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Thea Kozak #7

Stalking Death

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Crisis specialist Thea Kozak is called to the campus of an elite New Hampshire private school to help the administration deal with an angry African-American basketball player who claims she's being stalked. There is nothing warm and fuzzy about the complainant. Shondra Jones is a six foot three, tightly coiled bundle of rage and resentment. She's also sixteen, scared, and far from home. Beneath the school's genteel veneer, Thea finds that a secret group of well-connected students flouts rules and abuses fellow students with impunity.

320 pages, Hardcover

First published June 1, 2006

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About the author

Kate Flora

58 books109 followers
Kate Flora grew up on a chicken farm in Maine where the Friday afternoon trip to the library was the high point of her week. She dreamed of being able to create the kind of compelling, enchanting worlds of the books she disappeared into every week, but growing up in the era when “help wanted” ads were still sex-segregated, she felt her calling was to go to law school and get the job they told her she couldn’t have.

After law school, Kate worked in the Maine attorney general’s office, protecting battered kids, chasing deadbeat dads, and representing the Human Rights Commission. Those years taught her all a crime writer needs to know about the human propensity to commit horrible acts. After some years in private practice, she decided to give writing a serious try when she quit the law to stay at home for a few years with her young sons. That ‘serious try’ led to ten tenacious and hellacious years in the unpublished writer’s corner, followed, finally, by the sale of her Thea Kozak series.

Kate’s eighteen books will include eight Thea Kozak mysteries, five gritty Joe Burgess police procedurals, a suspense thriller (written under the name Katharine Clark), two true crime books, Death Dealer and Finding Amy (co-written with Joseph Loughlin, a Portland, Maine Deputy Police Chief), a Maine game warden's memoir, A Good Man with a Dog, co-written with Roger Guay, and a book about police shootings from the police point of view, Shots Fired: The misunderstandings, misconceptions, and myths about police shootings, co-written with Joseph K. Loughlin. Finding Amy was a 2007 Edgar nominee as well as a Maine Literary Award finalist, and has been optioned for a movie. Kate’s award-winning short stories have been widely anthologized and Redemption and And Grant You Peace, her third and fourth Joe Burgess mysteries, won the Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction.

Flora's fiction, nonfiction, and short fiction have been finalists for the Edgar, Agatha, Anthony, and Derringer Awards.

She is a founding member of the New England Crime Bake, the region's annual mystery conference, and the Maine Crime Wave. With two other crime writers, she started founded Level Best Books, where she worked as an editor and publisher for seven years. She served a term as international president of Sisters in Crime, an organization founded to promote awareness of women writers’ contributions to the mystery field. Currently, she teaches writing and does manuscript critiques for Grub Street in Boston.

She has two sons (one into film and the other into photovoltaics) two lovely daughters-in-law, an adorable eight-year-old grandson and five granddogs, Frances, Otis, Harvey, Oscar, and Daisy. When not conducting research for her novels and nonfiction—research that includes riding an ATV through the Canadian woods or hiding in a tick-infested field waiting to be found by search and rescue dogs—Kate can often be found in her garden, waging war against the woodchucks and her husband’s lawnmower, or in the kitchen, devising clever and devious ways to get the men in her life to eat their vegetables.

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5 stars
94 (44%)
4 stars
84 (39%)
3 stars
29 (13%)
2 stars
4 (1%)
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Displaying 1 - 20 of 20 reviews
Profile Image for Mary.
558 reviews
November 9, 2017

