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Publisher's Summary

The Amazon Charts bestselling author of Unspeakable Things and Bloodline explores the darkness at the heart of the rural Midwest in a novel inspired by a chilling true crime.

In the summer of ’84, fourteen-year-old Frankie Jubilee is shuttled off to Litani, Minnesota, to live with her estranged mother, a county prosecutor she barely knows. From the start, Frankie senses something uneasy going on in the small town. The locals whisper about The Game, and her mother warns her to stay out of the woods and away from adults. 

When a bullying gang of girls invites Frankie to The Game, she accepts, determined to find out what’s really going on in Litani. She’s not the only one becoming paranoid. Hysteria burns through the community. Dark secrets emerge. And Frankie fears that, even in the bright light of day, she might be living among monsters.

©2021 by Jess Lourey. (P)2021 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

Critic Reviews

“Lourey serves up another terrifying reality-based thriller…a tale of horror, grit, and, ultimately, hope.”Kirkus Reviews

“Curious, perceptive Francesca, with her concern for others, makes an irresistible heroine. Psychological thriller fans will be satisfied.”Publishers Weekly 

Litani shows that the real terror is not ghosts, but human monsters.”St. Paul Pioneer Press 

What listeners say about Litani

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Disturbing amount of abuse

Apparently all her books are going to involve abuse with children. The publisher summary really should point it out. I don't go for all that trigger warning stuff, but this definitely should.

It's pretty much the only subject discussed the last half of the book. Also, as a lifelong Minnesotan this is nowhere near reality here.

That said I will not be getting anymore books from her. Don't want to put myself through more hours of disturbing levels of child abuse.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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I need the MN accent!

I can’t quite place the accent used by the narrator. Definitely more East Coast than MN. That is my only complaint.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Distracting Narrator

The poor choice of narrator was highly distracting from the story. She somehow managed to make the mother sound younger than the 14 yr old main character with a voice more akin to a cartoon mouse than a serious prosecutor. Unfortunate casting. Reading the book was preferable than enduring the Audible version.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Thought provoking premise.

The author presents the story from the first person point of view of a 14 year old girl. Frankie sounds much like a younger girl in her naivete, but shows more maturity as the plot progresses. The central theme is widespread sexual abuse of children and the community's cover-up. It also addresses the feelings if a child who lives with one of her parents for years and then is suddenly thrown into a very different family and social setting as a teen.

The book was fairly well written with only a few plot inconsistencies and improbable situations. The narrator did a good job of presenting 14 year old Frankie. As a 72 year old woman reading the book, in my opinion, this might we'll be appropriate for a young adult audience.

Overall I felt this was a high 3 star and I rounded up to 4 because of addressing the themes.

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decent story, slightly predictable

As a Minnesota native I enjoyed listening to the accent and the Minnesota landmarks and things of that nature. It's a great story, the narrator is good sounding very much like a teenage girl. troubling subject matter, couple of twists, ended well

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Slow and boring

Big build up to nothing. For YA readers, very slow and boring - immature, accents were funny

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Heartwarming

You know Things like this happen all over the world it would be wonderful if there would always be a brave young girl or boy that could come forward it's not their fault it's the fault of the rotten Al dult I enjoyed it very much

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This book

Was not good. I don’t understand all the rave reviews other than the fact that our country is obsessed with pedophilia. Also, the narrators breathing has sort of an annoying quiver. Don’t bother.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent. Creeped Me RIGHT Out.

I wish I could say that I've never been happier to not be in Lilydale, but the town of Litani, Minnesota isn't much better. It actually might be worse. (Context: the first two books I read by Lourey, Unspeakable Things and Bloodline took place in Lilydale, Minnesota. Thankfully, the same eeriness and unsettled feelings are here in full display - just as they were in the first two books.

In all three of the books that I've read by Lourey, I've had this feeling of being skeeved out - and I've had to call it out each time because there aren't a lot of books that give me this feeling. So much so that I had to look it up to make sure I was using it properly the first two times. Even if I'm not, I'm stuck with it now.

In Litani, kids are playing a "game". I was pretty sure I knew what that stood for early on and I was unhappily correct. That doesn't take away from the mystery and intrigue that this book has though. Quite the opposite, it ended up causing a sense of urgency. I wanted to know what was going on and even more - I needed to know who the heck was hurting these kids.

I think another thing that all three of the Lourey books I've read had going for them was the setting (rural Minnesota) along with the time (mid-80's). Lourey talks about it a little bit at the end of this book (if I remember correctly) - talking about the news playing lots of stories about missing kids and basically starting the whole Gabby Patito/podcast era of True Crime/unsolved crimes fad WAY before it became popular recently. The 80's setting ramps a lot of things up - including not being able to track people with cell phones. It also was an era where kids just went out to play (I know, I was one of them). It's that familiarity and the rural settings that take Lourey's books from being good to great. They all jump off of the page.

I thought that Cassandra Morris did a nice job narrating this one. The point of view was interesting, being from a young girl's POV. But I think that Morris did a great job becoming her without falling into the voice tropes that she could have. Her performance elevates an already great book.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Intense, intelligent and unusual thriller. Loved!

Genuinely creepy small town emotional riptide and great character development. The narration is terrific, and you'll receive a great bunch of very useful botanical information as well.