"Thrilling ... an exhilarating and emotionally astute mystery." - Kirkus Reviews
Bob Fiske — the 74-year-old dinosaur who’s taught Honors English and coached varsity football for five decades — is missing.
To his Winners, class favorites Fiske designated over the years for their potential to “Live Big,” it’s heartbreaking. Fiske did more than inspire with soaring oratory; he supported their ambitions into adulthood. Four of his brightest former stars reunite to find him, putting high-octane careers on hold, slipping police barricades, racing into the wilds of Northern Michigan for clues about the fate of their legendary mentor.
Others don’t see a legend. They see an elitist whose time has passed.
When a current student — female — disappears just hours into the Winners’ search amid rumors of inappropriate meetings, the Great Man’s reputation is a shambles.
Feints, betrayal, explosive secrets from their own pasts: as facts emerge, each Winner must decide how far they’ll go for Fiske. Can the truth redeem him? Or has this cult of hyper-achievement spawned a thing so vile none of their lives will survive intact?
More from Kirkus Reviews: "Bond collapses two distinct literary genres into one seamless novelistic whole: a mystery and an emotional drama ... Fiske is deliciously enigmatic ... Bond is so ingeniously inventive--he consistently moves the story in wholly unpredictable directions ... The novel's central mystery is thrilling, but the true spine of the tale is the fragile connections between the past Winners, who must not only investigate Fiske's disappearance, but also the authenticity of their lives and friendships."
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Winner Maker by Jeff Bond will keep you on the edge of your seat, long after you've finished reading. The author expertly builds the tension until you are mired in the mystery of who to trust and the thrill of trying to piece everything together. What really happened 10 years ago at Prom? While most people maintain a tenuous thread to their high school social events, the characters here are chained to that one fateful night. A night that refuses to let them go and turns all their lives upside down years later. In The Winner Maker, nobody apparently knows the truth about anyone. Everyone is innocent, until they're not; until they betray you. Until you find out who they really are. The action doesn't stop for a second, and the story line tumbles deeper into confusion with each page. But don't despair, the writing style maintains a clear forward momentum and keeps total confusion at bay. What is left is a story that requires your full attention but is still entertaining and an absolute blast as each chapter reveals questions and answers and then even more questions. What a fabulous ride! The characterization is spot on. The main characters and supporting characters are crafted with perfection, but I have to say that Eric is a favorite. He might not be the main protagonist, but he is dynamic in a techno-geek way that makes him both believable and endearing. As Steph and Eric fight for their innocence and their lives, the truth painstakingly trickles out about what really went down 10 years ago and about the recent strange disappearance of the winner maker, Dr. Fiske, apparently with a teenage girl in tow. The things Steph and Eric endure as they unravel the tangled truth will leave you horrified and maybe even chuckling a little bit, but you will definitely remain riveted until the very end. One last thought. We are all winners, until we're not. Being chosen as a winner by the illustrious Dr. Fiske does not necessarily mean you are, indeed, a winner. You may just be a selfish loser who doesn't think twice about resorting to betrayal, lies, and murder to maintain your dirty little secret. Read The Winner Maker to find out which one of those lucky "winners" that is. But remember, everyone is innocent, until they're not.
The Winner Maker is a wonderful mystery. This novel was thrilling to read, as it contains murder and mystery, and it is a complex story with an interesting plot and very believable and likable characters. I was hooked on it from the very beginning. It is about movers and shakers at this high school that are all part of a clique called "The Winners." The Winners are chosen, coached and groomed to be successful by teacher, Mr Fiske. Mr. Fiske and a young student are missing and the race to find them is underway. A great read. I will recommend this book to my friends. I will be looking for more from this author.