Retro Reads: Lois Duncan

Posted November 13, 2017 by Brin in 80s & 90s Young Adult Rewind, Retro Reads / 2 Comments

Lois Duncan: Teen Thriller Writer Extraordinaire

Lois Duncan was the writer of over a dozen teen thrillers that I adored reading when I was growing up. A writer whose life was marred by tragedy when, in a strange parallel to her own writing, her daughter Kaitlyn was murdered under mysterious circumstances.

After this heart-breaking turn of events, Duncan turned away from writing fiction. She instead put her focus on finding her daughter’s killer. This was after local law enforcement seemed to lose interest in the case.

lois duncan teen thriller writer books

It came as a shock to me when I found out Lois Duncan had died (in June of last year). It’s especially sad that she never found the answers she sought to put to rest the spectre of her youngest daughter. I’ve been meaning to check out the non-fiction books written about the minefield that was her daughter’s brutal slaying and all the bizarre and coincidental events that were discovered in its aftermath.

However, that is (likely) going to be a discussion for another day. Today, I am focusing on her teen novels. I always very much enjoyed her writing and think fondly on the books that I read countless times in my early teens.

The Books: Teen Thrillers

Lois Duncan wrote over 50 (whoa!) novels most of these aimed at the teen / young adult market. I read pretty much all of her teen-focused thrillers during my not-so-misspent youth.

The first book by Lois Duncan I can remember reading is Stranger With My Face. I’m not going to go too in-depth here since I plan on reviewing the book soon, but it was the one that started my journey.

stranger with my face lois duncan teen thriller writer books

I soon devoured every one of her books I could get my hands on. My local library had all the books so I had plenty to keep me going. I enjoyed her thrillers but I especially liked the ones with a supernatural slant like the aforementioned Stranger With My Face and Summer of Fear.

Some were hits and some were misses. I wasn’t quite as keen on her perhaps most famous book I Know What You Did Last Summer. Yes, this one had a film made about it (although vastly different in execution and story).

i know what you did last summer teen thriller lois duncan gif

I found Don’t look Behind You to be the scariest one of all. Probably because the story had an all-too-realistic antagonist. Incidentally, the main character April was loosely based on the daughter that would later be murdered. A coincidence which is just downright eerie.

Duncan’s books are almost like a snapshot into my younger years. I voraciously read and re-read them but it was only for a relatively short period of time. I soon moved on to more adult writers but I never truly forgot Lois Duncan.

Where Do We Go From Here

This is one of the reasons why I have decided to do a mass re-read of her books. It seems like it’s time and past time. 😉

I’ve had a post looking at some of her book covers (and plan more of these) but it’s about time that this here blog reviewed some of her best (and worst!) books. Nostalgia for the win!!


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2 responses to “Retro Reads: Lois Duncan

  1. I didn’t know she had passed away! 🙁 She has some great books and that is horrible that she never learned the real truth about what happened to her daughter before she died. 🙁 🙁

    Have fun with your re-read!

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