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They Never Learn


They Never Learn

Scarlett Clark, a Gorman University English professor, is good at everything she does. Brilliant, gorgeous and confident, she has a plan and relishes its execution, pun intended. Beginning in her own college days, she has regularly murdered men who she believes have abused women in some fashion. Shortly after the book opens, she starts planning her most audacious and personal kill, just as her school is looking into all the apparent suicides that have taken place over the last few years.

"This entertaining, funny and sexy thriller [has a] curiously moral message at its heart."

In case Scarlett’s motives for her vendetta aren’t clear, author Layne Fargo takes us back in time to see her earlier incarnation as a lonely misfit who played out her revenge fantasies in her writing. With a cowering mother and a towering father, her imagination had a lot to work with.

The cast of characters in THEY NEVER LEARN, including her multiple lovers, keeps the focus from being solely on Scarlett, though none piques readers' interest as much. Still, college life, with its petty feuds, jockeying for power and indiscrete relationships, offers a great backdrop --- and plotline --- for the story.

What makes this novel oddly compelling is that, despite Scarlett’s psychopathic tendencies, she is also a feminist vigilante, ridding the world of predatory men. And though readers know she’s a killer from the very start of the book, they don't have any idea if or how she will avoid capture until the very end --- by which time many may just be rooting for her.

This entertaining, funny and sexy thriller is too casual about its murders for readers to be shocked by the number of bodies that pile up. But that doesn’t take away from the curiously moral message at its heart.

Reviewed by Lorraine W. Shanley on November 6, 2020

They Never Learn
by Layne Fargo