"Dieu dans le machine" is probably poorly translated French for "God in the machine" which is English for "Deus ex machina" which is Greek for "bullshit ending."

Nutting weaves a magnificent tale of an ephebolhillic 8th grade teacher who is sociopathic and occasionally downright evil in her attempts to quench her thirst for 14 year old boys.

Celeste Price's marriage is a sham, and her cop husband knows it. She intentionally misleads everyone around her. She doesn't care for her students' education (she even talks about who would play the characters of To Kill A Mockingbird in a film remake rather than to get into anything of substance, fearing to inspire her young charge into doing anything 'moral'.)

Ah, her young charge. Jack Patrick, an impressionable boy. Shy, reserved, with absentee parents, Jack is initially more than willing to engage in all sorts of activities. However, one fateful night, Jack's father comes home early, and finds them, hastily reassembled. To appease Jack's father, she had sex with him, enraging Jack.

Jack's demeanor begins to change, no longer wide eyed and adventurous in his activities with Celeste, he becomes more agressive, as if to reclaim what was his. Complicating matters further, he insists on mapping out his future with Celeste and says "I love you" frequently.


Ultimately, things come to a head when Jack's father catches them in the act. No amount of sexual favors can save Celeste now. Fortunately, for her, Jack's father suffers a heart attack, and Celeste allows him to die in order to prevent her secret from getting out.

Things are now irreparably different between Jack and Celeste. Now that Jack is going to high school in a different city, living with his mother, Celeste begins to scope out other boys. She decides on Boyd, a "pervert" with a raging libido (who enjoys watching violent movies while having sex) and over-zealous religious parents. Celeste still meets with Jack regularly. Soon, however, Jack finds out about Boyd, and attacks him in the middle of sex with Celeste, nearly killing him, accusing Celeste of cheating on him. He runs away from her, and she takes off after him, naked, with Boyd's blood on her, holding a knife.

And that's where I stopped reading. I have 100 iBook pages left, but "Deus ex machina" immediately sprang to mind reading about Celeste running around suburban Tampa naked with a knife.


Tampa is not the Lolita of our time. Indeed, some of the symbolism is ham-handed at best, with too-obvious foreshadowing. That's not to say the book isn't well written (it makes you cheer for a lunatic child rapist, is laugh-out-loud funny in some parts and stomach-churning in others).

This is a short book, and the ending feels rushed and almost completely out of context.

This isn't to say that Tampa isn't a very good book, because it is. It's just not for everybody, and can get beyond silly at times, breaking the immersion.


I actually recommend this book. It's a good, quick read.