Written By: Lois Duncan
About The Author
Killing Mr.Griffin is written by the master of suspense Lois Duncan who is the author of over 50 books from children's books to young adult suspense novels that her work has even received awards in 16 states and in 3 foreign countries.
Mr.Griffin is the strictest teacher at Del Norte High school with a penchant for endless projects and humiliating his students. Even straight-A student Susan can't believe how mean he is to her crush, Dave, and to the charismatic Mark Kinney. So when Dave asks Susan to help a group of students teach Mr.Griffin a lesson of their own, she goes along with them. After all it's a harmless prank, right?
The entirety of the novel takes place in California. There are scenes in the book which vary from the mountains, Del Norte High, each of the character's homes, the diner, etcetera. The novel also takes place right around the middle of spring in the late 90's or early 2000's.
Killing Mr.Griffin is told in 3rd person for as you progress throughout the story. Though you can only really see what happens to Dave and Susan away from the others for they are the most important characters as it seems.
Brian Griffin is an English teacher at Del Norte High who once was a professor at a university but saw that all his pupils were too spoiled to being able to get easy grades and slip easily. That's why he downgraded to being a high school teacher so that no more students could ever be that way. He just wants everyone to do their hardest until they break but succeed. This is the reason for Mr.Griffin being very strict but formal and organized as he has a history of heart problems which without his medication could be fatal.
Katherine Griffin is the wife of Mr.Griffin who not long ago got married. She is expecting her first born child which is a boy who is being planned to be named Brian Junior. When she senses that her husband does not return she heads for the cops making herself a plot twist in the story and trouble for the group. She finds out that he's dead when an officer named Detective Baca finds him buried underground in an isolated area that a couple on a picnic found. Eventually the child is born at the end but with great stress that her husband doesn't make it to see his son's birth.
Mark Kinney is a mentally unstable child who plans everything. He has symptoms of a psychopath. He doesn't feel guilt or remorse and he burned a live cat and his own father on fire. He is the best friend of Jeff Garrett.
Jeff Garrett is the basketball star of Del Norte High and is very obedient. He is supposedly Mark's best friend but Mark manipulates him easily. He works well with cars and is dating Betsy Cline who is also only just using him to get closer to Mark who which Mark shows no interest for.
Betsy Cline is the head cheerleader and the only child of the county commissioner. She is currently Jeff's girlfriend but is really in love with Mark though he is uninterested. She isn't just pretty but also has superficial charm and sweetness to manipulate people. She is actually just conniving and selfish.
Susan McConnell is the only daughter of her family who is plain looking, lacks self-esteem, confidence and has a big crush on Dave. Her twin brothers are the only ones that inherit her parent's good looks and they always tease her. Susan dreams of living in a cabin in an isolated paradise where she can always relax and read. This idea of hers changes through the end of the novel. She is a very bright mostly straight-A student.
David is the senior president at Del Norte High and works quite hard. He uses Susan's crush to put her in the kidnap plot for no one would suspect a straight-A innocent girl like her. Dave doesn't have it easy though. At home he has to take of her old grandmother from her father's side who stays inside all day not being able to do anything. Dave's mother works all day to support the family for Dave's father left when Dave was barely born. In the novel it looks like Mr.Griffin is his father but Lois Duncan denies it in an interview.
Throughout the novel there are many conflicts and plot twists that make you want to keep reading as you feel how the group is struggling and trying to come up with new plans so they won't be caught. Mostly Mark is the one who is in charge and instead of reporting Mr.Griffin's death he tells everyone not to snitch. Mr.Griffin received some bruises and had his legs and wrists tied up to the point where it almost cut off blood flow. Mark wanted revenge on Mr.Griffin for making him fail and even beg to stay in the class last year. Mark wanted Mr.Griffin to beg to him for mercy. The plan was to scare him not kill him. They hoped that they would scare him enough for him to move to another school. When they left him in the woods at night Dave and Susan came back at midnight worried, and found him dead.
At first it took me a while to get used to the 3rd person perspectives and for the plot to pick but at the end of the day I'm actually quite satisfied with reading this novel. To me there were some memorable scenes and plot twists like for example(SPOILER) when Mark kills Dave's grandmother and tries to burn Susan in her own home because she was on the point of telling while the others try to get rid of Mr.Griffin's Chevy. All of those twist and turns kept me motivated. Especially during the last few chapters. Sure Mark is a psycho but he's also brilliant. He helped when they created their alibis to meet at the Diner and order sodas. I am eventually glad I purchased this novel for my Book Talk.