FOR YOUR OWN GOOD
SAMANTHA DOWNING *****
YOU CAN READ MY REVIEWS FOR PREVIOUS BOOKS BY SAMANTHA DOWNING HERE:
Teddy Crutcher has won Teacher of the Year at the prestigious Belmont Academy. Everyone thinks he's brilliant. Only you know the truth. They all smile when he tells us his wife couldn't be more proud - though if they stopped to think, they would realise no-one has seen her in a while. They're impressed when he doesn't let anything distract him - even the tragic death of a school parent. Even when the whispers start, saying it was murder. You're sure Teddy is hiding something about what happened that day. You're sure you can prove it. You just didn't stop to think that when it comes to catching a killer, there's no place more dangerous than just one step behind...
MY REVIEW *****
I have previously enjoyed ‘My Lovely Wife’ and ‘He Started It’ by Samantha Downing so I was really excited to get the ARC for ‘For Your Own Good’. I like that Samantha’s books are all so different which is somewhat rare for authors. My Lovely Wife focussed on a husband-and-wife serial killer team and He Started It was about a brother and sister’s road trip across America to get their inheritance. For Your Own Good also bucks the trend (although it is about a killer), it’s set in a high-school and includes points of view from the teachers and students who go there.
I really enjoyed For Your Own Good and I like that I was constantly kept on the back foot and trying to guess what would happen next. The perspective shifted between psychopathic teacher Teddy Crutcher, rich student Zach, neurotic teacher Sonia, ex-student Fallon and religious teacher Frank. Although there is a lot of characters, they are well-rounded and interesting, and I loved how they all brought new pieces of information which was linked to another point of view without them realising. My only criticism would be that there were sometimes multiple perspective changes per chapter but no formatting change or heading to signify the switch which became jarring in places. I liked how all of the characters had their own motivations though and that they are all quite dislikeable, but I still felt engaged with them and invested as a whole. It was quite amusing that I ended up rooting for the serial killer and hoping that they got away with their crimes!
The story itself is very dark with some comedy throughout. I find that a lot of thrillers set in a school can sometimes feel very juvenile and young-adult in style. This is not the case with For Your Own Good, which is firmly adult in its content and writing style. The pace is really well managed and there are lots of little twists and turns to keep tension high throughout. It does become a little far-fetched in its conclusion, which is a criticism I also had for He Started It, but I actually think that works quite well with the tone and style of the book in this case.
Overall, For Your Own Good is a thriller with dark humour at its heart - it’s well plotted and will keep you turning the pages to find out what happens next! Thank you to NetGalley & Penguin – Michael Joseph for the chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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