at a point blank range or is the real murderer still loose on the streets awaiting his next victim?

“Pulse is fading, blood pressure is falling.”
“His arteries are collapsing, I can’t intubate him.”
“Here, let me try.”

The novel is told in flashbacks as the narrator, Brian, struggles for life after being shot by the real killer. The mystery grows further as Brian’s teacher gives an assignment to research the 1913 Leo Frank murder case in which an innocent man is convicted of killing a young girl. Brian sees similarities between the Leo Frank trial and the trial of Amanda’s father. Numerous threads are presented throughout the book. Brian must cope with his overwhelming grief at Amanda’s death, the pressure from his dad to excel at basketball, and the arrest and mistreatment of Brian’s friend, Julius, who happens to be one of a few African Americans in the small town.

The novel flows with fluidity and will leave readers breathless as the killer is revealed. In this engrossing tale of intrigue, the author weaves an account that encompasses numerous issues such as social justice, racial prejudice, civil rights violations, and the failings of the judicial system. Only one question remains: does Brian make the perfect shot?

Readers could produce a newspaper with events surrounding school activities.
Readers can reenact the story as a murder mystery theatre production using the characters within the book.

Other book by Alphin that could be compared to this one:

By Aundrea L. Wright

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