Book: Run Straight Down by Steve Liskowcategories: Book, Crime, Contemporary, Teachers, Dark Humor, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Urban
Steve Liskowabout this book: When a student is shot outside the entrance to an urban high school, principal Peter Galvin finds himself caught in the middle of a politcal snake pit. The school is being evaluated for accreditation and Galvin is so new to the job he doesn't even know all his teachers by name. The superintendent wanted someone else in the position, but the head of the school board choose him anyway. The school is underfunded, understaffed, and falling apart.
Homicide cop Abigail Teague is the only woman on a Good Old Boy police force, and she has to play political games with the establishment and deal with racism and sexism--not to mention a huge gang and drug problem in the school--to find a killer who may have been trying to kill someone else.
Galvin and Teague come from completely different backgrounds, but they've ended up in the same place. So has student teacher Kimberly Dombrowik, who horrified her wealthy parents by abandoning their dreams of a legal eagle daughter and chosing to teach "those people." Kim is the dead student's English teacher and has stumbled into an affair with a married man, so it's hard to tell who's teaching whom.
Other books have dealt with school shooting, most notably Jodi Picault's Nineteen Minutes and Laura Lippman's To The Power of Three. Picault stresses the family issues in her story, and Lippman concentrates on the police investigation.
Steve Liskow is a former high school English teacher who lost students in gang shootings. While parents, police, and politicians can make their pronouncements about the terrible tragedy and walk away, Liskow's characters have to walk back into a dysfunctional school everyday, face the remaining damaged students, and make it all work.
The novel combines dark humor, plot twists, and complex characters to tell a story that offers no easy answers, but shows that hope and hard work still bear fruit.
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