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Mr. Miles' first That Cold Day In The Park (1965, p. 450) was a sordid shocker that went nowhere. This one moves, in fact the reader is pinned to the pages that keep turning, moving slowly to D-Day for Death. Angel is a young Mexican who has formulated ""The Plan"". The Plan is a total conspiracy among all the students, who hope to be ""better than Watts,"" ""famous"" by locking the doors on D-Day and executing their teachers. The Betsy Ross High School is, naturally, ""less than privileged"" with ghetto groups Mexican and Negro. The teachers move through each school day in blissful unawareness and they as well as the leaders or ""Generals"" are seen spottily in various typical poses. Of course, the cast of characters is so large that the sketches are slight but one man, the new substitute Art instructor, Tim Nielsen, is an effective portrait. Tim is Angel's mark, and the story revolves around their relationship. Tim is likable which Angel considers too bad. Actually Angel is a planner, not an ""executioner,"" as opposed to his Chief Assistant, one Rico, who is a psychopathic killer. The prevailing mood is of impending horror as some students try to warn, others try to escape. And finally when Tim, the object of most of the warnings, becomes convinced of the reality of this ""ridiculous"" situation, he too is thwarted in his attempts to persuade the rest of the faculty. There are too many cliched details designed to shock but it is readable.

Pub Date: May 26th, 1967
Publisher: Prentice-Hall