cover image Litani


Jess Lourey. Thomas & Mercer, $15.95 trade paper (316p) ISBN 978-1-5420-2701-4

Set in 1984, this harrowing tale from Edgar finalist Lourey (Bloodline) takes 14-year-old Francesca Vera Jubilee from Pasadena, Calif., where she lived with her botanist father until he died of a heart attack, to Litani, Minn., the home of her mother, Carver County prosecutor Linda Jubilee, whom she hasn’t seen since her parents divorced seven years earlier. Cold and unaffectionate Linda warns Francesca to stay out of the woods and not to talk to adults she doesn’t know. Meanwhile, Francesca keeps hearing about something the local children call “The Game,” which they always allude to in a mysterious, frightened manner. Ignoring the warnings, Francesca accepts an invitation from some girls to learn about the Game, which leads her to a satanic cult involved in serious crimes, which Linda is investigating. (Readers who want to be surprised about the nature of those crimes are advised to save the author’s opening note for the end.) Curious, perceptive Francesca, with her concern for others, makes an irresistible heroine. Psychological thriller fans will be satisfied. Agent: Jill Marsal, Marsal Lyon Literary. (Oct.)