This second installment of a series finds a New England prep school rocked by heroin overdoses.
The Moonus Dawkins School is an elite prep school in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Within 10 days, however, two senior students have died of drug overdoses: Mitchel Young, a popular academic ace, and Ron Eastwood, a talented musician and loner. Enter Drug Enforcement Administration agent Jason Kraft, who’s been covertly inserted into Dawkins as a teacher. His class is “Social Media in the Digital Age,” and both deceased students had been attending before his arrival. Helping Kraft is Alondra Espinoza, a vacationing FBI agent—and his fiancee. The probe immediately adopts a surreal flavor when Molly Stark, from the DEA’s media unit, subjects Kraft to an interview aimed at dissecting his current case for the purpose of training new recruits. She insists on knowing the vital details of the inquiry and Kraft’s methodology, which doesn’t sit well with him. Kraft also teams up with David Ellinghood, a local detective, and befriends professor Jim Soulmer. The investigation soon reveals that Mitchel, a dedicated pilot-in-training, would not be able to get his flier’s license, and he and his girlfriend, Hillary Barrymore, had been going through a rough patch. Then, an interview with Mitchel’s roommate, BJ McGee, suggests that the teen may have been murdered. In this literary thriller, Bombard (TobaccoNet, 2015) delivers an ode to the immortal Sherlock Holmes and the 1891 Arthur Conan Doyle short story “The Red-Headed League.” The Mind and Bones secret society, a system of underground tunnels, and the rumors of flight school hazing add touches of New England noir to picturesque Stockbridge. The author also does a superb job of rotating his multifaceted characters in and out of suspicion (the eloquent Soulmer, for example, convinces a drug dealer that he needs “some pure heaven man”). As Kraft delves further into the complex case, he’s reminded that “we were often struggling with competing good and bad influences in life.” Best of all: more suspicious deaths throughout the narrative keep the tension ratcheted high.
A meticulously arranged mystery in which technology and classic literature collide.