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First Impressions Friday: Lockdown

It’s that time of week, again, which means, it’s First Impressions Friday. For those of you who are unfamiliar, #FIF is a weekly meme created by J.W. Martin. The goal is to talk about a book you recently started reading then, share your first impressions, predict what you think will happen, and say whether you think you’ll enjoy it.

Career Day at Guadalupe Middle School: A day given to innocent hopes and youthful dreams. A day no one in attendance will ever forget.”

A year ago, Principal Linda McDonald arrived at Guadalupe determined to overturn the school’s reputation for truancy, gang violence, and neglect. One of her initiatives is Career Day—bringing together children, teachers, and community presenters in a celebration of the future. But there are some in attendance who reject McDonald’s bright vision.

A principal with a secret. A husband with a murky past. A cop with too many questions. A kid under pressure to prove himself. A girl struggling to escape a mother’s history. A young basketball player with an affection for guns.

Even the school janitor has a story he dare not reveal.

But no one at the gathering anticipates the shocking turn of events that will transform a day of possibilities into an explosive confrontation.

This week I started, LOCKDOWN, by the amazing Laurie R. King. This is—at its core—a suspense novel that, from the title alone and reading the back cover blurb, would give you the impression is solely about a school under siege. But you would be wrong. And so was I. Almost 95 pages in, last night, and I discovered this is so much more than a story about a school. And certainly so much more than the liner novel we are use to reading.

We are use to reading novels with lots of flashbacks—though I am not a big fan of that plot device—but in LOCKDOWN, King uses an unusual method to tell the story, from multiple POV. Something I know a lot of people hate as well. But, in this instance, it works brilliantly. Both to ratchet up the underlying and simmering tensions of the various characters, and in muddying the waters with a couple of mysteries. Not least of which is, what has happened to Bee Cuomo.

King has put into place a diverse cast of characters with enough secrets, scandals and lies to keep readers guessing—because, believe me, I’m already scratching my head wondering where the danger is going to come from. And just who, out of those I’ve read about, so far, are going to ignite the touch paper of the powder keg that is Guadalupe Middle School.

My Prediction: 9 / 10

6 Comments

  1. I don’t mind flashbacks or multiple POV but it all depends on the novel of course. I just added the first novel of King on my wishlist but maybe I should just skip to this one? Can it be read as a standalone? It does sound very good.

    • Then you will be okay with this one, which is written as a standalone, Inge.

      King has written a number of stand-alone novels, as well as doing three different series. I loved the Kate Martinelli books (5) as they are cop/crime suspense. I didn’t really get into the Sherlock books, but that’s just me. They are hugely popular, though.

      The one thing you can be sure of, she writes really good stories!

  2. Writing techniques that works well, you raking your brain, being so much more than ….wow Alexandra yes I would predict 9/10 too!

    • King is a master at manipulation and misdirection, Sophie, and so far, I’m really loving what she’s doing here with breadcrumb chapters. Not someone you want to go up against in a competition of wits, that’s for sure.

  3. Sounds good!
    I’m so used to flashbacks now that when recently i read a murder/mystery/suspense without that, it was weird 😀

    • Alexandra says

      I’ve been waiting for this one to come out in Trade for ages (I mean, who can afford a HB these days?)

      Yeah, I think its one of those tropes that works well in murder and crime fiction, if used right and sparingly.

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