Not only did I read to 2 a.m., but I then couldn’t sleep, had to arise to write, process, and calm back down. There’s another in the series coming soon. I can hardly wait! 
My notes and gleaned wisdom: 
 “Neo Skulls” secret group of legacy students — leader a sadistic entitled monster, “lacking rules and guidance . . . finally tangled with someone more than his match” — grandfather paying for building on campus. Concerned parents — black female athlete being stalked, threatened, porn left in her room. School chooses to believe she’s lying and that, being “a big girl, she can take care of herself.” Still, she’s a terrified sixteen year old. Her brother “more manners and poise than” (headmaster), and she are both gifted basketball players, should be “grateful” for scholarships. No understanding that stalking is power, not attraction. (Why do parents send high school students to boarding schools? Too young!)
Problems in “our little world” can’t be swept away with a letter full of falsehoods, no real investigation, missing records . . Excellent B&B. Thea has courage enough to face danger and also to take a stand despite disapproval, and to call a bullying officer on his poor behavior.
On leaving each other unwillingly, Andre, “We picked these lives . . . work we love . . . good at it.” “Look how far hope has brought us.”
Profile Image for Rogue Reader.
1,931 reviews9 followers
April 30, 2019
I regret that Kate Flora's Stalking Death has been on my TBR pile since 2006 but ever so glad that I picked it up yesterday. What a whomper of a book for so many reasons.

Flora's treatment of women throughout Stalking is superb. At first I was put off by the title, Stalking -- all too often a signal for a fearful, desperate woman who can't escape her destiny until she's rescued. Instead, Flora's use of the title is to expose ignorance and gender bias and provide a platform for women to react and take control.

Characters - Thea Kozak is probably the strongest female protagonist I've ever encountered. Flora has conceived of her in 360o, and we see all aspects of her. Kozak is smart, determined, physically strong, personally aware, empathetic. There's a reasonable and well drawn love interest that doesn't get in the way, and intimacy is handled just right. Lest we assume perfection, there are deficiencies in Kozak's character too.

Setting -- Stalking is set in Maine and New Hampshire and there's not too much of a sense of place, but the insights into the culture of private schools, male privilege and both gender and racial bias are exceptional.

Physically, The Mystery Company book feels good and looks good. Smaller size, like Soho, the book is easy to hold and read. Gutters are wide, kerning and leading are pleasing.

Profile Image for Michelle.
665 reviews5 followers
June 13, 2021
Thea’s latest consultant job is at a school where a young woman is possibly getting harassed and stalked. However when she arrives on sight she finds a most perplexing atmosphere. The headmaster is willfully blind to what is real and keeps trying to do anything in his power to obstruct Thea from both helping and finding some truthful answers. Dangerous goings on continue as a murder of a student by another happens shortly thereafter. Will Thea be able to find the truth and help the victims or will she become one herself?
An action packed story in the Thea Kozak mystery series. I absolutely love Thea’s determination to help the young girl in the face of school wide apathy. An edge of your seat thriller and an engrossing read! Loved it!
I received this book for free from eBook Discovery. I voluntarily review this book. This is my honest review.
April 22, 2019
Terror at St. Matthews

Who would have thought that a small boarding school could hide so much madness. From rapes by entitled young men to torture by a soul less maniac willing to chop up bodies while they are alive. Clueless, intimated, gutless or selfishly indifferent school personnel let the student body suffer. It takes Thea to put the puzzle pieces together.
Great sub plots with bizarre twists and turns keep action nonstop. Characters with their quirks, flaws, and unexpected attributes make it impossible to anticipate the ending. A highly recommended read.
497 reviews9 followers
November 4, 2019
This one is set on the campus of St. Matthew's, a private boarding school in central New Hampshire, where educational crisis consultant Thea is asked to rubber-stamp a letter to parents in the midst of stalking allegations by an athletic black student (age 16). She quickly realises that the school administration has not investigated the matter seriously and plans on scapegoating the accuser. Anyone who likes boarding school mysteries will like this one, tightly plotted, with a chilling and frenzied climax.   
7,344 reviews24 followers
July 2, 2019
Elite school, a generous donations , and a grandson, thinks he is above the law, or any rules and regulation. Thea is brought in to find a girl being stalked, the school is more concern about losing money. As she continues her investigation, finding the horrors of what all has been going on. Good page turner, and a good series.
Profile Image for Annalise Richards.
13 reviews1 follower
November 4, 2022
wonderful mystery

I really enjoyed this YA book. A few twists and turns and some outright surprises. I had not read any other book in the series, yet this was easy to follow along.

I love the interaction between Thea and Andre. Even some funny scenes. It is a fade to black romance, so cozy mystery?

