Killer Nashville Book of the Day

The Dead Student by John Katzenbach / Reviewed by G. Robert Frazier

The Dead Student

Purchase The Dead Student or read other reviews through Killer Nashville’s affiliate,*

John Katzenbach  Credit Nancy Doherty
John Katzenbach
Credit: Nancy Doherty

New York Times best-selling author John Katzenbach knows how to get into people’s heads, whether it’s in the psyche of his characters, or the minds of his readers. His newest novel, The Dead Student (The Mysterious Press, Oct. 6), is a perfect example.

Katzenbach wastes no time shaking things up for his protagonist, Timothy Warner. A PhD student better known by his nickname “Moth”, Timothy is a recovering alcoholic who battles the temptation to sink into the depths of drink and despair every day. Even with ninety-nine days of sobriety behind him, Moth knows he is one glass away from falling into a devastating abyss.

When his AA sponsor Uncle Ed is found dead, that yawning pit opens beneath Moth. It is only through a concerted effort, and the help of his AA group, Redeemer One, that he sobers up long enough to realize that his uncle would never kill himself. But gut feelings like his aren’t proof enough for police, who appear more than comfortable with their suicide theory.

Moth reaches into his own past, enlisting the help of former sweetheart Andrea Martine—better known as Andy Candy—in asking questions the police won’t. Along with the help of disgraced, drug-addicted prosecutor Susan Terry, they delve into Uncle Ed’s former life as a student of psychiatry to root out the skeleton in his closet and the reason for his death.

Each character struggles with his/her own inner limitations and flaws, adding a definitive level of emotional depth and complexity to their journey. As if that weren’t enough, Katzenbach expertly ramps up the tension by weaving in the twisted rationale of the real culprit.

The result is an intriguing tapestry of psychological cat-and-mouse that readers won’t be able to put down.

A former criminal court reporter for Miami Herald and Miami News, Katzenbach has written thirteen previous novels, including The Traveler, Day of Reckoning, and What Comes Next. His novel Red 1-2-3 is a finalist in Killer Nashville’s 2015 Silver Falchion Awards for Best Novel: Literary Suspense.

If you want to add your votes to the 2015 Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award, vote here!

G. Robert Frazier is a former journalist, reader for the Nashville Film Festival and Austin Film Festival’s annual screenwriting competitions, La Vergne Library Board member, and member of the Nashville Writers Meetup and Tennessee Screenwriters Association. He is currently working on a mystery/thriller novel and a screenplay. Follow him on Twitter at @grfrazier23 and visit his Adventures in Writing blog at

(If you have a book you would like featured, send an ARC for consideration. The Killer Nashville Book of the Day Reviews are coordinated by Clay Stafford with the assistance of Emily Eytchison and credited guest reviewers. For more writer resources, visit us at and

And be sure to check out our new book, Killer Nashville Noir: Cold-Blooded, an anthology of original short stories by New York Times bestselling authors and newbies alike.

“Murder, mayhem, and mystery! Every story in KILLER NASHVILLE: COLD-BLOODED is filled with suspense, sizzle and startling twists. I loved it!” – Lisa Jackson, New York Times Best-Selling author

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