Jackal : a novel

by Adams, Erin E.,

Format: Print Book 2022
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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, Vulture, PopSugar, Paste, Publishers Weekly

It's watching.

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.

It's taking.

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.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "A man and his shadow live in the trees. When they walk in time, both are pleased. If one calls your name, or the other tempts you off the path, you must ignore both, or face their wrath." The Black children of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, know this chant. For more than 30 years, Black girls in this primarily white town have gone missing on the first day of summer. A Black woman who has returned to her hometown for the wedding of her best friend, Liz Rocher glows incandescent with rage after her friend's biracial daughter goes missing and Liz's Haitian mother is threatened. Recognizing the pattern of disappearances that others have ignored, Liz sets out to battle both the town's entrenched racism and the jackal in the woods, whatever it might be. A jackal might take you in one mighty gulp, Liz understands, but racism will devour you a little at a time. This novel is an artfully crafted genre-blender, combining a formidable amount of suspense and horror with a true mystery at its core, and bearing a stinging social indictment. It is a mighty exploration of where the metaphorical meets the real, an important work from a new voice, a first-generation Haitian American. There is some unsettling graphic content, but it is never gratuitous; in fact, it is completely necessary to convey the urgency of Adams' powerful message."
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "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. (Oct.)"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Missing persons -- Fiction.
African American teenage girls -- Fiction.
Johnstown (Cambria County, Pa.) -- Fiction.
Detective and mystery fiction.
Publisher New York :Bantam Books,2022
Edition First edition.
Language English
Description 328 pages ; 25 cm
ISBN 9780593499306
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