A community comes together when threatened by someone with a thirst for revenge in this stunningly intricate, tautly plotted novel of rich psychological suspense from the New York Times bestselling author of the Mary Russell mysteries.
Career Day at Guadalupe Middle School: A day given to innocent hopes and youthful dreams. A day no one in attendance will ever forget.
A year ago, Principal Linda McDonald arrived at Guadalupe determined to overturn the school’s reputation for truancy, gang violence, and neglect. One of her initiatives is Career Day—bringing together children, teachers, and community presenters in a celebration of the future. But there are some in attendance who reject McDonald’s bright vision.
A principal with a secret. A husband with a murky past. A cop with too many questions. A kid under pressure to prove himself. A girl struggling to escape a mother’s history. A young basketball player with an affection for guns.
Even the school janitor has a story he dare not reveal.
But no one at the gathering anticipates the shocking turn of events that will transform a day of possibilities into an explosive confrontation.
Tense, poignant, and brilliantly paced, Laurie R. King’s novel charts compelling characters on a collision course—a chain of interactions that locks together hidden lives, troubling secrets, and the bravest impulses of the human heart.
Release Date: June 13, 2017
I wish I could join in the praise for this book. Laurie King has an engaging writing style that I truly enjoyed reading. She has the ability to put me right in the moment with the characters, so I feel their emotions and the turmoil of the situation. Unfortunately, this story just didn’t work for me stylistically.
The fingers on Brendan’s hand twitch when he dreams of guns.
Virtually every character in this book has a narrating part, and there are a lot of characters. We shift narrator every few pages. The switch is clear, as the chapter heading gives us the narrator’s name, but for me these short vignettes lacked the coherent feel of a solid story. Most of the characters don’t start intersecting paths until halfway through the book. Each section on its own is a compelling read, but there are too many things going on. It’s a bit of sensory overload.
He would polish his shoes, shave his face, and don the appearance of an ordinary man, to spend the day walking amongst the unsuspecting.
To further hinder the story’s flow, we also have quite a few flashbacks. We go back thirty years, in several different chapters, to see how a particular couple met. While some of that information eventually plays into the present timeline, it detracted too much from the immediacy of the story. Then we also go back eleven months for another character’s memories.
She had crossed a continent, an ocean, and half of Australia before she’d hit the stupefying heat and humidity of Port Moresby – only to stand appalled before a wall in the terminal that seemed to be splashed with blood.
The interruptions in the present timeline, combined with the ever-revolving cast of characters feels too disjointed, making it difficult for me to focus and stay connected. I respect the author’s approach here. Individually, each character fascinated me. But, as a whole, the story didn’t move me as it otherwise could have.
*I received an advance review copy from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review.*
Thanks for reading. 🙂