Wednesday, January 18, 2023

The Quarry Girls by Jess Lourey


All of Jess Lourey's books are basically variations on the same premise: facets gleaming on the dark crystal of girlhood and what it means to come of age in a time and place that doesn't value women. Some people criticize authors for turning to the same theme again and again but honestly? If it works, it works. Lourey has developed a solid formula and each of her books keeps getting better. She could write an endless amount of fucked-up coming of age stories set in Minnesota and I guarantee you, I would come back for more, again and again. When I found out about this book last year, I slammed it on my to-read list IMMEDIATELY. And when I finally slated some time to read it, I was hyped. Even better, I got to buddy-read this with one of my favorite people to read mysteries with, Heather. Make sure you check out her review, too.

QUARRY GIRLS is the latest iteration and it is so good. The heroine, Heather, is sixteen years old and in a girl band with her two best friends, Maureen and Brenda. It's 1977 and everyone knows everyone in their tiny community. They live in a housing complex connected by tunnels, which they use in the harsh winters to visit basement to basement. The kids play tag down there. It seems folksy and cute. Until a local waitress goes missing. And Heather and her friends discover firsthand how some predators wear the skins of men.

I don't want to say more but the atmosphere and creepiness in this book was so good. I loved all of the small details Lourey wove in to make this book really feel like it was set in the '70s. The pop-culture references and even the stores-- like Zayre-- where so well done. My anxiety definitely spiked from 1 to 100 towards the end, and stayed in the red until the very end of the book. And the ending? *chef's kiss* Reading this book made me realize that some of Lourey's other books' endings weren't quite as satisfying as this one. I got full closure, and a little gleam of hope in the darkness.

My one qualm is that Jess Lourey ALWAYS puts these spoilerific introductions in the beginnings of her books that will SPOIL the story for you because they tell you about the true crime story(s) that inspired her to write her latest mystery. I value that info, but it should really go in the BACK of the book because what if some unwitting reader wants to go in cold and ends up having the small town mystery totally explained for them? Heather saved me from this fate in LITANI (where the introduction removes all doubt about what's really going on) and I returned the favor in THE QUARRY GIRLS, because even though I skipped the introduction, I was tricked by a follow-up section called Killer #2, which was actually more introduction under a sneaky new name! How DARE you, Ms. Lourey. Rude.

Spoilers aside, I highly recommend Ms. Lourey's work and THE QUARRY GIRLS especially is everything I love in an atmospheric coming-of-age thriller. Just, you know, do yourself a favor and skip the intro.

4 to 4.5 out of 5 stars

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.