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Thanks to NetGalley and Bantam for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: Available Now

336 Pages

Synopsis: Career Day at Guadalupe Middle School: a day given to innocent hopes and youthful dreams. A day no one in attendance will ever forget.

A year ago, Principal Linda McDonald arrived at Guadalupe determined to overturn the school’s reputation for truancy, gang violence, and neglect. One of her initiatives is Career Day–bringing together children, teachers, and community presenters in a celebration of the future. But there are some in attendance who reject McDonald’s bright vision. 

A principal with a secret. A husband with a murky past. A cop with too many questions. A kid under pressure to prove himself. A girl struggling to escape a mother’s history. A young basketball player with an affection for guns.

Even the school janitor has a story he dare not reveal.

But no one at the gathering anticipates the shocking turn of events that will transform a day of possibilities into an explosive confrontation.

Laurie R. King is best known for her Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series, of which I’m a devoted fan. She’s also written the contemporary mystery Kate Martinelli series, which I haven’t tried yet, but after reading Lockdown, I definitely will be. I thought going into this, that it would be a thriller about a school shooting, and I was eagerly anticipating how the author would handle this topic. While it started off a little slow and a bit chaotic, in the end I was completely captivated by the character-driven story. It took me a little while though to get used to the way the story unfolds. It’s told from several different viewpoints including: the Principal’s, her husband, a police officer, and a few students. It also jumps between different time periods and adds in the mysterious disappearance of a young student, and because of these things I felt as though I was getting whiplash at first. But the characters are so well written, that within the first fifty pages I settled in and couldn’t tear myself away. Their lives and backstories are integral to what unfolds on Career Day, and they add to the slow- building suspense. Because each of them has something going on that could result in the violent act that happens at this small California town’s middle school, I really had no idea who the shooter was going to be. When the story arrives at its climax, what happens makes sense and leads to a satisfying conclusion. Overall I found Lockdown to be a creative standalone from Laurie R. King that solidifies her respected reputation. I highly recommend it to fans of hers, as well as readers who enjoy a good character-driven mystery.