On a school camping trip, fifth graders experiment with a dangerous new hallucinogen and die in a horrific accident, their deaths shattering the quiet town. Assistant Superintendent Ken Parks, hoping to redeem a fatal mistake from his past, grasps the opportunity to conduct the district investigation of how students are getting the drugs. Almost before he begins, the cops make a stunning arrest. But Parks battles on, convinced the real pusher is still out there, poisoning more kids until he receives an anonymous threat: if he continues, those close to him will pay. Is Parks willing to risk those he loves for a chance at redemption?
“Masterfully written…Each new revelation adds to the suspense and keeps the reader on edge, eagerly anticipating what further secrets the story holds…a gripping crime thriller and amateur sleuth mystery.”—Literary Titan
“A thrilling murder mystery…with an immersive plot, steady pace and stellar character development…one of the best mysteries of 2023.” ★★★★★—ReaderViews
“Brillapartiant from start to finish…Impressive storytelling left me with a racing heart and shivers. One of the best thrillers I’ve ever read.” ★★★★★+++—N.N. Light’s Bookheaven.
“You’ll be glued to the story as the author drops clues to solve the mystery but keeps you guessing until the end where all the twists unravel.”—Darlene Fredette, Still Moments Magazine
“A great slow-burn mystery….engaging with great plot twists. The characters are realistic and their stories are heartbreaking.” ★★★★★—Nana’s Reviews, Greece
"Mr. Overbeck writes very good mysteries and this one is no exception. He uses great imagery to put you right in the action. His characters are well developed and realistic."--Vicki Burkholder
"What sets Cruel Lessons apart is the author's ability to seamlessly weave a tale of crime and deceit, leaving readers on the edge of their seats."--★★★★★ Gina Rae Mitchell
“A mystery that had me scratching my head…many twists and turns, and I was a bit surprised when all was revealed. But even at that point, the twists don't stop.”--StoreyBookReviews
“Cruel Lessons is full of mystery and suspense that kept me hanging on page after page, racing to the end to see how it all would turn out. The more I read the more I wanted to read. I mean I couldn’t stop reading. Cruel Lessons is a sad story that had me in tears at times.” ★★★★★—The Avid Reader
“Cruel Lessons is a crime thriller that packs power and intrigue…Overbeck creates a story of intrigue and social inspection as he weaves a wide net of characters.”—D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
“Mr. Overbeck topped himself with this book. Well written with three dimensional characters you'll recognize. Cruel Lessons is intriguing and heartbreaking. It's a story taken straight from society today…I gave this one 5 cheers out of 5 because when Mr. Overbeck writes, it's as though he know intimate details of the reader’s life.” ★★★★★—Have You Heard Book Reviews
“Cruel Lessons will keep you guessing. When you think you figured it out, the author throws you a curveball. The uncertainty, the twists, kept me going back for more.”—Kam’s Place
“This was one I sure couldn’t put down…a really good story and a great read. Can’t recommend it enough.”—Our Town Book Reviews
"The plotting is tight, and the central mystery keeps readers engaged as it unfolds through a smoothly paced narrative. This page-turning puzzle will keep readers guessing until the very end.”—The Prairies Book Review