“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: amazon.co.uk)
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)