Library Journal Review
How well do we know the people around us? What façade do they show to the world that hides their deepest thoughts and fears? This is the underlying theme in Harris's new novel, set at St Oswald's Grammar School for Boys (the same setting and characters as in Gentlemen and Players). The story opens in 2005 with the arrival of a new headmaster, a former student from the class of 1981. That particular year witnessed a horrible event that sent still-felt repercussions throughout the school. Chapters narrated by Roy Straitley, a curmudgeonly Latin teacher with a heart of gold and a passion for tradition, alternate with letters written by an unknown author to "Mousey" that date from 1981. Verdict This slow-moving thriller is worth the reader's time-the riveting last 30 pages will have you speed reading to the satisfying ending. Harris's sharp-eyed observations of human behavior are on the mark.-Marianne Fitzgerald, Severna Park H.S., MD © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
Roy Straitley, the narrator of this tepid psychological thriller from Edgar-finalist Harris (Gentlemen and Players), teaches Latin at St. Oswald's, a British boys boarding school. He favors those he terms his Brodie Boys, a gaggle of misfits much like him. Interspersed with Straitley's account (which is set in 2005) are 1981 journal entries of an unnamed St. Oswald's boy addressed to a frenemy nicknamed Mousey and flashbacks to a 1981 incident that resulted in the arrest of teacher Harry Clarke, a friend of Straitley's, for sexual misconduct and something far worse. Straitley is shocked to learn that someone involved in that 1981 incident, Johnny Harrington, who was then a somewhat troublesome St. Oswald's student, has been appointed the school's new head. Straitley, whose old-fashioned ways aren't appreciated by the progressive new administration, finds himself politely being shown the door, though he's positive something more sinister is going on. Harris doles out information painstakingly slowly, to the point of irritation, despite a fascinating milieu and important social issues. Agent: Peter Robinson, Rogers, Coleridge & White (U.K.). (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Booklist Review
The third in Harris' absorbing trilogy set in the fictional town of Malbry, takes up where the award-winning Gentlemen and Players (2006) left off. St. Oswald's Grammar School for Boys has had its share of scandal recently, and rumpled classics teacher Roy Straitley would like nothing more than for things to get back to normal. Unfortunately, the school's new headmaster is bent on change. The new headmaster is also a former St. Oswald's student who always struck Straitley as a disagreeable young man. Chapters alternate between 2005 and Headmaster Johnny Harrington's school days in 1981. Chapters include unsigned letters from each time period in which the writer confesses that you can use Coca Cola to clean up blood spills and that rats are too small to make good sacrifices. As the book proceeds, the reader becomes less and less certain who is writing these letters but more and more convinced that the revelation cannot come without a thumping good showdown. And Harris delivers.--Keefe, Karen Copyright 2016 Booklist