Author : Samantha Downing
Title : For Your Own Good
Pages : 400
Publisher : Michael Joseph UK
Publication date : August 19, 2021
| ABOUT THE BOOK |
Teddy Crutcher 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.
But 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.
But you 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 THOUGHTS |
Welcome to the prestigious school of Belmont, where the kids are hardworking and bright, the parents are awfully entitled but the teachers are the ones to be afraid of. Very afraid.
Teddy Crutcher won Teacher of the Year last year. How is quite frankly beyond me. Teddy is the jealous and vindictive type. He envies his colleagues because he isn’t truly a member of the Belmont family, those who studied there, left, and then came back to teach. He has an immense dislike for the privileged children he teaches and their parents. So much so that he downgrades papers just because he doesn’t like someone’s smug face. Let’s face it, Teddy is a narcissist who would like the world to revolve around him but as it is, people barely see him.
Something is bound to happen. You can feel it. But boy, does it take a while. The build-up is so long and so slow that I honestly almost gave up on it. In the end, I’m glad I didn’t because when things finally started to pick up, ‘For Your Own Good‘ was quite cleverly done. Not one huge twist at the end to dazzle you into thinking you just read the psychological thriller of the year. No, Samantha Downing does things very differently.
Teddy might be doing things for people’s own good but well, let’s just say he’s not very good at it. Mistakes happen and the hole Teddy finds himself in only becomes deeper and deeper as he tries to makes things right. Or as right as can be. As the reader, you know very well what he’s up to and in my case, my dislike for him grew exponentially throughout the story. There might be someone who knows what is going on. But can they stop Teddy or will he get away with it all?
The cast of narrators grows as the story goes on and that may have just been one of my favourite bits. Even if it was sometimes a little hard to keep track of things, but that’s just me. More and more characters become unwittingly involved in Teddy’s shenanigans and while some may also be slightly unlikeable, these are the characters you end up rooting for. Particularly because I personally felt that Teddy was more incredibly annoying as opposed to this murderous psycho, and I just really wanted him to get his comeuppance.
A cast of unlikeable characters, intrigue, murder, twist and turns ….. all good things. And yet. I’m not wholly convinced and I can’t quite put my finger on the “why”. Yes, it’s cleverly done. Yes, Samantha Downing knows how to hook a reader and keep their attention with short and snappy chapters. And all in all, ‘For Your Own Good‘ is an entertaining read, even though I feel the ending lets it down. It’s most definitely better than Downing’s previous offering but never does it get anywhere near the level of her debut. I enjoyed it but I expected more.
My thanks to the publisher for the review copy. All opinions are my own.
20 Books of Summer : 16/20