Two weeks ago, a vague book plotline popped into my head. Ever since then, I’ve been trying to puzzle out what book it’s from. Unfortunately, the plotline in question is background to the book, taking place before the book began and only serving to affect the narrator’s psychology throughout the actual events of the novel. More unfortunately, I remember absolutely nothing about the main plot, except that it was a thriller or mystery of some kind. Honestly, I’m not even sure I read the entire book, or if I gave it up partway through, which would account for it not being including among my blog posts and GoodReads lists.
It’s really bugging me, though, so I thought I’d send a little plea of help out to the book world just in case any of you know what book I’m talking about. Here’s what I know. None of this is spoiler as it happens before the book begins and is revealed very early on:
The narrator is a woman who at one point in her life was a teacher or in some way employed by a high school. Some time before the book began, someone broke into her home, and she shot and killed him. Though charges weren’t filed and no one considers her at fault, she feels extremely guilty for shooting the intruder, and much of her current psychology is affected by the trauma of that night.
That’s the non-spoilery bit. More about that night is slowly revealed, though again, I’m not sure how long the book takes to reveal it as I’m not sure how far into the book I read. For all I know, the rest of this may not be spoiler at all. However, just in case it is, I’m going to white out the next two paragraphs. This is the rest of what I remember:
[highlight to read] The intruder was a former student at the school where the narrator worked. He wasn’t a good student and it’s possible he dropped out at one point. The narrator continues to let him use the band room to practice music. The kid is in a band and always talks about making it big in the music world, but the narrator internally observes that he’s a terrible musician and not really improving despite practice. At one point, she comes to the school at catches him stealing instruments (a drum set, I think) for one of his band’s performances. She gets angry. He tells her he was planning to return the equipment after the show, but she tells him she’s already putting her career in jeopardy by letting him practice in the school after hours when he’s no longer a student. In her anger, she tells him to grow up, stop whining, that he’ll never be a real magician because he has no talent. He goes blank, stops pleading, and leaves.
Years later, it’s that kid who has broken into her house. I don’t believe she recognizes him at first, but it turns out he has become a criminal, regularly breaking into houses. He didn’t pick her house at random. He tells her that she took away his dream with her words, and now he wants to do the same, and is going to kill her. She shoots him in self-defense, but in a sense, he does destroy her dream as well, because she believes she made him into the monster he became. [End spoiler.]
I know there’s only the slimmest chance that one of my readers might have also read and recognize this book, but I thought I’d put the plea out there anyway. Help?