Release Date: March 3rd
More Info: Amazon
Columbine. Dunblane. Virginia Tech. Winnenden. But Saint Patrick's High?
In his first hour back from a six-month leave of absence, Detective Jacob Striker's day quickly turns into a nightmare. He is barely on scene five minutes at his daughter's high school when he encounters an Active Shooter situation. Three men wearing hockey masks - Black, White, and Red - have stormed the school with firearms and are killing indiscriminately.
Striker takes immediate action. Within minutes, two of the gunmen are dead and Striker is close to ending the violence.
But the last gunman, Red Mask, does something unexpected. He runs up to his fallen comrade, racks the shotgun, and unloads five rounds into the man, obliterating his face and hands. Before Striker can react, Red Mask flees - and escapes.
Against the clock, Striker investigates the killings for which there is no known motive and no known suspect. Soon his investigation takes him to darker places, and he realizes that everything at Saint Patrick's High is not as it appears. The closer he gets to the truth, the more dangerous his world becomes. Until Striker himself is in the line of fire.
And the violence follows him home.
Slater has a knack for grabbing the reader’s attention and making them want to keep turning the pages. Although, the first chapter or two didn't grab me right off, but then I was drawn in and the story kept me engrossed. The funny thing was, I'd had it for several months but kept procrastinating. Once I started reading, I regretted procrastinating.
I enjoy reading mysteries, especially ones where you think you know what's going on, but you really don't. Every time I thought I knew what was going on, Slater threw a curve ball. There are some cliches; the one that annoyed me the most was the cop, in this case Striker, who rebels against his superior and constantly clashes with him. But despite that, it worked and it didn't detract from my overall enjoyment of the story.
In fact, I almost liked the lead shooter. We have some insight into his mind, thanks to the chapters written from his point of view. This worked very well, and made him more human to me. I felt sorry for him, or rather, the younger, child form of him.
The story is told in multiple view points, primarily Striker's, his daughter Courtney, and one of the killers, though it's a while before we learn his identity. Even when we learn his identity, we still don't know what is going on or what the motivation was. The story is complex and layered and while the ultimate reason for the shootings are fairly mundane, the back story and detours are detailed and fascinating.
The character development was strong in this book though I would have liked to see more development of Striker's partner, Felicia Santos. There's another book planned so perhaps we'll see it then.Overall, the characters feel real, people you might in your every day life.
The book does contain violence and some torture scenes, but they are not overly graphic. I think. I am a total wimp so I skimmed those but from what I read, they weren't too bad. Just too much for me.
Although I read mysteries regularly, I think this was my first that was set in Canada. That made it interesting for me, to see the similarities and differences between there and the USA, where I live. It was less of a cultural struggle for me than when I first started reading books set in the UK.
This paperback was provided by Simon & Schuster UK