Wednesday, October 19, 2022

The Quarry Girls by Jess Lourey

The Quarry Girls
by Jess Lourey
Expected publication: November 1st 2022 by Thomas & Mercer

Minnesota, 1977. For the teens of one close-knit community, summer means late-night swimming parties at the quarry, the county fair, and venturing into the tunnels beneath the city. But for two best friends, it’s not all fun and games.

Heather and Brenda have a secret. Something they saw in the dark. Something they can’t forget. They’ve decided to never tell a soul. But their vow is tested when their friend disappears—the second girl to vanish in a week. And yet the authorities are reluctant to investigate.

Heather is terrified that the missing girls are connected to what she and Brenda stumbled upon that night. Desperately searching for answers on her own, she learns that no one in her community is who they seem to be. Not the police, not the boys she met at the quarry, not even her parents. But she can’t stop digging because she knows those girls are in danger.

She also knows she’s next.

5 Stars

I stayed up for too late reading one night, unable to stop turning the pages as I sought out a "happy scene" to close the book at. It didn't happen, I read all night and dreamed of tunnels holding terrifying secrets well into the morning. The Quarry Girls isn’t a scary read per se, but it’s a thriller tinged with reality and the creepiness of it seeps into your bones in a different way than a fictional scare. Jess Lourey gives readers a glimpse into the town and the fears she and many others faced growing up. Corrupt police, serial killers on the loose, missing women, and young teens on the cusp of adulthood trying to do anything to seem older.

Elizabeth McCain, known as Beth to her friends, has gone missing from the local diner in St. Cloud Minnesota. Has she run away, has she gone missing, or has the serial killer they've tracked to town got her? With the cops keeping things quiet, Heather and her friends continue to live as normal, with her friends embracing the new, older man in town with his offers of fame and attention and the tunnels continued to be seen as a safe space to roam. One night though, things go awry and Heather and her friend Brenda see something they shouldn't have. Heather realizes her friends are growing up and the terrors that wait adult women are coming for all of them. The girls of Pantown should be afraid, but as Heather tries to investigate on her own she finds herself questioning if there is a single man she can even trust.

The girls of St. Cloud, Minnesota are being forced to grow up and the Pantown tunnels and quarries are being used by dark men to hide their truths. Heather is sweet resilience, her naivety believes in people, while Beth is hard resilience, forged in stone and desperation. The two perspectives are jarring to switch between, it gives you a sense of foreboding, that there’s just no way the town won’t do the same to Heather. Heather sees the writing on the wall, the what's to come, but she's doing all she can to keep herself, her friends, and her younger sister from becoming the girl who is next. She cannot escape the truth though, not as her mom and her best friend's mom begin to reveal the past that has shaped them into the pliable women they are today. The older men keep secrets, the younger men keep secrets, and the girls are left following string into the dark, wet quarries.

Atmospheric, terrifying, and so well written, The Quarry Girls is another stunning release from Jess Lourey.

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