Unspeakable Things

Thomas & Mercer: Amazon. Jan. 2020. 299p. ISBN 9781542008785. pap. $15.95. SUSPENSE
Cassie McDowell’s short life hasn’t been easy, but the year she turns 13 is the scariest yet. She and her older sister have always feared their father, an unemployed artist whose drunken rages cause Cassie to sleep under her bed or in the closet. Now there are worse things to fear in 1980s Lilydale, MN. There’s a Peeping Tom, a curfew for everyone under 18, and a man who abducts boys, and brings them back changed. Cassie fears anyone could be the kidnapper: her middle-school music teacher; a police officer; even her own father. When a boy she admires disappears and doesn’t return, Cassie begins searching, even in forbidden basements. From the beginning, readers see tragedy coming, as Cassie looks back on that fateful summer.
VERDICT The atmospheric suspense novel is haunting because it’s narrated from the point of view of a 13 year old, an age that should be more innocent but often isn’t. Even more chilling, it’s based on real-life incidents. Lourey may be known for comic capers (March of Crime), but this tense novel combines the best of a coming-of-age story with suspense, and an unforgettable young narrator.
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