Gudenkauf's One Breath Away was an interesting story told in an interesting way. The action--a gunman who breaks into a school and holds teachers and students hostage--takes place in a small town in Iowa over the course of one day. The story is told from multiple points of view: a teacher; a police officer; Augie, a student who is trapped in the school with her little brother, P.J., and Augie and P.J.'s grandfather. Part of the novel deals with trying to identify the gunman and his agenda. The other part of the novel delves into the backstories of the teacher, police officer and Augie's family. Good read.
This book takes place in Broken Branch, Iowa--a small town with a small school. On the day before Spring Break, a gunman walks into the school, enters a classroom, and holds the teacher and students hostage.
The story is told from 6 (if I remember correctly) points of view--the mother of students at the school who is recovering from an accident in Arizona, her father, who is estranged from her, her oldest child, a police officer, a teacher, and a police officer at the school. Some of these characters are more interesting than others. I found myself more interested in the teacher's viewpoint and the child's. Through the telling, you learn about the complicated family dynamics that exist among the main family.
Being a schoolteacher myself who has experienced a lockdown (although nothing even remotely as scary as a gunman at my school--thank God!), I was more fascinated by the way that the community tried to cope with the children being held hostage, as well as the bravery the teacher displayed.
This is NOT a story about bullied teens or disaffected youth shooting up a school. It is more of a mystery about who the shooter is (he is not revealed until very late in the book). There are no Columbine style multiple shootings either.
I enjoyed this more than I liked Gudenkauf's last book and I was kept turning the pages to see who the shooter was. Enjoyable.