The Substitute is a difficult book to get into, at least it was for me. Warren Botts, the substitute, is taking a break from his lab (he's a PhD) and teaching middle school science. He's introverted, more than a little socially inept but very concerned about creating his lessons effectively. One morning he finds one of his students, Amanda, hanging from a tree in his backyard. Of course, he becomes a suspect, has few social supports, and the mystery of the young girl's death are a big part of the book.
An anonymous narrator, who has an even more dysfunctional home life than Warren, is an alternate observer of the murder. This narrator isn't any more likeable than Warren and it is hard to relate or engage with either of them.
However, I did persevere and it was worth it. I did not have any idea who had killed Amanda and the revelation was a surprise.
Nicole Lundigran is a Canadian author and The Substitute is a House of Anansi book.
Our Little Secret by Roz Nay is another character study of a disturbed murder. Not that I think there is another kind. The story opens with Angela in a police interrogation room as she informs the detective that she will talk to him and answer his questions BUT only if he lets her tell her tale her way. He agrees and she starts 10 years earlier when she was a high school student.
A brilliant girl but a misfit who catches the eye of the BMOC, HP, a handsome, easy-going charmer. Eventually, hormones being what they are and teenagers what they are, the become lovers.
Angela has been accepted to Oxford University, England. She wants to stay in her pokey hometown but can't. Off to Jolly Old.
Their relationship doesn't last the separation and HP marries Siska, the Aussie he met in England.
The "threesome" that develops is strange but we always hear and see it from Angela's point of view. When Siska disappears and is found dead, suspicion falls on her. Did she do it? Was she set up and framed by others? Our Little Secret is well done but again it's hard to connect with Angela.
Our Little Secret is Roz Nay's first novel who now lives in BC. Simon and Schuster are publishers.
I am an avid reader and like to share some of my "finds" with others.