It’s the summer of 1971, and all ten-year-old Janina Starcevich wants to do is spend the seemingly endless warm days riding her bicycle, climbing trees, and catching frogs in the pond in her back yard.  But when a young drifter named Justin Lazarus walks into the hardware store owned by her next-door neighbor, Kathy Christian, a series of events are set in motion that will change them all forever.

Justin is a melding of opposites—charming but odd, friendly but frightening, seemingly ordinary but at the same time deeply strange.  Kathy compares him to an optical illusion before you’ve figured it out.  Something’s wrong, but it’s impossible to say exactly what.

The events of that sweltering summer turn the little village of Guildford, New York upside down.

So why, twenty-five years later, can Janina—now happily married, with three children of her own—barely remember what happened?

A chance mention at work starts her on an obsessive quest to reconstruct how the tragedy in 1971 unfolded, and to try to figure out what had been her role in it.  The more she uncovers, the more puzzling and disturbing it becomes—an enigma that has lain buried for two and a half decades, centering around one single question:

Who was Justin Lazarus?

Publisher: Motina Books
The Hand of the Hunter

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