Saturday, November 11, 2023

The Professor

The Professor by Lauren Nossett
11/14/23; 336 pages
Flatiron Books
Marlitt Kaplan #2

The Professor by Lauren Nossett is a highly recommended mystery.

In Athens, Georgia, college student Ethan Haddock is found dead and the media begins to follow the incident. His professor, Dr. Verena Sobek, was taken in for questioning, after which she is suspended from teaching and a Title IX investigation is opened. Disgraced former detective Marlitt Kaplan is now working as a research assistant for her father, a professor. She misses police work and her former partner, but knows she can never return to the force. Her mother, who is also a professor at the university, is a colleague of Verena Sobek and asks for Marlitt's help in clearing Verena's name. Marlitt agrees, although questioning people when you have no authority or inside access to information is challenging.

Told through several different points-of-view, the very slow start made it difficult to engage with the narrative right from the start. It is not until later in the novel that the action picks up and the plot becomes more compelling. A critical incident in Marlitt's background is hinted at but I didn't realize The Professor was second in a series. The first novel, The Resemblance, is about the incident in Marlitt's life that preceded this novel and apparently provides some vital background information.

It is very well-written and once the action takes off, the novel improves. If you can power through the first part things get better, as in more compelling. Expect twists and surprises along with a good dose of criticism over academia's treatment of staff and students. Also expect a few incidents that require a good dose of suspension of disbelief as they strain credibility. 3.5 rounded up.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Flatiron Books via NetGalley.

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