by Gillian Roberts
A Hole in Juan
Ballantine Books, March, 2006.
Hardcover, 256 pages.
High school teacher by day and private investigator by night Amanda Pepper has now been married for one month to Mackenzie, a former homicide detective who is back in school studying to get his Ph. D. in criminology. Amanda and Mackenzie have another person living with them: Mackenzie's 16 year-old nephew has been dumped on them as a house guest so that he can recover from a broken heart which is no doubt at the root of his repeated threats to quit high school. But it's not her houseguest that has Amanda so worried: it's the strange occurences at the school that has all her detective's instincts screaming. The seniors are acting very strange indeed. Her roll book disappears, then reappears, as do various supplies in other classrooms. When physics teacher Juan Reyes is terribly injured by an explosion in the science lab, the police rule it as an accident -- but Amanda knows better. And if she doesn't find out what is really going on with her students, she knows that something even worse is going to happen at the upcoming Friday Mischief Party.
A Hole in Juan is a tautly written mystery that resonates with a pervasive sense of evil. Gillian Roberts controls the pacing, building the suspense to a breathtaking conclusion. As an entertaining counterpoint to the creepy atmosphere at the school, Amanda's thoughts about her students, the bureaucracy of the school, the doltish principal and her the customs of today's teens make for a hilarious counterpoint in this excellent entry in the popular series.
A Hole in Juan is available for purchase on Amazon.com
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This review was published in the March, 2006 of The Internet Writing Journal.
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