Eighteen-year-old Noah understands pain too well: He can see it as others cannot—as the Marr, an all-encompassing darkness that is kidnapping young women and slowly causing Evan, his best friend, to disappear in front of everyone.
The mysteries in this novel, set in early 1980s Portland, Oregon, roll in like a rising tide. The horrors of Noah’s past, filled with physical abuse and grisly trauma, are slowly revealed. Ziggy, an uber-confident David Bowie doppelgänger, suddenly appears in Noah’s life, but with his uncannily timed arrivals and departures, readers will question the nature of his existence. Evan’s physical health progressively deteriorates, but is it the Marr or something even more sinister attacking him? Ziggy encourages Noah to reunite his band, the Gallivanters. He must get them into the grand reopening gig at the PfefferBrau Haus, where the only vanished girl to have been found was discovered, dead and brewed into a vat of porter. Playing this show, all the Gallivanters together and Ziggy singing lead, is the key to vanquishing the Marr, saving the girls and rescuing Evan. Beaufrand’s masterful pace compels readers toward the satisfying though heartbreaking conclusion, prodding them to question throughout whether Noah’s story takes place in reality or in a dissociative hellscape.
A chilling yet poignant story about the suffering in front of us that we can’t bear to see. (Fiction. 14-17)