‘In the assembly hall of an exclusive Devon school, the body of the head teacher is found hanging from the rafters. Hours earlier he’d received a package, and only he could understand the silent message it conveyed. It meant the end.’
The Teacher is a contemporary crime thriller by Katerina Diamon, in which DS Imogen Grey and DS Adrian Miles must work together in order to stop a series of grim murders, and uncover the identity of the killer.
This is a well-written book*; the narrative switched character perspectives, as well as forwards and backwards in time, which I liked. I was able to follow the story clearly, although it took me a while to piece certain characters or details together.
The dialogue felt completely natural and the short chapters kept my focus and moved the narrative along at a nice pace.
*Ironically, the first few chapters of the book seem to have not been proofread – the amount of missing punctuation and spelling mistakes were quite glaring, but I was fortunate that my particular charity shop copy had been re-edited by the previous owner with a Biro!
This book is probably one of the goriest thrillers I’ve ever read; no gruesome details were spared when it came to descriptions. Indeed, no topics were spared from The Teacher either – the book covers murder, suicide, rape and victim-blaming, gory violence, and extremist viewpoints.
I really enjoyed the thrills, uncovering the mystery behind the murders, and watching how the characters develop and link to one another.
However, there are some parts of The Teacher that wound. me. up.
Spoiler Warning: Minor
Firstly, a victim of rape is not believed when the incident is reported, and is blamed instead. I really felt for the character in these frustrating and upsetting moments – I can’t imagine what it must be like to have gone through such a horrific incident and have it dismissed as falsehood. Whilst The Teacher is merely a fiction, sadly, this situation is reality for some rape victims today.
Secondly, certain characters have different, warped perceptions of morality and subsequently, what is right and what is wrong. For some, the act of murder is seen as the crime it is, others see murder as justifiable if done in revenge, others see murder as an entirely acceptable act.
It was incredibly difficult to read the thoughts and dialogue of characters with such a vastly differing moral compass to my own, and it’s tricky to discuss this further without revealing some serious spoilers.
Yet, whilst these parts of The Teacher infuriated me, they still added to my overall enjoyment of the book, and I was glad Diamond’s writing was able to provoke such a strong emotional response from me.
I strongly recommend this book if you can stomach some gore and want to read a well-written, thrilling murder mystery.