Lois Duncan, the author whose suspenseful young adult novels were a major force for the development of teen-centered thrillers, died in her Albuquerque, New Mexico home last night, June 15th. She was 82.
Duncan’s most well-known work is indisputably I Know What You Did Last Summer, the story of a teenager with a guilty-conscious that attempts escape a gruesome fate at the hands of an unknown slasher. The book, originally published in 1973, received a second life when it was adapted into a blockbuster movie in 1997 starring Jennifer Love Hewitt. Another, less-known YA book by Duncan, Hotel for Dogs was also adapted into a family film in 2009.
Many of her books were inspired by the cold cases and crime blotter she followed as a lifelong journalist, including the tragic murder of her own daughter. In 1989, Duncan’s 18-year-old daughter Kaitlyn was shot in what police said was a random drive-by shooting. Duncan did not accept this answer and took it upon herself to investigate the case, chronicling her attempts in the books Who Killed My Daughter? and One to the Wolves. Even at her death, she still considered the case unsolved.
Featured image courtesy of Stranger with My Face International Film Festival