A young Black girl goes missing in the woods outside her white rust belt town. But she's not the first—and she may not be the last. . . .
“I read this thriller that is Get Out meets The Vanishing Half in one night.”—BuzzFeed
“Extraordinary . . . A terrifying tale of fears and hatreds generated by racism and class inequality.”—Associated Press
A PHENOMENAL BOOK CLUB PICK • ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: Esquire, Publishers Weekly
Liz Rocher is coming home . . . reluctantly. As a Black woman, Liz doesn’t exactly have fond memories of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, a predominantly white town. But her best friend is getting married, so she braces herself for a weekend of awkward, passive-aggressive reunions. Liz has grown, though; she can handle whatever awaits her. But on the day of the wedding, somewhere between dancing and dessert, the couple’s daughter, Caroline, disappears—and the only thing left behind is a piece of white fabric covered in blood.
As a frantic search begins, with the police combing the trees for Caroline, Liz is the only one who notices a pattern: A summer night. A missing girl. A party in the woods. She’s seen this before. Keisha Woodson, the only other Black girl in Liz’s high school, walked into the woods with a mysterious man and was later found with her chest cavity ripped open and her heart removed. Liz shudders at the thought that it could have been her, and now, with Caroline missing, it can’t be a coincidence. As Liz starts to dig through the town’s history, she uncovers a horrifying secret about the place she once called home. Children have been going missing in these woods for years. All of them Black. All of them girls.
It’s your turn.
With the evil in the forest creeping closer, Liz knows what she must do: find Caroline, or be entirely consumed by the darkness.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Erin E. Adams’ debut novel is part horror, part mystery, and part incisive commentary on society’s neglect of young Black lives. Growing up in a mostly white rural Pennsylvania town, Liz was scarred by the mysterious, gruesome death of a fellow Black classmate. When she returns to town years later for a wedding, she hears about yet another Black child disappearing—and discovers a deeply disturbing pattern behind these so-called accidents. With a writing style that’s visceral and immediate, Adams draws us into Liz’s growing unease, expertly ratcheting up our sense of menacing dread. Racism is the boogeyman in this truly frightening Rust Belt horror tale. We’re excited to see what Adams writes next.
Liz Rocher, the Black narrator of Adams's stellar debut, an unforgettable gut punch of a horror thriller, returns reluctantly home to Johnstown, Pa., a largely white rust belt town, for the wedding of her white best friend, Mel Parker. When Mel's mixed-race daughter, Caroline, disappears in the woods, Liz's attempts to find Caroline lead her to the discovery of years of police cover-ups of the deaths of Black girls in the woods, their hearts neatly removed, and the revival of her own memories of hiding in the woods the night a fellow Black teen was murdered. Adams's careful plotting impresses with the subtle organic feel of embedded clues primed to emerge as relevant much later. The girls' thoughts are included at various points, and the reader is thrown off balance when the narrative shift to the point of view of the supernatural killer at the moment of violence. At the same time, Adams skillfully presents changing theories about the possible humans involved as Liz struggles with who to trust and navigates dreamscapes that seem increasingly real. This novel is a masterful and emotionally wrenching gem of Black storytelling. Agent: Kerry D'agostino, Curtis Brown.
Enthralling & Provocative
This debut thriller was terrifying and well constructed… I didn’t have a conclusive answer to the mystery until the very end. “Jackal” made me cringe and made me angry. It is a timely ‘fairy tale’, told with all the style and gruesome imagery of the great Grimm brothers fashion.
Great Debut Novel!!
Has a debate novel, this was a very intriguing and interesting story to read. If you like suspense, mystery, and horror I think you would like this story. I can’t wait to see what Ms. Adams brings us in the future.
I received a complimentary copy of this book and am voluntarily leaving a review.