Still reeling from having escaped a mass shooting on campus, English professor Nick Hoffman finds himself on the receiving end of confessions by one colleague after another. All of them have good reason to hate the new department chair, Dr. Napoleon Padovani, who throws his weight around capriciously and cruelly. Resentment mounts on campus with an inevitably fatal result. Chaos and confusion reign among the faculty, which then turns on its own. Can Nick and his spouse Stefan restore order and save the day? Raphael has described the university as "a unique combination of the vanity of professional sports, the hypocrisy of politics, the cruelty of big business, with a touch of organized crime thrown in."
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.75(d)|
About the Author
A prize-winning author of twenty-five books in many genres (academic satire, suspense, literary fiction, short story collections, self-help, biography and more). His books have been translated into over a dozen languages. Raphael was a longtime reviewer of crime fiction for the Detroit Free Press, a guest reviewer on Michigan Radio and other public radio shows, and hosted his own talk show where he interviewed authors like Salman Rushdie and Julian Barnes. He lives in Michigan with his longtime spouse and teaches creative writing at a state university campus.
Read an Excerpt
Universities hate scandal more than Dracula hated sunlight, so there were major changes at the State University of Michigan after a mass shooting that had targeted me and my partner Stefan.
Well, cosmetic changes, anyway, which were meant to seem major. That’s how university administrators respond to a crisis that can damage their “brand” when they haven’t been able to keep malfeasance from making headlines: with the appearance of action rather than the real thing. Committees are formed, mission statements are concocted, press releases are issued, and the public is promised dramatic results.
And so thanks to a crazed gunman, our university acquired what it proclaimed in a rah-rah press release was an inspiring and transformative new slogan: People Power!
Rumor had it on campus that despite approval by lickspittle deans and other administrators, various faculty members had complained to our tyrannical, image-obsessed President Boris Yubero that this catchphrase, developed by a hip, expensive New York PR firm, sounded suspiciously “radical.” Hadn’t it been used in the Philippines or somewhere else to overthrow a government?
The slogan irked Stefan, who was an introvert and not given to complaining. He was our department’s writer-in-residence though, and words mattered to him deeply. Stefan wasn’t one of those usage bullies who erupts when people split an infinitive, but he hated bureaucratic cant.
“What the hell does People Power mean on a college campus? Nobody has real power here except administrators.”
“Power,” I said, “and the best parking spots.”
President Yuberowho claimed descent from Spanish grandeeshad apparently swatted objections down in the spirit of Humpty Dumpty lecturing Alice: “It’s going to mean whatever the hell I want it to mean.” That attitude was typical. He was a millionaire hedge fund manager who had donated heavily to GOP campaigns locally and nationally, served as ambassador to Singapore under President George W. Bush, and had been anointed by the arrogant, secretive Board of Trustees in a closed-door session without any transparency at all. Faculty had complained that he had no connection to education whatsoever, but the board praised his “dedication to core American values.” If that sounded old-fashioned, it fit a man who was a dead ringer for obese and walrus-mustached President Taft.
When Stefan and I returned from our long summer trip to Europe after the end of May’s traumatic events, we also discovered that our department, which is where the shooting took place.