In the 1999/2000 school year, I took a sabbatical and wrote a novel which I subsequently self-published. This is that effort which was written under my previous name: Rita Hogan.
Cheerleader, jocks, fast cars, homecoming, football: high school hasn't changed much in the last few decades. Or has it? 35-year-old Justine Herrera teaches English at Birnam High in Southern Oregon. She loves her job and the students. But things are about to change. When Marvin Holmes, beloved principal of Birnam High, is suddenly and inexplicably forced to retire, Justine feels certain Frank Sutter, charismatic Superintendent of the district, is responsible. Sutter replaces Holmes with Margaret Das, a woman with insatiable appetites. Sutter, whose sights are set on the state's Secretary of Education position, directs Das to implement several unproven pilot programs using the district's students as guinea pigs. Insisting on a united front for the media, he makes it clear to Das that any opposition to his programs will not be tolerated. When several teachers are dismissed, Justine's curiosity and sense of fairness compel her to investigate. Her suspicions are confirmed when she stumbles upon information that will bring down the whole leadership team. But district administrators, used to attending conferences at posh resorts and living in opulence, are not about to allow a teacher to change their lifestyles. Out one night on a bike ride, Justine is initially stalked and then struck by a car playing a dangerous game of "cat and mouse." Not to be dissuaded and with the aid of handsome detective, Geoffrey McDuff, Justine continues investigating the district. When her sleuthing uncovers corruption on a grand scale, the attacks escalate and lead to murder. Justine must find out who's behind it all before there are more victims. But the list of suspects is long and time is running out.