The Lesson Plan
By G. J. Prager
Robert Klayman is a Los Angeles substitute teacher by day and a budding private investigator by…well, any day he’s not teaching. He wants so much to be a P.I. First up, tailing a woman. When that ends in near death, he turns back to teaching. Only to meet another sub, who offers him what seems to be a simple case: hand over some items to her son in Arizona. But the case is not so simple and Klayman is fleeing for his life and looking for answers.
So, we have a first-timer P.I. story. Well, every P.I. had to start somewhere. As for the plot, well, it was a little disjointed at times and connections were made that I didn’t catch.
Robert Klayman: Around 40, substitute teacher and amateur P.I., drives an ’83 Honda, owns a dog
Sheila Farelly: Around 40, dirty blonde, divorced with a son, owns a cat, drives a black Mercedes
Maria Castro: 17, attractive
No description of Robert. Robert’s relationship with Maria is downright creepy and a turnoff. Didn’t get too much description of some of the other players, Cal and Zeke.
Okay for voices. Maria’s came through. Some B-movie bad guy lines near the end.
This is where the problems lie. First off there was unnecessary profanity and several racial slurs. Second-and I became aware of this though about halfway through: Robert’s dog was spoken about a lot. Good buddy, I understand, but what breed of dog is Homer (the dog’s name? This was never mentioned. I gather he was large-ish, furry, and built for the Arctic. I thought, a-ha, Husky. But then he is mentioned as being colored orange. Golden Retriever? I don’t know but when I found myself thinking more about the dog than the actual plot, it became a problem.
Part of the reason for this is because the author spends too much time on the teaching part of Klayman’s life and not enough on the detective stuff. I realize that a lot of the crime involves the teaching side, but about 1/3 of the book goes by before he’s given the major case. Yes, he has a case at the beginning (that connects up in time), but the next one doesn’t come along till much later. Then nearly half the book goes by before there’s any real action, meaning danger. Again, there was some at the beginning, but it was done and gone pretty quick.
Again, I must reiterate the relationship between Robert and Maria. A sub-teacher should know better and because of this I found Robert not likeable, especially since he wants so much to be a good detective.
Sheila’s last name is spelled differently in two chapters.
Not believable parts:
– Maria allowed in a Vegas casino and allowed to gamble.
– when Robert meets Sheila, she hands him a business card. In a later meeting, he asks her name. Wouldn’t her card have her name?
– I cannot believe that after Robert flees Arizona, leaving his car, that the police didn’t find the car and discover its owner before Robert retrieves it. I can maybe believe the police didn’t find a weapon he tossed, but the car should have been found, especially since there was a BOLO on him and his car.
– during a scene where Robert is robbed, his dog has been growling low before, but when the action starts, the dog does nothing?
– the last chapter was completely not believable. The cops show up to arrest Robert for attempted murder. They’re not going to wait outside while Robert puts on his pants. They are also not going to act and talk like they did. This is a serious crime and they’re joking around.
Again, I missed the connections Robert apparently caught to put the case together. Maybe it was my thinking about the dog too much or catching some of the mistakes. Whatever the reason, the weakness of the writing brought this, at first down to camo, but after the last chapter went over the line, I had to drop the rank to: