Carpe Diem, Illinois

Kristin A. Oakley. Little Creek Press, $16.95 paper (284p) ISBN 978-0-9899780-3-3
In Oakley’s novel, Leo Townsend is a Pulitzer Prize–nominated reporter battling a series of personal demons that have put him on probation at his newspaper. He’s given an assignment that seems innocuous at first glance: investigate the town of Carpe Diem, an enclave in Illinois with no schools (the families all “unschool” their children). As Townsend begins his research, he stumbles upon a conspiracy to destroy Carpe Diem and its education system, or lack thereof. Oakley’s concept is interesting, but the residents of Carpe Diem tend to be one-dimensional. The teenagers come off as Stepford children, perfectly well-behaved, intelligent, and educated in everything from auto mechanics to nursing. The adults, meanwhile, are mired in alcohol, adultery, blackmail, corruption, and murder. Oakley’s heavy promotion of unschooling tends to slow the pace at times. Still, the amateur sleuthing and clever deceptions should delight fans of cozy mysteries. (BookLife)
Reviewed on: 11/24/2014
Genre: Fiction
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