Thursday, June 16, 2016

Lois Duncan, R.I.P.

It was a year ago tomorrow that I reviewed Lois Duncan's book, One to the Wolves. She sent it to me, asking if I would read and review it. It was her follow-up to Who Killed My Daughter?, the first book she wrote about her search for answers to the tragic death of her daughter. Lois Duncan died yesterday, June 15th. I hope she finds peace, and answers.

Lois Duncan's most famous books for teens came out when I was finishing high school and in college: I Know What You Did Last Summer, Killing Mr. Griffin. By the time we were hosting the Lee County Reading Festival, her daughter, Kaitlyn Arquette, had been murdered. She attended the festival, and spoke to teens about the books they loved. But, she also spoke about her search for resolution.

I actually lost track of Lois Duncan and her writing after the festival, so I was surprised when her publicist reached out and asked if Duncan could send me a copy of her book. It was an honor and privilege to be asked to read a book by an author I admired for her teen books and for her strength in a tragic situation.

I can think of no other tribute than to reprint the review of One to the Wolves, since Lois Duncan wanted it read. She read the review, and even followed up with more information.

Now, I hope Lois Duncan can rest in piece.

One to the Wolves by Lois Duncan

Basketball coach Jim Valvano is known for saying, "Don't give up. Don't ever give up." That could be author Lois Duncan's motto. One to the Wolves is her second book to recount her ongoing,
heartbreaking story to uncover the truth about her daughter's murder. Duncan is best known for her suspense novels for young adults. But none of those books had the twists and turns of the true account of her search for answers and justice.

In July 1989, Duncan's eighteen-year-old youngest daughter, Kaitlyn Arquette was killed in a "drive by shooting" in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In her first book about that tragedy, Who Killed My Daughter?, Duncan discussed the search for answers. Duncan and her husband trusted the police department to find the killer, but when the case went unsolved, she and her husband turned to investigative psychics, informants, and anyone they could find to help. Now, in her latest book, she reports everything she and her husband have done while continuing to plea for help.

Author Ann Rule wrote the introduction, saying "Mothers seeking justice for their murdered children are not a rarity." In this case, though, Lois Duncan was a successful author who set aside her career to search for answers. As she gathered statements and articles, she began to see that her daughter was targeted. Her book is a powerful account of an investigation, still unfinished, that points to wrongdoing within the Albuquerque Police Department, not only with Kait's murder, but with the deaths of numerous other young people who accidentally fell in with the wrong people. And, Duncan points to lies, cover-ups, disappearing evidence, scare tactics, threats and scandals that reach into high places in New Mexico. She and her husband were forced to move from their home, their family was scattered, and Duncan herself suffered from a stroke and seizures as a result of the ongoing investigation.

One to the Wolves is a follow-up to Who Killed My Daughter?, but it stands alone. Duncan uses newspaper articles to re-introduce the story of Kaitlyn's killing, so the reader new to the story can easily understand the background. Twenty-six years after Kaitlyn Arquette died, Lois Duncan has found a network of survivors, but also continues to build a network of people who are searching for the truth. It's a heartbreaking, frightening account of broken trust, lies, cover-ups, and murder.

Followup - Lois Duncan left a comment that her daughter's case is being investigated by the Cold Case Investigative Research Institute. The following link takes you to an interview with the founder of that institute, an interview that mentions the Arquette investigation.

Lois Duncan's website is

One to the Wolves: A Desperate Mother on the Trail of a Killer by Lois Duncan. Planet Ann Rule. 2015. ISBN 9781940018515 (paperback), 212p.

FTC Full Disclosure - The author sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.


holdenj said...

Wow, I had no idea about her personal story. I read several of her young adult books.

Lesa said...

It is a true tragedy, Holdenj. And, they didn't receive a great deal of help in their search for the killers.