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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Quarry Girls

ISBN: 978-1542034296

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publication Date: 11/01/2022

Format: Other

My Rating: 4 Stars

Killers hiding in plain sight. Small-town secrets. A girl who knows too much. From the Amazon Charts bestselling author of Unspeakable Things and Bloodline comes a nerve-twisting novel inspired by a shocking true crime.

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.

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My Review

Jess Lourey's THE QUARRY GIRLS is based on true Minnesota crimes; we meet teenage girls Heather and Brenda, who are adventurous and discover something they shouldn't in the underground tunnels.

This gripping coming-of-age suspense thriller is full of small-town rural secrets and missing girls. But whom can they trust?

It’s the summer of 1977 in St Cloud, Minnesota. Girls do what most teens do when in a rural area, which is go swimming at the quarry, go to each other's homes, and hang out. Quarries can be creepy and dangerous, as well as the series of underground tunnels.

We learn more about the girls and their families with some strange family dynamics. Are the killers hiding in plain sight, and do they know them? Are they adults disguised as monsters?

The atmosphere of this book was creepy, menacing, and at times, claustrophobic. There is a lot of darkness here, from rape, murder, infidelity, kidnapping, and more—from sadness, grief, deception, betrayal, secrets, and lies.

Bullying, toxic relationships, emotional abuse, physical abuse, violence against children, violence against women, torture, and mental illness are some of the themes and topics.

Unsettlingly and twisty, fans of coming-of-age and dark small-town rural true-crime suspense will enjoy.

THE QUARRY GIRLS should be marketed as more of a YA book versus an adult. This novel was one of two Amazon First Read picks. My first book by the author, and I look forward to reading more.

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

My Rating: 4 Stars

Pub Date: Nov 1, 2022


“Few authors can blend the genuine fear generated by a sordid tale of true crime with evocative, three-dimensional characters and mesmerizing prose like Jess Lourey. Her fictional stories feel rooted in a world we all know but also fear. The Quarry Girls is a story of secrets gone to seed, and Lourey gives readers her best novel yet―which is quite the accomplishment. Calling it: The Quarry Girls will be one of the best books of the year.”

―Alex Segura, acclaimed author of Secret Identity, Star Wars Poe Dameron: Free Fall, and Miami Midnight

“Jess Lourey once more taps deep into her Midwest roots and childhood fears with The Quarry Girls, an absorbing, true crime–informed thriller narrated in the compelling voice of young drummer Heather Cash as she and her bandmates navigate the treacherous and confusing ground between girlhood and womanhood one simmering and deadly summer. Lourey conveys the edgy, hungry restlessness of teen girls with a touch of Megan Abbott, while steadily intensifying the claustrophobic atmosphere of a small 1977 Minnesota town where darkness snakes below the surface.”

―Loreth Anne White, Washington Post and Amazon Charts bestselling author of The Patient’s Secret

“Jess Lourey is a master of the coming-of-age thriller, and The Quarry Girls may be her best yet―as dark, twisty, and full of secrets as the tunnels that lurk beneath Pantown’s deceptively idyllic streets.”

―Chris Holm, Anthony Award–winning author of The Killing Kind

From the Publisher

When I was seventeen, two of my friends snuck out of a hotel room while we were on a school trip and met up with some college guys. I stayed behind, too afraid to break the rules, and—if I’m honest—even more afraid of boys. My friends came back, and no one thought anything of it.

But what if they hadn’t come back? Would I feel responsible? What secrets would you keep to protect your friends? To protect yourself?

In The Quarry Girls, Jess Lourey’s newest novel based on true Minnesota crimes, teenage Heather and her friend Brenda are like so many of us trying to act adult while still wishing for those simple games of childhood. They were playing an epic game in the town’s underground tunnels when they saw something they couldn’t explain.

It was right after that their best friend Maureen disappeared. And Maureen wasn’t the only teen to go missing.

Who do you tell when you think the people closest to you might be responsible for your friend’s disappearance? The Quarry Girls is a heartbreaking rumination on loss of innocence. But it’s also a fierce, nail-biting story of suspense that uncovers the dangers of secrecy…especially from those closest to you.

—Jessica Tribble Wells, Editor

About the Author

Photo Credit: CK Photography

She's the Amazon Charts bestselling Edgar, Agatha, and Lefty-nominated, ITW Thriller award and Anthony award-winning author of nonfiction, children's books, YA adventure, magical realism, and crime fiction. She's a retired professor of writing and sociology, a recipient of The Loft's Excellence in Teaching fellowship, a TEDx presenter (check out her TEDx Talk to discover the surprising inspiration behind MAY DAY, her first published novel), and a leader of writing retreats for women and online creative writing classes for all.

She lives in Minneapolis with a rotating batch of foster kittens (and occasional foster puppies, but man are those goobers a lot of work). Drop by to find out more.







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