One Breath Away

Heather Gudenkauf. Mira, $15.95 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-0-7783-1365-6
As Edgar-finalist Gudenkauf’s chilling third suspense novel opens, elementary school children and their teachers in Broken Branch, Iowa, are anxiously awaiting the dismissal that will herald the beginning of their spring vacation. Suddenly, the voice of the school secretary comes over the intercom: “Teachers, this is a Code Red Lockdown. Go to your safe place.” A gunman has entered the school. The police rush to the scene, followed by anxious parents, while teachers deal with distraught children. Veteran teacher Evelyn Oliver must contend with the gunman himself, who holds her third graders hostage, doing all she can to protect her students. Eighth-grader Augie Thwaite bravely does her bit in an effort to rescue her little brother, P.J., a captive in Mrs. Oliver’s classroom. Gudenkauf (These Hidden Things) uses multiple viewpoints to keep the tension high and the reader glued to the pages. Agent: Marianne Merola, Brandt & Hochman Literary Agents. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/21/2012
Release date: 06/26/2012
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