Seventeen-year-old Matt Poe moves to a small Iowa town, where his mother just got a job teaching at the high school. He makes friends with Grace, "the girl-next door", and Rusty. But the person who most gets his attention is one of his teachers, Linda Hayden. She says she wants to help him adjust to his new life--and tutor him to keep up his grades, but her interest in sexual. And so begins a secret affair in which she gets more demanding and weirder as the book progresses. You see, she's done this before under numerous stolen identities, and Matt is simply another notch on her list of conquests. Matt tries to get out of seeing Linda and develops feelings for his friend Grace--which doesn't set well with the insane teacher. This is one of those books where the situation gets worse and worse for the main character, which of course propels the story.
The only problem I had with the book is that the author often refers to Matt as "the kid" a bit too much, which comes off as somewhat dismissive--and this is the character you're supposed to relate to. I was also surprised that some of the killings happened so quickly and with sparse gore detail. Jack Ketchum "OFF SEASON" description would not have hurt.
Don't Stand So Close is a creepy thriller that reminds me of an S.E. Hinton novel meets FATAL ATTRACTION. The book would make a harrowing movie franchise along the lines of The Stepfather movies. Recommended.