The devil is alive and well and living in British Columbia.
In a remote section of western Canada, girls have started disappearing, and it’s unclear why or who’s responsible. Admittedly, there are some egregiously nasty types around, most notably the Nagle brothers, Markus and GF, who tool around in their orange Matador intimidating the local population. And intimidating they are—while they’re involved in unseemly activities, they mainly just like being badasses. As Uncle Jud tells it, “[e]verybody’s got a mean bone. Some have a full set.” Jud is uncle to Leo, one of the narrators of the novel, who likes to hang out with his friends Jackie, Bryan, Ursula (“Ursie”) and Tessa, but they’re all getting more and more disturbed by the way girls are vanishing near what has become known as the Highway of Tears. All of the friends are in late adolescence and trying to make sense of life in their remote logging town. And then a number of strangers appear, bringing mystery and allure to their lives: Kevin Seven does dazzling card tricks and starts to mentor Ursie, who’d never before even shuffled a deck, while fragile and self-possessed Hana Swann, with preternaturally white skin, calmly tries to convince Bryan of the rationality of getting revenge on Gerald Flacker, a local drug dealer seemingly in league with the devil.
Through a complex narrative structure, Harun manages to invest all of her action—slow as it sometimes is—with an aura of myth and folk legend that raises it above the lurid and sensational.