Teddy Crutcher has just won Teacher of the Year at the prestigious Belmont Academy, home exclusively to the brightest and the best.
He says his wife couldn’t be more proud – though no one has seen her for a while.
He’s deeply committed to improving his students. And well aware which ones need improving.
And all he wants is for his colleagues – and the endlessly interfering parents – to stay out of his way.
Oddly, not everyone agrees that Teddy has their best interests at heart.
But will that change when someone receives a lesson to die for…?
Thank you firstly to Kallie at Michael Joseph for inviting me to be involved in this blogtour and sending me a gorgeous finished hardback copy of the book.
Teddy Crutcher displays his ‘Teacher of the Year’ plaque proudly on his classroom wall, reflecting his elevated sense of his own importance, this narcissisitic character had me hooked from the outset, gleefully turning the pages of this entertaining thriller. Set in the educational environment of Belmont school, Crutcher revels in the status afforded to him by teaching at this elite school, whilst despising the most rich and entitled of the student population.
Told from several perspectives, we get to hear Crutcher’s inner voice, which is nothing short of deliciously evil. We also hear the story from Zach’s perspecitve – a student of Crutcher’s who is top of his ‘shit list’ and also Fallon a former student who also had a place on the aforementioned list. Students determined by Crutcher, as having life too easy due to wealth and status.
In a somewhat grandiose fashion Crutcher seeks to take students and colleagues ‘down a peg or two’ with shocking and somewhat unexpected consequences. A death at the school leads to police involvement and media attention.
Crutcher is a fantastic protagonist, morally depraved; psychopathic even and so certain in himself and his actions. Hearing his voice and his justifications for his actions is a great way to tell this story. The ultra pushy parents were a great counter villian for Crutcher and while he was petty and mean, on some level one could empathise with his view, thought not his actions! A strong plot, cleverly utilising the use of several perspectives, resulted in an authentic yet farcical crime drama which I enjoyed a lot.
This was definitely a page turner, the writing is witty and aspects of this story read like a black comedy, with a killer on the loose in the school community.
About the Author
Samantha Downing lives in New Orleans. Her debut novel, My Lovely Wife, was a Richard and Judy Book Club pick and has been published in thirty languages. It won a Dead Good Reader Award, and was shortlisted for four other major awards: The CWA John Creasey Dagger, The Edgar Award for Best Novel, The ITW Thriller Award for Best First Novel and The Macavity Award for Best First Mystery. There will also be a forthcoming film adaptation, produced by Nicole Kidman. Her second novel, He Started It, was also a Sunday Times bestseller.
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