Length: 336 pages
Audiobook Length: 10 hours and 30 minutes
First Published: 2022
View in Goodreads
Buy on Amazon
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bantam Books. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Although she doesn’t have fond memories of growing up as one of the only Black girls, Liz Rocher returns to her Pennsylvania hometown for her best friend’s wedding. When the couple daughter’s disappears during the reception, Liz flashes back to another summer night. In high school, the only other black girl was found dead in the woods with her chest ripped open. Now Liz realizes there’s a pattern of black girls going missing and scrambles to find Caroline before the evil in the woods is finished with her.
Considering I don’t particularly like horror, I surprisingly liked Jackal. Adams’s atmospheric writing does an excellent job of drawing you into the mystery and filling you with a fear of the woods. Though the novel started strong, the second half was a bit out there, fully shifting into a horror scenario that didn’t really work for me.
Liz Rocher is coming home . . . reluctantly. As a Black woman, Liz doesn’t exactly have fond memories of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, a predominantly white town. But her best friend is getting married, so she braces herself for a weekend of awkward, passive-aggressive reunions. Liz has grown, though; she can handle whatever awaits her. But on the day of the wedding, somewhere between dancing and dessert, the couple’s daughter, Caroline, disappears—and the only thing left behind is a piece of white fabric covered in blood.
As a frantic search begins, with the police combing the trees for Caroline, Liz is the only one who notices a pattern: A summer night. A missing girl. A party in the woods. She’s seen this before. Keisha Woodson, the only other Black girl in Liz’s high school, walked into the woods with a mysterious man and was later found with her chest cavity ripped open and her heart removed. Liz shudders at the thought that it could have been her, and now, with Caroline missing, it can’t be a coincidence. As Liz starts to dig through the town’s history, she uncovers a horrifying secret about the place she once called home. Children have been going missing in these woods for years. All of them Black. All of them girls.
It’s your turn.
With the evil in the forest creeping closer, Liz knows what she must do: find Caroline, or be entirely consumed by the darkness.
Quotes from Jackal
Being a Black girl is inhabiting a cruel riddle: Your beauty is denied but replicated. Your sexuality is controlled but desired. You take up too much space, but if you are too small, you are ripped apart.
We are good Black people. Good Black folks who don’t bring up race. We don’t make a fuss; we don’t make things uncomfortable; we are calm and cool and collected at all times. Even in the face of death.
About Erin E. Adams
Erin E. Adams is a first-generation Haitian American writer and theatre artist. Jackal is her debut novel. Adams currently lives in New York City. Visit the author’s website →