The Drama Teacher

Koren Zailckas. Crown, $27 (400p) ISBN 978-0-553-44809-2
In this mesmerizing if disturbing thriller from bestseller Zailckas (Mother, Mother), con artist Gracie Mueller manages to save herself and her two young children from the brink of bankruptcy in New York’s rural Hudson Valley after real estate agent Randy, the man she has duped into thinking they’re married, gets into financial trouble. She bounces back by drawing on the skills that she gleaned from her Irish father, a grifter who took her on the lam with him at age 10 and who later betrayed her. She was also betrayed by her real husband, a swindler whom she’d become an accomplice of. After pulling off a ruse to leave Randy, Gracie settles with her children in Manhattan, where she engages in a number of scams of the rich that make use of her charm, computer prowess, and steely nerves. Assuming and shedding identities like a snake would its skin, Gracie somehow contrives to stay a half-step ahead of disaster, albeit not always believably. But while she may escape unscathed, her actions often wreak devastating collateral damage. Fascinated readers will keep turning the pages. Agent: Amanda Urban, ICM. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 05/07/2018
Release date: 08/07/2018
Genre: Fiction
Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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