Teacher's Dead

Issue section: 
(319)

Benjamin Zephaniah, Bloomsbury, £5.99

When the "blood brothers" Lionel and Ramzi stab a teacher in front of many witnesses, fellow pupil Jackson can't help but wonder why. While everyone dismisses the "blood brothers" as "teen killers", Jackson can't stop his inquisitive mind keeping him awake at night. What had driven them to do such a terrible thing? And why had they walked away so calmly after the act?

With these questions in his mind, he decides to launch his own investigation. While playing detective Jackson realises he's not the only one having a hard time sleeping. Soon his investigation becomes a double act with Mrs Joseph, the dead teacher's widow. Together they go to the trial and see the two murderers sentenced to gaol.

The media starts to heat things up by trashing Lisa, Lionel's mother, and soon she is one of the most hated people in the area. She confines herself to her house until Jackson pays her a visit, and eventually turns her life around.

Jackson sets himself the difficult task of trying to get Mrs Joseph and Lisa to meet. At first they both dismiss the idea, calling him crazy, but after some time Jackson succeeds. After spending an evening together Mrs Joseph and Lisa realise they have much more in common than they thought.

Mrs Joseph and Lisa are asked to talk on a morning TV show and they hesitate before saying yes. Jackson is once again enraged, saying they are contributing to the media frenzy. Despite the TV presenter attempting to create hatred between them, it is clear to viewers their friendship is strong.

Meanwhile Jackson has still not uncovered the truth. A "crazy" woman is now claiming to be Ramzi's mother, and with bullies on his back, Jackson's investigation is getting harder. Will he ever find the motive for this senseless killing?

As the main event is at the beginning the rest of the book may seem a little unexciting but, as more is revealed about what the book is about it becomes more interesting, especially at the end when a twist is revealed.