Teaser is a fun, action-filled ride, particularly for fans of crime dramas.
In Teaser, Burt Weissbourd’s third novel and the sequel to Inside Passage, protagonist Corey Logan is immersed in two seemingly divergent worlds: a private school for privileged kids, and the streets filled with wayward runaways. She sees just how those two worlds surprisingly merge in this action-filled tale.
Corey’s teenage son Billy attends the private school, as do his friends Maisie and Aaron. The latter two, however, are crossing over into the tougher world when they get caught up with the streetwise Star. The slightly older, savvy former prostitute reels them in for various illicit adventures. But what is Star’s real motivation? An ever-watchful mom, Corey becomes suspicious right away. She is familiar with this world—she finds teen runaways by trade, and her husband and frequent work partner, therapist Abe Stein, sometimes counsels them. Maisie happens to be Abe’s client, and he’s worried that this young girl is sinking into a dangerous, drug-and-sex-filled world faster than he can help her.
Weissbourd adeptly moves the focus back and forth between Corey, Billy, and his friends and the villain Teaser, the real threat. Teaser has just gotten out of prison, and Weissbourd characterizes him as horrible, creepy, and rather mysterious. The author guides readers gently along Teaser’s path of destruction, peeling back layer after layer of his intents, and the trauma of his background. Far into the book, it’s clear just how psychotic he is, and it’s appropriately horrifying. First, though, the action speeds along to a frightening abduction that’s resolved partway through the tale, then slows just so slightly, then speeds again for the climax and payoff. It’s not a steady build like many mysteries of this ilk, but the pacing makes for an interesting read.
Weissbourd, a seasoned screenwriter and film producer, has the mechanics down pat. His style is easy, direct, descriptive enough, and his writing definitely evokes some on-screen images. Additionally, it’s no small feat to switch among the perspectives of a main character who is a caring and resourceful mom, an inquisitive teen boy trying hard to be wise in a challenging world, a psychopath bent on revenge and crafting a sometimes complicated plan to get there, and even the youngish nymph wrapped around his finger. Weissbourd handles it well, while also characterizing to a decent extent the voice of reason by Corey’s side, Abe, and the frantic and often quirky wealthy parents of Billy’s friends.
And those two merging worlds? Billy, most of all, makes the observation that things are not always what they seem. Maisie’s idealistic and oh-so-socially-conscious stepdad, for one, is trying hard to be properly inclusive of all people in society, while forgetting the ones who are right there in front of him. This character note is a nice touch and a major point of this tale, though not over-emphasized.
Teaser is not a whodunit to solve for hardcore mystery buffs, but it’s a fun, action-filled ride, particularly for fans of crime dramas.
Billie Rae Bates
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