Top positive review
Filled with suspense, this is an astonishing thriller from an already established mystery writer.
Reviewed in the United States on December 1, 2019
I could NOT put this book down. I read the first 2/3 of it without looking up, even though I had only intended to read the first few pages. Lourey is clearly a master of suspense.
Her 12-year-old protagonist Cassie reminds me somewhat of grown up Mira from the Mystery of the Month series she's done: sassy, insecure, highly intelligent, fighting for truth and justice. No surprise, I love those books too. This one is more serious, though. Cassie is such a well-formed protagonist, and I so want to read more about her! She's clearly smart, but also very poor, and is therefore subjugated to lots of teasing at school. The underlying tragedy of boys being abducted only highlights the creep factor of girls who have always been assaulted as well.
But it's also a heartfelt, funny book at times. How could a book about a pre-teen in middle school not be? The spot-on references to teen culture in the early 80's--Lip Lickers, Trapper Keepers, band class--also anchor the book in a very specific time period.
The fact that this story is set in central Minnesota and based on real events that happened to young boys there in the 1980's and 90's hits close to home: that's where I grew up, and Jacob Wetterling's disappearance affected many students in my high school, and we all talked about it until and after his killer was finally found. This book gives a sense of closure, even though it's fiction, to that horrible time in what was seemingly a very safe place to grow up. We all need catharsis, and this is a good place to start.
It's hard to place this novel in just one literary genre, as there are elements of suspense, thriller, coming of age, and mystery. I guess that's why I think this book will appeal to so many kinds of people, not least of whom might serve on literary prize committees. Hello, literary prize committees! Check out this wonderful book that made me cry, laugh out loud, and shudder with fear.