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. . . .
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 and 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 bride’s daughter, Caroline, goes missing—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 school, walked into the woods with a mysterious man and was later found with her chest cavity ripped open and her heart missing. 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.
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ My Jackal Review:
A phenomenal debut novel from Erin E. Adams. Joining horror, mystery, and high-stakes thriller themes, Jackal is everything you could want in a novel as the days get shorter.
From the first moment Liz returns to town, there is a growing sense of uncomfortable “otherness” woven in every interaction. Liz’s avoidance of her hometown (and the passive-aggressive & often awful residents) has made her return a rough one – and that’s before her childhood best friend’s daughter disappears after her wedding. As Liz tries to uncover the truth behind Caroline’s disappearance, she digs deeper into the town’s past and uncovers a disturbing pattern of disappearances of young, Black girls.
This is a beautifully written and deeply unsettling novel that blends the horror of things that go bump in the night with the horrors that live next door. Perfect for those looking for a well-crafted story, exceptional prose, and a riveting thriller.
Thanks to NetGalley for the digital ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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Meet Author Erin Adams:
Erin E. Adams is a first-generation Haitian American writer and theatre artist. She received her BA with honors in literary arts from Brown University, her MFA in acting from The Old Globe and University of San Diego Shiley Graduate Theatre Program, and her MFA in dramatic writing from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. An award-winning playwright and actor, Adams has called New York City home for the last decade. Jackal is her first novel.