Monday, July 3, 2017

Lockdown by Laurie R. King

Lockdown: A Novel of Suspense by Laurie R. King --- 383 pages

Laurie R. King is best known for her Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series but she has also written a number of contemporary mystery/suspense novels, including the Kate Martinelli series and several other stand alone novels.

In Lockdown she sets up a nightmare scenario that has grown all too familiar in real life: a struggling small town California middle school is sent into lockdown in the midst of Career Day when it becomes the target of a mass shooter acting out his fantasy of retribution and vengeance.

King says in her Acknowledgements at the end of the book that this is an idea she has been working on for twenty years, and that the structure of the story is in part created by a series of previously published short stories written over that period, and here linked together to create a multiple point-of-view narrative, jumping forward and backward in time. This allows her to show events from many perspectives and to build suspense through foreshadowing.

It's a compelling theme, playing to our worst fears and secret hopes. I found it very different from King's other novels. While she does a good job of building the suspense, the plot is convoluted. Perhaps it would have been tighter and more focused if she had not tried to include some of the short stories? The ghost element seemed rather awkwardly sandwiched in.

But even one of King's minor efforts is well worth the time spent reading.

Click HERE to read the review from Kirkus Reviews.

Click HERE to read the review from Publishers Weekly.

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