Jack Branch, the last son of an aristocratic Old South family, has returned to his hometown, taking on the job of teacher at the local high school.
When he sets his students a paper entitled 'The Most Evil Person', he expects essays on historical tyrants and literary villains. He doesn't expect Eddie Miller's choice - his own father.
Throughout his life, Eddie has been known as 'The Coed Killer's Son', because when Eddie was eight years old, his father killed a local college student, dismembered her body, and buried the pieces in a local forest.
Eddie's investigation of his own father's dark secrets steadily widens until, ultimately, it encompasses the whole town...
About the Author
Thomas H. Cook is one of North America's most respected crime writers. He won an Edgar award for his novel The Chatham School Affair and has been shortlisted for the award six times, most recently with Red Leaves (Quercus 2006), which was also shortlisted for the Duncan Lawrie Dagger award. He lives in New York City and Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
A high-school teacher's course on evil through the ages bears unexpected present-day fruit.Before he shot himself and inflicted a head wound that turned him into a recluse, Jack Branch's father was a legendary teacher in Lakeland, Miss. To honor him and give something back to the community, Jack returns to Lakeland in 1954 to begin a stint in the classroom. There he designs a new course focusing on villains: Iago, Benedict Arnold, Jack the Ripper. Jack asks his students to each choose a subject for a report. Eddie Miller, a hitherto unremarkable student, wants to write a paper on his father, Luther Ray Miller, the so-called Coed Killer who abducted and murdered a Lakeland senior years earlier. Drawn for reasons he can scarcely explain to help the boy come to terms with his family demons, Jack is stunned when the boy's questions lead to Jack's own father, and ultimately to a catastrophe that Jack's narrative has been hinting at from the beginning.Cook, normally the master of the retrospective thriller (The Cloud of Unknowing, 2007, etc.), offers a case whose lack of tragic inevitability is only heightened by his insistence on heavy-handed Had-I-But-Known foreshadowing. (Kirkus Reviews)
Number Of Pages: 367
Published: 1st September 2008
Publisher: Quercus Publishing Plc
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.6
Edition Number: 1