A girl struggles to uncover the identity of a kidnapper before her cousin’s time runs out.
Almost every June, three Tennessee boys disappear. They’re kept in an underground bunker for 13 months before being released; 12 have been taken so far. The mysterious kidnapper is known as the Gemini Thief: an adult of average height and weight dressed in a welding helmet and a black racing jumpsuit. Thea believes the Thief took her cousin, Aulus McClaghen, the year before and that he was not a runaway. When the body of a known Gemini Thief victim turns up with Aulus’ keychain, fear escalates—and her eccentric father immediately comes under scrutiny as the last person to see Aulus before his disappearance and the one who gave him the distinctive keychain. The two had been working on Thea’s father’s passion project, a castle he claimed God asked him to build. Despite the pain of evidence pointing toward her father’s guilt, she’ll stop at nothing to find Aulus. Two distinct narratives unfold through Thea’s first-person perspective and Aulus’ letters written within the bunker. Though the final reveal is surprising and chilling, both Thea’s and Aulus’ journeys feel meandering until they finally reach sudden crescendos. Each red herring is a bit too hammered in, and truly tense moments are few and far between. One of Thea’s friends is black while all other characters are white.
A slow-burn story that could do with more sparks. (Fiction. 14-18)