In the middle of a heatwave, history teacher Samuel Szajkowski walks into a school assembly with a gun, killing three pupils, a teacher and then himself. Inspector Lucia May is expected to hastily conclude a seemingly clear-cut investigation but she soon becomes entangled in a web of hearsay, school and police politics.
Alternating between Lucia’s life and the monologued statements of witnesses and people linked to the case, Lucia begins to build up a picture of the teacher and his life at the school, in a bid to uncover why an ordinary school teacher would be driven to commit such a crime.
This novel explores bullying and bullying cultures, which is a theme that is particularly prevalent within education. Although Lucia’s life is played out in chronological time, the evidence statements from the other players are mostly in the past, and as they are presented they drip-feed the reader more information to build up the events and possible motives behind the grisly tragedy. After every new voice, you gain a new perspective and it cleverly leaves you wanting more. The characters’ voices are all convincing and the style of writing keeps the reader engaged. I thought this was a fabulous debut and a very gripping read!