By Dave Kalstein
First Published: 2006
Review © 2009 by Stephen Roof
Genre: Modern Fiction, Thriller, Mystery, Science Fiction
Prodigy by Dave Kalstein is a coming of age thriller set in the not too distant future of 2036. The setting is the world’s premier college prep boarding school, Stansbury School. Here, students are given the best education possible which includes the best intelligence enhancing drugs available. The school has been a tremendous success with graduates becoming CEOs and US Senators. Only one slight snag has come up; there’s been a series of murders with all the victims being alumni of Stansbury. The school decides to pursue the case by themselves, to avoid the bad press that could result. They enlist the school’s valedictorian to help solve the case and all evidence points towards the school rebel who claims he’s being framed. The best and worst students from the senior class end up forming an unlikely team and they must race against time and authority as they uncover a conspiracy beyond their worst fears.
This is the first novel by Kalstein and follows one of the first rules of writing, write about what you know best. Kalstein, himself, was kicked out of more than one prep school. Here, he comes out with a novel that skewers prep schools and the obsessions parents have with getting their children the best possible education. He includes typical coming of age issues such as insecurities and rebellion along with lots of humor. He also does a pretty good job of keeping the story moving along at a nice pace as further revelations are uncovered. Finally, the ending resolves the mysteries in a fully satisfying manner.
I highly recommend Prodigy for anyone who likes thrillers and mysteries. It’s especially recommended for parents and teens who are interested in education systems and prep schools.