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The Lesson Plan by G. J. Prager

The Lesson Plan - G.J. Prager, G.J. Prager, G.J. Prager

Bob Klayman is a substitute high school teacher who wants a new gig, specifically, private investigation. Cal is doing his best to mentor the man. Bob will find himself caught up in more than just adultery in this Los Angeles murder mystery.

The story starts off with Bob tailing a nameless blonde who he finds bloody on a floor, right before someone knocks him unconscious. When he comes to, the body is gone and Bob stumbles back to his humdrum life feeling like a failure. Only his dog Homer gives him unconditional love in this book.

Bob soon meets Sheila, a substitute teacher herself, and the two end up horizontal together. She then offers to hire him to find her ex-husband and deliver a birthday package to her young son Joe. Bob and Homer take a trip out to Arizona where Bob bungles the job, and then bungles again later while drunk and chatting up a homeless man. Then he makes the decision to leave his car in AZ and he hires a taxi to drive him home to LA.

Once home, he manages to uncover a few clues and jumps to the wrong conclusion. He needs to recover his car. Bob and Homer plan for a road trip to nearby Arizona, taking along young Maria, a high school student, for company *cough, cough.. ahem*. Things don’t go as planned at all and Bob is probably in a heap of trouble.

So, yeah, Bob is one of those guys that bungles his way through life. Sometimes people let him off the hook because they feel sorry for him, and sometimes they help him out because he is at least partly right. He was an interesting faded hero for this tale. He has lots of ‘isms’, being a mild racist, a sexist, and even going on about the elderly at one point. So he wasn’t a particularly likable character. I never found myself rooting for him but I also wanted to see how he got out of this fix or that jam.

I find it hard to date this book. There are only a handful of references to cell phones and emails. Meanwhile the story uses 1940s dime novel phrases like dame, she’s quite the dish, gumshoe, etc. Half the time I felt like the author was going for a noir detective story, but then that gets broken up by references to early 2000s tech. So I was left feeling a little confused on that point and it never really worked for me.

My other criticism is concerning the ladies. Several of the minor female characters never get names, just curvy descriptors. Sheila and Maria are basically sex objects. There’s a few more named female characters, but again, our main character Bob describes their looks and bed-ability first and any other talents second. Obviously, I would have enjoyed this book more if the ladies had been more realistically portrayed.


I received this book free of charge from Word Slinger Publicity in exchange for an honest review.

The Narration: The author narrated his own book. He started off good with a nice pacing and distinct voices and accents. However, towards the end, it seemed that the narrator was ready pack it in and be done with the book. The character voices were no longer as distinct. The pacing was not as even. I liked his voice for Bob Klayman and his female voices were believable.