When a young teacher, Samuel Szajkowski shoots 3 children, another teacher and himself in a seemingly unprovoked massacre in the school assembly hall, Lucia May, the detective in charge, quickly realises that maybe this attack is not quite as unexpected as it looks on the surface and with her own experience of sexual harassment and bullying in her "man's world" job, she sets out if not to clear Samuel's name then at least to help explain why it happened, avoid it happening again and also to try and place the responsibility on who she perceives as the real perpetrators.
The main theme is bullying in its different shapes and forms. It shows that it is not only happening between children, but that adults are equally afraid of not conforming and leaving the stronger group. In that sense it is a frustrating read because this is a real problem that is so hard to solve - and I think the author puts it very well in this exerpt from the book: "Why was the onus always on the weak when it was the strong that had the liberty to act? Why were the weak obliged to be so brave when the strong had license to behave like such cowards?"
The story is told in the form of a compilation of interviews/conversations with the teachers, pupils, parents, and Lucia's colleagues, family and friends - a bit like "The Rehearsal" by Eleanor Catton. I like this mix of voices and overall the author does a great job in making them authentic and "compiling" the storyline, however, there are a few issues, e.g. Lucia's boss, Cole. Their conversations do not seem as believable and well-written as the rest of the book, but despite these few glitches, I found it very entertaining and highly recommendable.
One thing though... I agree with one of the other reviewers, surely the final edition of this fine book is not going to be tainted by a cheap and easy shot as we currently have at the police station - there must be a better way to move on!