The Protégé

Jody Gehrman

Crooked Lane Press, 2023

Agent: Jill Marr

Dr. Hannah Bryers, anthropology professor and forensics expert at the prestigious Mad River University, takes pleasure in examining corpses, but small talk and living people fill her with dread. When she’s not teaching, she analyzes the decomposing flesh of murder victims around the globe.

Winter Jones is Hannah’s most promising graduate student. She’s smart, cunning, and dedicated, but she’s got her own agenda for coming to Mad River: to bring Hannah Bryers down. She’ll stop at nothing to make her life implode. In alternating narratives, Winter systematically robs Hannah of the things she values most: her reputation, her job, and—ultimately—her safety.

When dangerous mistakes are made in her lab, Hannah has no idea who would have it out for her and would be willing to risk students’ lives. As the incidents become deadly, many suspects come to light. Hannah won’t go down without a fight. She has to figure out who is sabotaging her career and killing people; her life depends on finding answers.


The Protegé, by Jody Gehrman, has everything: a brooding academic atmosphere, timely plot elements, and enigmatic characters, all within a well written tale. I highly recommend it!”
—Sylvie Perry, author of The Hawthorne School

“The sheltered enclave of academia becomes a nightmare for Dr. Hannah Bryers as her favorite graduate student, Winter Jones, plots to shatter her career and her life. The Protégé is a wicked ride through a twisty tunnel of revenge, betrayal, institutional politics, and deception. Jody Gehrman deftly manages her two equally compelling narrators. Hannah is socially awkward and fiercely intelligent; Winter is a master manipulator fighting to hold a deep-seated rage in check. Gerhman’s novel is not a whodunit but a whydunit—we turn the pages to learn why Winter wants to destroy Hannah and to see how, and if, Hannah can survive. The writing is crisp, the plot engaging, and the characters, even the secondary ones, are well-drawn. As the personal stakes for both Hannah and Winter increase, each is pushed to the edge in a taut thriller that is a hell of a lot of fun to read. That is Jody Gehrman’s biggest success, making a tale of one person’s calculated destruction of another human being both horrifying and wickedly entertaining.”
—Christopher Swann, award winning author of A Fire in the Night