Highly recommend.
989 reviews15 followers
June 3, 2021
Very well written and with great characters, as always. Very smooth and entertaining to read, but the plot is a little too unbelievable.
I received this book for free from eBook Discovery. I voluntarily post this review. This is my honest review.
390 reviews3 followers
November 7, 2017
Thea is a Threat

Thea Kozak figures it all out and solves the problem. She is witty, tough, and intelligent. A pleasurable book to read!
78 reviews
December 5, 2017
I liked this book very much and have obtain two more of her books from the library. I liked her and the book kept me guessing all the3 way to the end!
Profile Image for Milisa.
90 reviews3 followers
June 27, 2020
Wonderful Read

Loved this. I feel like I read a Law and Order ripped from the headlines mashup of #metoo and #blwcklives matter.
Profile Image for Kae Cheatham.
Author 18 books24 followers
May 19, 2010
Crisis Specialist Thea Kozak is a well-drawn character and the reader "sees" her immediately. Even though the story is told in first person, Thea is not a first-person camera; she is involved in the story emotionally as well as physically. When she's called in to defuse a stalking situation on the campus of a private high school academy, she meets up with subterfuge she didn't expect. Her own feelings toward the victim, who seems to also be victimized by the school administration, intensify Kozak's need to get at the truth.

This is the seventh Thea Kozak mystery since 1994, and Thea's also personal life comes into play. Flora didn't delve into a lot of background information, which is good; although references to Kozak's last mystery involvement is alluded to, it isn't necessary to know all the details to make this story work.

The major adult characters were nicely depicted, as well as that of the victim, Shondra Jones. The student population didn't come across as mid-teen people, mostly because they were sketchy.

The conclusion, while plausible, left several holes and question about why certain early incidents had been put in the story and why others hadn't been highlighted more to show the complexity of the situation.

In all, the story read well and engaged me more than enough to get to the end. It was only in retrospect that I had questions. I tend to over-analyze stories, and this was probably the case with Stalking Death.
Profile Image for Susan.
81 reviews4 followers
September 4, 2012
Kate Flora is a new author for me...unfortunately, I started with the seventh book in the her Thea Kozak mystery series - now I'm going back and starting at the beginning with 1994's "Chosen for Death". Thea is an interesting character - she, along with her partner Suzanne, are crisis counselors, working with private schools in New England; just when you think there isn't a new occupation for the amateur sleuth...When a 16 year old minority athlete at a private boarding school complains of stalking, Thea is called in to handle the crisis and help put a good spin on the situation, which quickly escalates into much more, and there lies the tale....Thea is an interesting and likable character and I look forward to reading more of Ms. Flora's books.
Profile Image for Susan Andres.
20 reviews1 follower
January 18, 2014
Another really, really good mystery from Flora; I couldn't put it down. One quibble almost prevented me from giving her four stars: I attended a New England boarding school, and although I realize it's a very different world now from the world it was then, I could not suspend my disbelief enough to accept the level of corruption depicted in this book.

So, although I enjoyed this book hugely, I was left feeling unsatisfied by a resolution that implicated so very many utterly heartless, calculating, conscienceless people. But then I remembered the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq and decided to give Flora that fourth star after all.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
194 reviews1 follower
May 25, 2016
The a Kodak can't stay out , of harms way. She had more dangerous adventures in what should never a boring job.

As withthepreviousbooks I. This series the characters are believable and fun. Non-stop actions keeps the pages turning. These books are entertaining romps. I highly recommend The
A and Andre
Profile Image for Jane.
173 reviews16 followers
August 5, 2008
Not my favorite of the Thea Kozak series but boy am I glad to see her back in print.
965 reviews
October 4, 2009
Chilling tale of nefarious goings-on at a posh boarding school in New Hampshire. The protagonist is an out-sourced PR type person who helps schools handle difficult situations.
Profile Image for Kelly.
1,047 reviews19 followers
May 10, 2011
This as more like a 3 3/4 for me. I truly like ongoing characters and was glad to read about Thea again. Not my favorite in the series, but still quite good.
Displaying 1 - 20 of 20 reviews

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