cover image The Restless Dark

The Restless Dark

Erica Waters. HarperTeen, $18.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-0631-1590-3

After serial killer Joseph Kincaid plummeted into Georgia’s Cloudkiss Canyon while pursuing amateur environmental scientist Lucy Wilson, his body was never found. Two years later, popular true crime podcast Human Beasties hosts the Killer Quest, a weeklong hunt for Kincaid’s remains with a $20,000 reward. Lucy, now 17, secretly joins the contest, believing that the discovery will finally set her mind at ease (“I’m alive and Kincaid isn’t. And now I’m going to find his bones and prove it”). There she meets 18-year-old Carolina Cassels, whose ex-boyfriend’s mysterious death and father’s religious abuse causes her to believe there’s evil inside her; the two team up with charming, seemingly carefree college sophomore and psychology major Maggie Rey. As the girls, all white-cued, search for the bones, and Lucy and Maggie fall for each other, they must confront increasingly antagonistic contestants and their own fraught pasts. Switching between Lucy and Carolina’s perspectives, Waters (The River Has Teeth) attentively acknowledges the appeal of true crime while confronting the ways in which it can be exploitative. Employing a touch of the supernatural to create a consistently creepy environment, Waters crafts a smart and memorable thriller. Ages 13–up. Agent: Lauren Spieller, Triada US. (Oct.)