Title: Internal Lockdown
Author: Ernie Quatrani
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Prodigy Gold Books
Publication date: 30th October 2018
My rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Over a morning, you can tend to your garden, paint a room, watch the morning news repeat its talking points. Over a morning, you can do the laundry or visit the doctor for a check-up; you can run errands…Over a morning, you can stop a school in its track, or lockdown an AP English class. Over a morning, you can get revenge.
Green Hill is a small, ordinary Pennsylvania town where nothing ever happens until the morning its normalcy is crushed by a shocking act of violence. One morning the school is interrupted by the frantic announcement calling for a lockdown. AP English teacher, Mike Zarlapski, swings into action, following the lockdown procedures. Although his students help pile as many desks in front of the classroom door as possible, their panic is not allayed as they communicate with what is now the outside world first-in responders, police entering the building, and the shooters who remain at large via cellphone.
Suspense and tragedy play a huge part of this book and I was very impressed with how the author developed both of these key themes to create an intriguing and thought-provoking story. We are immediately introduced to several key characters who would later endure a school shooting with many lives at stake. The plot delves right into action with a brief introduction of the main character, Mike Zarlapski, and sets the scene of what appears to be a normal morning at school. From here on, the action-filled plot unravels quickly as the characters are subject to the terrors of the shooting and law enforcement is called on the scene. I especially liked how the third person narrative was used as an asset to justify and analyse the decisions that each character took.
With reference to the characters, I must confess that I sometimes found it difficult to keep track of where each teacher and student was located in relation to the shooters and this could perhaps have been made easier with the use of an attached map of the school. I felt that there were too many characters which prevented the opportunity to fully connect with each one. However, I understand the author’s decision to proceed this way as situations like this always affect a wide range of the population and consequently this should be reflected in the story line.
Internal Lockdown is a difficult but compelling read and I encourage anyone interested in developing a better understanding of the implications and lives involved in school shootings to consider reading it. The final chapter, although bittersweet, offered the best possible conclusion to a series of tragic events affecting this community. I applaud the author for handling such a sensitive topic and hope to read more by him in the future.
Internal Lockdown is available to buy now!
Many thanks to Laura from Prodigy Gold Books for providing a free advanced reader’s copy in exchange for my honest review.