EIGHTEEN-YEAR-OLD ERIC HAS just been released from juvenile detention for murdering his mother and stepfather. Now he’s looking for some tenderness—tenderness he finds in caressing and killing beautiful girls. Fifteen-year-old Lori has run away from home again. Emotionally naive but sexually precocious, she is also looking for tenderness—tenderness she finds in Eric. Will Lori and Eric be each other’s salvation or destruction?
“Cormier is in top form in this chilling portrait of a serial murderer. . . . Gripping.”—School Library Journal, Starred
An ALA Top Ten Best Book for Young Adults
Rarely has Cormier's irony been darker than in this violent tale of obsession, which explores the psyches of a serial killer and the teenage runaway who cannot resist his charm. Lori Cranston hitchhikes to Massachusetts with the intention of trailing a rock star, but she is sidetracked in a diner when she sees the face of convicted murderer Eric Poole flash across the television screen, on the eve of his release from a juvenile facility. Remembering a chance encounter with Eric and how he treated her with "tenderness," Lori plans how they may reunite. Meanwhile Eric plots how to get away with murder No. 4. Readers will stay on the edge of their seats as the paths of the two youths converge and intertwine. The bond of trust built between the characters is overshadowed by an aura of inevitable doom; most will guess that Lori's days with Eric are numbered, but few will be prepared for the brutal paradoxes of their deadly parting. Disturbing evocations of sexual harassment, abuse and remorseless cruelty throughout the novel will have a more lasting, haunting effect than the author's somewhat watered-down message about the yearning to be loved. Ages 14-up. (Apr.)