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The Taken Ones

A Reed and Steinbeck Thriller

Two girls vanished. A woman buried alive. Between two crimes lie decades of secrets yet to be unearthed in a pulse-pounding novel by the Edgar Award–nominated author of Unspeakable Things.

Summer 1980: Despite the local superstition that the Bendy Man haunts the woods, three girls go into a Minnesota forest. Only one comes out, dead silent, her memory gone. The mystery of the Taken Ones captures the nation.

Summer 2022: Cold case detective Van Reed and forensic scientist Harry Steinbeck are assigned a disturbing homicide—a woman buried alive, clutching a heart charm necklace belonging to one of the vanished girls. Van follows her gut. Harry trusts in facts. They’re both desperate to catch a killer before he kills again. They have something else in common: each has ties to the original case in ways they’re reluctant to share.

As Van and Harry connect the crimes of the past and the present, Van struggles with memories of her own nightmarish childhood—and the fear that uncovering the truth of the Taken Ones will lead her down a path from which she, too, may never return.

“A master of building tension while maintaining a riveting pace, Lourey is a hell of a writer on all fronts, but her greatest talent may be her characters. Agent Evangeline Reed, an agent with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, is a woman with a devastating past and the haunting ability to know the darkest crimes happening around her. She is also exactly the kind of character I would happily follow through a dozen books. This is a 2023 must read.” —Danielle Girard, USA Today & Amazon #1 Bestselling author of Up Close