cover image The Teacher

The Teacher

Freida McFadden. Poisoned Pen, $17.99 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-1-72829-621-0

At the start of the superb latest from McFadden (The Coworker), frumpy math teacher Eve Bennett is preparing for a new year at Caseham High School with her handsome husband and fellow teacher, Nate. Eve is dismayed to learn that Addie Severson, a student who allegedly had an affair with math teacher Art Tuttle (who’s since resigned) last year, has been assigned to one of her classes. While Addie insists nothing inappropriate happened with Tuttle, her classmates bully her about the rumors, and the school’s staff remain split on whether to believe her. As the school year progresses, Addie finds refuge from the constant scrutiny in Nate’s class, developing a bond with him over their mutual love of poetry. One night, after hosting a dinner party, Eve catches Addie lurking in the bushes near her and Nate’s home. Nate’s passive response to the discovery irks Eve and leads her to suspect his relationship with Addie might be edging into illicit territory. As Eve investigates, McFadden rolls out a series of jaw-dropping twists that recast the power dynamic between her central trio over and over again. The frequent rug-pulling will thrill readers who’ve initially pinned the story as run-of-the-mill domestic suspense. This rivets. Agent: Christina Hogrebe, Jane Rotrosen Agency. (Feb.)