Books by Jake Fuchs

DEATH OF A PROF by Jake Fuchs
Released: May 15, 2001

"Two installments into his Nursery School Murders series, Fuchs seems mired in the sandbox, his notion of satire limited to poking fun of foreign accents, detailed descriptions of hyenas' genitals, and endless repetition of the word 'farties.'"
It's a wonder that Berkeley teacher Maren Matthews (Death of a Dad, 1998) doesn't just throw herself off the jungle gym at Hillside Nursery School and end it all. Her husband Aaron, a little-published Edith Wharton scholar, is so frustrated by his inability to earn pay incentives (called, for some unknown reason, "farties") at second-tier San Francisco State that he stops taking his anti-depressants, causing him to speak. To her. In cryptic bursts. Incomprehensible! Her charges are little thugs who bop everyone in sight—except for sad-sack Boris Pownall and almost-mute Deirdre Blake, whose short-tempered parents, involved in some kind of mammalian research, disregard Maren's requests not to send soup for lunch. But Diane Blake not only Fails to Follow Directions, she Is Disrespectful Toward Others, dumping her husband and child to run off to Las Vegas with more successful Wharton scholar Cedric McAulay. Derek Blake Does Not Control His Impulses and, according to Diane, Runs With Sharp Objects, decapitating McAulay in the Matthews' kitchen. But somehow, Maren doesn't entirely trust Diane's account of the murder, and instead of smothering herself in a vat of Play-Doh, launches her own investigation, uncovering a scheme in which corporate greed and institutional incompetence conspire as players push their private agendas. Read full book review >
DEATH OF A DAD by Jake Fuchs
Released: April 15, 1998

Bullying little tykes, the little tykes— victims, and whining parents pleading every excuse under the sun for some extra accommodation—all the everyday crises Maren Matthews is used to dealing with at the Hillside School get elbowed aside by the discovery of Caleb O'Boyle's father Malcolm, bashed to death on the cornmeal table. As the surviving parents rush to remove their darlings from the horrid scene—except for video producer-director Celine Livermore, who withdraws her daughter Minka only to fob her off on another parent who then brings her back to school when Celine's day-care arrangements break down—the Berkeley cops, led by Maren's onetime boyfriend Jimmie Greenlee, focus their coercive attention on Hillside director Judy Thompson. But Maren's not convinced, even when she finds out that Judy and Mal had quite recently been trysting on the cornmeal table, and that Judy's softball bat was very likely the murder weapon. Seeking a break from her husband Aaron, "a mean, spiteful, self-centered asshole" sunk to the neck in his book on Edith Wharton, Maren tracks down Mal's links to an adult- video outfit—just in time to learn that his two partners in porn have been killed as well. Fuchs's debut novel is a low-rent Berkeley Compromising Positions that's stronger on milieu—especially the heroine's domestic life—than on plot. Read full book review >