When I was a little older than Maya is now, I discovered the semi-creepy world of Lois Duncan. She writes young adult fiction, and her books all seem to dwell on the darker side of life. You may recognize her name from one of my favorite of her books, I Know What You Did Last Summer, which was made into a slasher film starring the Gorton’s Fisherman as the arch villain, which I never bothered to see because heck, there was no Fisherman in the book, and it wasn’t a slasher book. That book is the story of the aftermath of a tragic evening, when four high school kids are involved in an accident, in which the car they are in strikes and kills a young boy, but they speed away, and never tell a soul what happened. Another of her books that I really enjoyed was The Gift of Magic, which tells the story of Nancy, a young girl who has been bequeathed the strange gift of telepathy, and perhaps more, by her grandmother. Her brother and sister inherit ‘gifts’ as well, but the book is mainly about Nancy. There were a few others that I really liked, dealing with kidnappings, terror, etc. Loved them. Some of my favorites were Summer of Fear, Daughters of Eve, They Never Came Home, and Ransom. She also wrote a different sort of book, the story of Benedict Arnold’s wife, Peggy.
Anyway, I went on a real Lois Duncan tear for awhile, getting all of her books out of the school library, and devouring them one by one. Then I moved on to some other author, and now I find out, I’ve missed quite a few! Just because I stopped reading her books, didn’t mean she stopped writing them. Last week, Maya came home with a Lois Duncan book I hadn’t seen before, Don’t Look Behind You. She was crazy for it. LOVED it. Was so wrapped up in it that she read the last few chapters while walking to school on Wednesday morning. Yes, I allowed my daughter to walk and read at the same time, I’m negligent. But I was with her, so I could make sure she didn’t walk in front of a car or anything. Besides, I’ve been known to walk and read many a time.
Since I had finished Rhett Butler’s People, and had just barely started Never Let Me Go, I decided to take a short break and read Don’t Look Behind You. I’m glad I did. Revisiting the world of Ms. Duncan was a pleasure, and I was hooked by the premise. This is the story of April Corrigan, whose father is called upon as a key witness to bring down a drug cartel in Virginia. They are forced into the witness protection program, and April must leave her high school, her boyfriend, her friends, and her spot on the tennis team, and move to Florida, where they attempt to start over. April doesn’t seem to believe that anything truly horrid could happen to their family, and carelessly leaves clues that the hit man who’s been hired to take out her father follows, leading up to a nail biting showdown at the end. Whew. I was worn out. Totally fun to get into a Young Adult novel again, and with Maya on the sofa next to me finishing up A Gift of Magic, it was a nice evening. I hope she comes home with more Lois Duncan books from the school library.
On a side note, it looks like they made a film version of Don’t Look Behind You, that may be as bad as I Know What You Did Last Summer. I don’t think I’ll bother to rent it.
Another side note, I was saddened to read that Lois Duncan’s 18 year old daughter was murdered in 1989, and the murderer has never been found. Since many of her books were written well before her daughter’s murder, I don’t think that that horrid experience has anything to do with her interest in the darker side of life.