Chris Brennan is ready to start his new job as an AP Government teacher and baseball coach at Central Valley High School in rural Pennsylvania. However, Chris is not a teacher or a coach, and it quickly becomes clear that his real profession has nothing to do with education. He studies the students in class and pays particularly close attention to the boys who are also on the baseball team. He performs social experiments both during and outside of class to further analyze the personality traits of his students which will help him accomplish his undercover mission which is both secretive and dangerous. As he gets to know the students, their families, and other members of the community, he finds it increasingly difficult to maintain the necessary distance required between an undercover federal agent and the life in which they must become immersed. As lines between his personal and professional life continue to blur, tragedy strikes the community. Chris must decide whether to keep his undercover persona in hopes of getting to the bottom of a complicated and dangerous mystery or reveal himself and risk losing everything. It’s a race against time as Chris tries to save lives, including his own.
Trigger warnings: mild language, suicide, murder, mild sexual content
Why I read it: recommendation in online book club
This book caught my attention in the first chapter, and it held on to it until the very final page. It actually had quite a complicated plot, but the author did a good job of leading the reader through the detailed maze that was the premise of the book. I loved the main character, Chris, and I loved that the reader spends the first half of the book with the wrong impression of Chris. Since I was a high school teacher, I’m a sucker for books that take place in a high school atmosphere. The book had a great flow, and I did not feel like there were many sluggish parts where the author was struggling to get to the point.
One of my only critiques is that the end scenes were a little far-fetched and slightly unbelievable; although, I do give the author credit for trying to incorporate a unique premise.