The Dead Student by John Katzenbach (a book review)

This is a book about revenge and retribution with damaged characters trying to find ways to cope. The main character, Timothy “Moth” Warner is a PhD student and a recovering alcoholic whose sponsor is his uncle, Dr. Edward Warner, a psychiatrist. Warner, a veteran alcoholic himself who was nearly 7,000 days sober (more or less) is found dead. Cause of death is ruled a suicide, the final conclusion based on evidence. But Moth doesn’t believe it because he knows his uncle would never desert him; he was not suicidal and he had too much good in his life to live for. And so, the search for the truth begins . . .

Along the way, Moth reunites with a former girlfriend, Andrea Martine, to seek her help in solving the mystery of who killed his uncle. Andrea’s nickname, Andy Candy, is antithetical to the person she feels she’s become since trying to recover from a date rape and its result. When trying to help Moth, she makes every effort to contain building hysteria as danger escalates in their search for justice.

The book is filled with interesting characters who have gone through their own traumas and troubles. It varies the viewpoint from one character to the next in setting the stage and building suspense. The story becomes quite a page turner in the final chapters as the two get closer to the killer, or as the killer gets closer to the two? You can find out for yourself.

The writer, John Katzenbach, has written 13 other novels, but I’ve only read two of his other books: Red 1-2-3 and What Comes Next. Both good books and that’s why I picked up his latest novel, The Dead Student.

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