Ballantine, July 2002, 25.95, 368 pp.
When Brandon Gardner scores poorly on his SAT exam, his parents get him a tutor through a reputable agency. Julian seems like a nice person and quickly establishes a rapport with Brandon and the youngster's sister Ruby. The adults are very impressed with Julian, and Brandon and Ruby like the idea that they can trust him with their inner most secrets.
Julian is creating the living epic novel and he is using the Brandons as inspirations for his material. He manipulates each one of them, using their individual weaknesses to maneuver them to perform the way he wants them to act. Some of his manipulations are mean spirited and some are criminal but all of them are targeted to destroy his host family.
Peter Abrahams is a master at creating the great gothic suspense novel. His characters, especially the victims are well drawn and act like one's next door neighbor. The protagonist is more a caricature then a true villain because his motivation doesn't make sense and his actions don't always ring true. THE TUTOR is a story that will appeal to readers who like something unique.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner