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Paul Read’s THE ART TEACHER, a twisty edgy and gritty debut from a new voice in fiction. With a mix of literary and crime suspense, a school teacher gets caught in the middle of a war between his pupils--gangs, drugs, intimidation, bullying, and murder.
Patrick Owen teaches at London’s Highfields Secondary School. Denis Roberts was one of the more problematic members of his Year Eleven Art group. As a child, he had an operation to repair a cleft lip and the scar remained, running angrily up the left side to his nostrils. (you definitely do not feel sympathy toward this character).
Patrick found the kids of today communicated with words he simply did not understand. From their walking to their exposure of boxer shorts. Control was something that had gone out the window. From confiscating mobile phones to breaking up fights. An ongoing battle.
We also hear about Patrick’s past and his personal life. Separated from his wife, Ana and his three-year old son Danny whom he misses dearly. He was once a musician- a guitarist for a band.
Soon a student is murdered in cold blood. Patrick is drawn into the investigation.
Read captures the realistic classroom and the brutality of the environment of the school, teachers, teens, and the emotions. A total chaotic nerve racking stressful out of control world. With youths taking over and the teachers are at their mercy.
Read is also a teacher which lends itself to insights of today’s troubled teens. Patrick is drawn into dangerous situations, horrific cultures, classroom tensions, and devastating consequences. Not a lot of likable characters and difficult to read at times.
The book also includes a sneak preview of Blame, his second novel centering around a man called Lucas, with a job in pharmaceuticals.
A dark disturbing psychological suspense of social issues, violent gang cultures and a police investigation, centered around an educator in an inner city school culture.
A special thank you to Legend Press and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.