Spuddie's Reviews > A Thousand Cuts

A Thousand Cuts by Simon Lelic
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's review
Apr 05, 2011

it was amazing
Read from April 03 to 08, 2011

The book was originally published with the title "Rupture" in the UK--a much more appropriate title, I thought. Blast publishers who feel the need to tweak titles in different countries!

This is a first novel, a police mystery about a school shooting in London where the perpetrator was a teacher who shot several students, a fellow teacher, and then himself. The teacher, Samuel Szajkowski, was the new history teacher at an exclusive prep school and had apparently endured unremitting bullying and pranks from everyone from the headmaster down to the students almost from his first moments at the school.

The investigation is conducted by DI Lucia May, who is unwilling to glide through her investigation--which on the surface, seems cut and dried. We know whodunit--does it really matter why? Eventually, Lucia wonders if the shooting was connected somehow to the vicious beating of another student that had already been under investigation. She also wonders why her boss is so eager to put the 'closed' stamp on the case and is attempting to rein Lucia and her investigation in well before she thinks it's time.

The story is told partially in first-person as Lucia listens to the various witnesses, and partially in third-person narrative from Lucia's point of view, alternating chapters. It's a very effective and interesting tool, and the author skillfully brings each witness into focus without ever naming who they are. A very timely piece of fiction, focusing on bullying, which has been so much in the news of late.

I can't say I really enjoyed the story itself--the whole scenario is just plain gut-wrenchingly horrible. But I did very much enjoy the author's thought-provoking telling of the story. Going to be looking for more from Mr. Lelic, to be sure!

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