Book Review: Rupture by Simon Lelic

The Blurb:

“In the depths of a sweltering summer, teacher Samuel Szajkowski walks into his school assembly and opens fire. He kills three pupils and a colleague before turning the gun on himself. 

Lucia May, the young policewoman who is assigned the case, is expected to wrap up things quickly and without fuss. The incident is a tragedy that could not have been predicted and Szajkowski, it seems clear, was a psychopath beyond help. Soon, however, Lucia becomes preoccupied with the question no one else seems to want to ask: what drove a mild-mannered, diffident school teacher to commit such a despicable crime? 

Piecing together the testimonies of the teachers and children at the school, Lucia discovers an uglier, more complex picture of the months leading up to the shooting. She realises too that she has more in common with Szajkowski than she could have imagined. As the pressure to bury the case builds, she becomes determined to tell the truth about what happened, whatever the consequences . . .”

(blurb source:

  What I thought:

After having seen many positive and glowing reviews about this book, I was fullly prepared to be enraptured by this book. How disappointing then to still be wondering what the fuss is about at the half way point (and beyond).

The book starts immediately after a history teacher opens fire in a school assembley and kills three pupils and another teacher before turning the gun on himself. Each chapter is narrated by a totally different character which I did think had its benefits as the reader is able to see things from many different perspectives. However this, for me, was also part of its downfall, as all the characters remained two-dimensional, even the lead investigator Lucia May who gets more attention than any of the other characters in the book. I didn’t warm to her at all: she was cold, disinteresting, and came across more like an inanimate object than flesh and blood.

The book isn’t a whodunnit but more of a whydunnit, but despite the subject matter and potential, I frankly didn’t care by the end. I read on because I was waiting for some twist or revelation or even a milder sigh of satisfaction but I got none of those. I couldn’t quite decide what the author was going for – crime fiction or literary fiction, but I’m not sure he pulls either off to be honest.

In summary: forgettable.

I appear to be in the minority here though so, as always, I would invite you to make your own mind up on this one. I’d love to hear from you if you have read it and hear your thoughts.

(source: this book is from my own shelves)



17 thoughts on “Book Review: Rupture by Simon Lelic

  1. A pity it didn’t work for you. It reminds me a little of that book by Jodi Picoult, 16 minutes (or maybe 19?). In that case it’s a pupil going wild, but that is also a whydunnit (nice new word for my vocab!). I liked it quite a bit.

    I promise to tread Rupture with an open mind!


  2. Oh no! I loved this book. I’d definitely describe this as a whydunnit. I loved the way in which I came to feel sorry for the murderer. We are all taught to think that murderers are really evil, but this book helped to show me that murderers can be the victim too. It changed my whole attitude to crime and any book that makes me look at things in a whole new light is always going to be a favourite.

    Did I mention that I love the writing style, the descriptions…actually I loved everything about it!!


    • I like that too, when criminals are not just that but when they are also seen as human beings who are victims of their circumstances. If Jackie liked the book, then I might, too.


    • I know you loved it, Jackie, I remember reading your review. I am starting to think that you and I have different taste in books – there have been a few we’ve disagreed on recently, lol. Glad you enjoyed it but it wasn’t for me.


      • Yes. There are a few ones we both love, but I am noticing the split in our favourites. 😦 Nevermind. It is good that we can at least see each other’s taste and so hopefully we’ll be able to make a better judgement as to whether or not we’ll enjoy a book the other recommends. I advice you to ignore the ravingly positive review for The Nobodies Album which I will post on my blog soon – it is very similar in style to Rupture, so I know you’ll hate it 😉


      • Oh no, really? I was quite looking forward to that one, lol. I’m sure there will be more we love than hate though – and what I love about books is that they are so personal to the reader; you see them your own way and have your own experiences from reading them 🙂


  3. I brought this the other day due to the glowing reviews even though it isn’t my kind of book at first glance. Glad to read an alternative review though as I always get sceptical when all reviews are glowing.


    • I think it’s important to be honest, Patti, but I am also well aware that books I don’t get along with so much may be other peoples favourites and it’s important to recognise that and let people make up their own minds. But like you say – plenty more books in the sea 🙂


  4. Oh dear how awful to be disappointed. I must admit to loving this book, one of my top 3 of last year and one I have recommended to all sorts of readers. I thought it was beautifully written but also a great story – one that never seems to get told when we hear about these terrible events in the real world – how they build up over time. But the world would be boring if we all thought the same.

    Even though we disagree on this book I’m glad to have discovered another crime fiction reader via Kim & Reading Matters, thanks for stopping by my blog


    • I know, I do seem to be in the minority here though, Bernadette. Maybe it was a case of wrong time wrong place as it is one I thought I should enjoy. Oh well, like you say the world would be a boring place if we thought the same.

      Glad I found your blog – one can never have too many books (especially crime) on the TBR pile 😉


  5. Funnily enough, I read this book after having it highly recommended to me my by usually-spot-on librarian friend (‘spot-on’ in that she usually always finds really interesting and gripping books to read and I value her personla recommendations hughly.) Howvere, I was disappointed by Rupture too. It would have worked so much better as a whodunnit, and I lost interest in the why’s and wherefore’s of sexual harrasmment and workplace ethics. I did finish it and actually passed it onto my husband to read, who didn’t like it at all (at leats I liked it a little, I guess!) so you are degfinitely not alone in your viewpoint.


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