Fatal Attraction by Jennie Spallone
My most recent mystery FATAL REACTION shines a light on my former career as a special education teacher and tutor of students with emotional and learning disabilities. Spoil Alert: No one I taught wound up killing their father! They might have hurt and maimed -- just kidding!
In this book, I examine how a catastrophic family event causes a nurtured child to morph into a school bully. Yes, I worked with school bullies in real life. Their trust in adults has been destroyed. Their hearts are crusted with despair. And so they lash out for attention. Whether positive or negative, attention reflects that they are "visible" in the eyes of others.
These kids "act out" because they lack a responsive, responsible adult to guide them through their daily lives. Responsive because we all need love and gentle direction to steer us down the path. Responsible because limits must be set to inform the child what behavior will be tolerated and what behavior is off-limits. As a teacher, I found it difficult to offer consistent consequences for negative behavior. Dealing with manipulative teenagers is exhausting, especially in a classroom setting! It didn't help that my own parents divorced when I was a young child, and I was raised without boundaries. Yet I knew I was loved and cherished, which kept me on the straight and narrow.
Maybe our task is to reach out to these kids as a weekly mentor through OMNI YOUTH SERVICES or other Big Brother, Big Sister Programs in our local area. Give them one-on-one attention, whether it be to take them out for lunch, shoot some hoops, watch their favorite sports team on television, or engage in an activity that peaks their interest. No, not drugs!
Lake Forest bank executive Joseph Barge is dead and everybody he’s tormented is celebrating, all except Ellie, his 13 year-old daughter. Left to the cold glare of her father who drowned his sorrows in rage and alcohol, Ellie resorted to bullying to get his attention. Years ago, she lost her mother. Now her father,too!
In shock at her father’s death, Ellie plunges into a deep depression, unable to communicate with the outside world. Distressed by her student’s suffering, special education teacher Mitzi Maven teams up with CPD Detective Maggie O’Connor and hottie North Shore Detective Eric Whelan to solve the case.
It doesn’t take long for Mitzy, a former investigative reporter for the Chicago Tribune, to discover a slew of suspects who wanted Barge gone. A disgruntled co-worker. The sexually-harassed nanny. The sister-in-law who fought for custody. Half the White Oaks Middle School teaching staff.
Suspense author Jennie Spallone wrote over one hundred profiles and feature stories for local and national publications, as well as the award-winning mystery novel Deadly Choices and Window of Guilt, before putting pen to Fatal Reaction.
Jennie, an active member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America, has spoken at local bookstores, schools, and libraries, in addition to Mystery Conferences throughout the country, including Scene of the Crime, Bouchercon, Printer’s Row, Sleuthfest, Malice Domestic, Magna Cum Murder, Midwest Literary Fest, Love is Murder, Public Safety Writers of America, Romantic Times Writers’ Conference, and the University of Wisconsin Writer’s Institute.
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