For Your Own Good, a review by Sherry

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For Your Own Good
Samantha Downing

384 pages
Berkley Publishing Group
published July 20, 2021

Amazon | Goodreads

Samantha Downing has done it again.  I am a fan of her warped plots and dark humor.  There are always egos and misdirection and this one is no exception.  It takes place in an elite prep school with a collection of teachers, parents, and students. The book centers around Mr. Crutcher, who is one of the two literature teachers and the one the students like least even though his ego has him believe he is beloved.  When a parent dies, the race is on to figure out who did it so the school can get back to its excelling ways.

I’m always amazed at the way Downing can create a seemingly normal, almost boring, character with so many secrets and such evil depth and make them look almost forgetful.  Another thing that draws me into her novels are thrillers are usually plot driven, by necessity, but she is artful at creating characters with depth that you just want to know more about.  I’m not sure I liked any of the characters in the book, but I definitely wanted to know what they would do next. 

There is a rivalry between faculty, a power struggle between teachers and students, parents and children, and even parents and teachers.  Everyone is very good at getting what they want, for many by any means necessary, but you know it’s not likely that everyone can get what they want. It eventually turns into a cat and mouse game with twisty reveals.  And if you pay very close attention, there are hints along the way to what will happen next. I read this in just a few days, as I could not put it down.  

I don’t want to go into too many details and risk spoiling any of the fun for you.  And while it is a psychological thriller, fun is not misplaced in my review.  I did chuckle often at the unique twist on something so part of life.  If you are a fan of her previous books or like some humor with your murder, I’m sure you’ll like this book. 

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