Three months ago, Grant Franklin Tavish V caused a fatal car accident and he has been "choking under the weight of it all" ever since. His senator father insists upon making the situation disappear, but Grant's guilt makes him want somehow to right his wrongs. The high school senior embarks on a solo cave excursion--it's a male tradition in his family, but he has no intention of returning. When a spontaneous collapse traps him and four other teens underground, though, he agrees to help them get out. But someone--or something--doesn't want the teens to survive the ordeal.
The Unfortunates by Kim Liggett (The Last Harvest) is a riveting psychological thriller that explores guilt as felt by an unreliable, paranoid narrator. Grant hears whispers, sees shadows and is convinced someone is following him, but he questions whether any of it is real: "something pushes me, or my knees give out." Grant sees threats that aren't there ("Maybe it's all in my head, or hypothermia setting in"), but then admits he could be experiencing what is called "the rapture," an extreme reaction to darkness that makes a person "see things... hear things." And his biggest tell: he can't remember what happened after he got out of the car the night of the accident. Grant's unpredictable thoughts and reactions to his perceived reality convince the reader not to trust anything he says, thinks or does, making the book an eerie, compulsive read.
This plot-twisting, adrenaline-boost of a novel will keep readers turning the pages until its astonishing reveal. --Lana Barnes, freelance reviewer and proofreader