Dead Eleven

Books on Tape. Jun. 2023. 13:13 hrs. ISBN 9780593742679. $95. HORROR
On an island off the Wisconsin peninsula of Door County, every day is June 17, 1994. The community wears outdated clothes, avoids modern technology, and rewatches the O.J. Simpson car chase. Each day is the same. When Willow Stone finds mysterious notes hinting that her missing son may be on the island, she sets off to investigate and promptly disappears. High school basketball player Lily Becker has lived her entire life on the island, enmeshed in its rules but not entirely believing its mythology. As Lily works to disprove the island’s beliefs, Willow’s brother Harper searches for her and becomes convinced that the island is more sinister than anyone can imagine. Juliano’s debut novel is a perfectly paced, creeping horror about what happens when grief overtakes a community. A phenomenal full cast (Lee Osorio as Harper, Tanis Parenteau as Willow, and Annie Q. as Lily, joined by Shawn K. Jain, Cindy Piller, and Tim Lounibos) enhances the unsettling atmosphere. Especially noteworthy are unnervingly realistic recordings of interviews.
VERDICT Juliano’s tense debut offers grown-up vibes for fans of Margaret Peterson Haddix’s Running Out of Time, like a more sinister take on M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village. An outstanding pick for fans of classic horror and creepy cults.
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