The Drama Teacher
By the New York Times bestselling author of Mother, Mother and Smashed comes a propulsive new thriller: the story of a desperate and devious woman who will do anything to give her family a better life
Gracie Mueller is a proud mother of two and devoted wife, living with her husband Randy in upstate New York. Her life is complicated by the usual tedium and stressors—young children, marriage, money—and she’s settled down comfortably enough. But when Randy’s failing career as a real estate agent makes finances tight, their home goes into foreclosure, and Gracie feels she has no choice but to return to the creatively illegal and high-stakes lifestyle of her past in order to keep all that she’s worked so hard to have. Gracie, underneath all that’s marked her life as average, has a lot to hide about where she’s from, who she is, and who she’s been. And when things inevitably begin to spin out of her control, more questions about the truth of her past are raised, including all the ones she never meant to, or even knew to, ask.
Written with the style, energy, and penetrating insight that made her memoir Smashed a phenomenon, Koren Zailckas's next novel confirms her growing reputation as a psychological novelist that can stand up to the best of them.
In this mesmerizing if disturbing thriller from bestseller Zailckas (Mother, Mother), con artist Gracie Mueller manages to save herself and her two young children from the brink of bankruptcy in New York's rural Hudson Valley after real estate agent Randy, the man she has duped into thinking they're married, gets into financial trouble. She bounces back by drawing on the skills that she gleaned from her Irish father, a grifter who took her on the lam with him at age 10 and who later betrayed her. She was also betrayed by her real husband, a swindler whom she'd become an accomplice of. After pulling off a ruse to leave Randy, Gracie settles with her children in Manhattan, where she engages in a number of scams of the rich that make use of her charm, computer prowess, and steely nerves. Assuming and shedding identities like a snake would its skin, Gracie somehow contrives to stay a half-step ahead of disaster, albeit not always believably. But while she may escape unscathed, her actions often wreak devastating collateral damage. Fascinated readers will keep turning the pages.
It was a quick read. I couldn’t put the book down.