Synopsis: On paper, Chris Brennan looks perfect. He’s applying for a job as a high school government teacher, he’s ready to step in as an assistant baseball coach, and his references are impeccable.
But everything about Chris Brennan is a lie.
Susan Sematov is proud of her son Raz, a high school pitcher so athletically talented that he’s being recruited for a full-ride scholarship to a Division I college, with a future in major-league baseball. But Raz’s father died only a few months ago, leaving her son in a vulnerable place where any new father figure might influence him for good, or evil.
Heather Larkin is a struggling single mother who lives for her son Justin’s baseball games. But Justin is shy, and Heather fears he is being lured down a dark path by one of his teammates, a young man from an affluent family whose fun-loving manner might possibly conceal his violent plans.
Mindy Kostis succumbs to the pressure of being a surgeon’s wife by filling her days with social events and too many gin and tonics. But she doesn’t know that her husband and her son, Evan, are keeping secrets from her – secrets that might destroy all of them.
At the center of all of them is Chris Brennan. Why is he there? What does he want? And what is he willing to do to get it?
My Review: This story gripped me right from the first page. We meet Chris Brennan and soon realize that nothing about Chris Brennan, including his name, is real. He’s applying for a job as a teacher and coach in a small town that has not had much crime or excitement. What he is planning to do here is quickly revealed. He wants to befriend a junior boy on the baseball team to help him in his plot. He finds out where he can rent a truck with no questions asked and now he is ready to put his plan into action. There are three boys he focuses on, and two others on the fringe. We learn about the three boys, their families and their relationships with their relatives as well as friends. It doesn’t take Chris long to get one of the boys and his mother to trust Chris, but what the reader believes quickly changes.
This novel gets more fast-paced and exciting the more you read, with all the twists and turns of a great suspense story. The family dramas also unfold which makes the characters more complex and relatable. The issues of teenage relationships, technology, sexting, class distinction and the ever present mother-son relationships are all expanded on and play an important part in the story. The mother’s stories are also a big part of the story. What others think about the haves and the have nots is explored as well. There is a lot of meat in this story that kept me riveted. I stayed up rather late finishing the book as I had to see how it would end. The ending was not what I had expected at all. I do not want to give away the plot so will not share any more details, but suffice it to say that I really enjoyed this newest Lisa Scottoline story. The publisher generously provide me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.