cover image Dead Eleven

Dead Eleven

Jimmy Juliano. Dutton, $27 (448p) ISBN 978-0-593-47192-0

The less readers know before diving into Juliano’s breathtaking debut thriller, the better. Journalist Harper Coates has come to Lake Michigan’s Clifford Island in search of his missing younger sister, Willow, whose life has been imploding since the accidental death of her young son 18 months earlier. Harper doesn’t know what drew Willow, a former high school English teacher in Illinois, to this peculiar place that actively discourages tourism, or why the insular locals seem obsessed with the year 1994 and insist on keeping their curtains closed at night. The terrifying reality of what the islanders are hiding—and hiding from—emerges through skillfully interwoven accounts from Harper, Willow, and Lily, a rebellious high school senior on the island whom Willow befriends before her disappearance. Juliano draws memorable characters and places them in an indelible setting, using artful prose and judicious dashes of dark humor to leave a major impression. It’s a scary-good debut. Agent: Liz Parker, Verve Talent & Literary. (June)