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5+++ stars for Cruel Lessons by Randy Overbeck #mystery #newrelease #bookreview #wrpbks

Title: Cruel Lessons

Author: Randy Overbeck

Genre: Mystery

Book Blurb:

On a school camping trip, fifth graders experiment with a dangerous new hallucinogen and die in a horrific accident, their deaths shattering the quiet town. Assistant Superintendent Ken Parks, hoping to redeem a fatal mistake from his past, grasps the opportunity to conduct the district investigation of how students are getting the drugs. Almost before he begins, the cops make a stunning arrest. But Parks battles on, convinced the real pusher is still out there, poisoning more kids until he receives an anonymous threat: if he continues, those close to him will pay. Is Parks willing to risk those he loves for a chance at redemption?

My Review:

Every parent's unrelenting thriller

In Randy Overbeck's latest release, Cruel Lessons, his subject matter hits parents in the gut: drugs in schools. But we're not talking about high school here, no, these are elementary and middle school students. Randy Overbeck tackles every parent's nightmare with poignant narration, stark twists, and a gasp-worthy ending. Brilliant from start to finish, Cruel Lessons is unrelenting in every way.

I've read all of this author's books and he writes unforgettable supernatural/paranormal suspense. He now pivots to crime thrillers where evil lurks behind a benign face. It's more scary because there are no paranormal forces at work. The writing is realistic with many twists and turns I didn't see coming. The plot unfolds at a good pace. Impressive storytelling left me with a racing heart and shivers.

The characters are expressive, mysterious, and relatable. I disliked Chief Garcia from the beginning. I connected with Ken Parks and Stacy Thompson. Parks is the perfect character to be an amateur detective. His personality suits him as an educator and a detective. There's a large list of suspects yet when the villain is unmasked, I gasped. Well done, Randy Overbeck.

If you're a reader of crime thrillers, this is your next bucket list read. Cruel Lessons reads like something you'd read in the news headlines. It's one of the best thrillers I've ever read. I strongly recommend it.

My Rating: 5+++ stars

Buy it Now:

Author Biography:

Dr. Randy Overbeck is an award-winning educator, author and speaker. As an educator, he served children for more than three decades in a range of roles captured in his novels, from teacher and coach to principal and superintendent. His thriller, LEAVE NO CHILD BEHIND (2012) and his recent mysteries, the Amazon No. 1 Best Seller, BLOOD ON THE CHESAPEAKE (2019), CRIMSON AT CAPE MAY (2020) and SCARLET AT CRYSTAL RIVER (2021) have earned five star reviews and garnered national awards including “Thriller of the Year”—, “Gold Award”—Literary Titan, “Mystery of the Year”— and “Crowned Heart of Excellence”—InD’Tale Magazine.

As a member of the Mystery Writers of America, Dr. Overbeck is an active member of the literary community, contributing to a writers’ critique group, serving as a mentor to emerging writers and participating in writing conferences such as Sleuthfest, Killer Nashville and the Midwest Writers Workshop. When he’s not writing or researching his next exciting novel or sharing his presentation “Things Still Go Bump in the Night,” he’s spending time with his incredible family of wife, three children (and their spouses) and seven wonderful grandchildren.

Social Media Links:

Reviewed by: Nancy


Nancy Brashear
Nancy Brashear
Dec 02, 2023

Well, you sold me, and I just ordered it. I can't wait to read another Randy Overbeck book on a vital problem that is in schools today.--thanks! Nancy


Nov 09, 2023

Looks like another winner from Randy Overbeck!

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